There was a cheerful backdrop to proceedings inside Ballymahon’s Dean Egan Library last Thursday night as the south Longford town played host to a special twinning celebration.
The evening marked the town’s near decade and a half long association with its French counterpart, Landevant.
It also formed part of a week long exchange which saw 20 overseas visitors stay with a number of host families.
Chairperson Breege Murray said the event illustrated the ever strengthening ties that now exist between the two locations.
“It was a very successful event,” she said, pointing out this year marked the 14th anniversary of the Ballymahon-Landevant twinning agreement.
Local politicians were there too headed by Longford County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr Mark Casey.
The occasion though, in truth, formed one of many events and social gatherings over the past seven days.
They included trips to St Mel’s Cathedral and the Aran Islands, expeditions Ms Murray said underlined the deepening cultural links that now prevails between both communities.
“We had 20 from Landevant that stayed with us this time around,” said a clearly upbeat Ms Murray.
“It was led by their Deputy Mayor, Evelyn Rano who has been on every trip except one over the years.”
She also described her French counterparts as being “practical”, having departed Irish shores by ferry just as as they had arrived.
“We went to see St Mel’s Cathedral, we did some bowling, went to Church, that kind of thing,” she said.
“There was the socialising side to things too and we had a barbeque. There was lots going on.
Asked as to what was the secret behind the near 15 year long association with Landevant, Ms Murray replied simply: “Hard work.”
She said much planning had gone into the week long exchange, something she hopes will continue for many years to come.
“We have 18 on our committee and I have to say, it is a very good and active one at that.
“We are self financing and it is very much open to everybody.”