This Easter weekend the friendly town of Ballinamore celebrates 15 years twinned with the coastal town of Plouézec in Brittany, France.
To celebrate this landmark, the town will welcome the Mayor of Plouézec Jacques Mangold and 21 other delgates and residents to Ballinamore. The French delegation will stay with members of the Ballinamore Town Twinning committee and will unify the strong links that already remian between the two towns.
The French visitors will be treated to a meal in the town before they savour the delights of the Canal town. On Easter Monday they will hold a ceremony in St Felim’s Square, the same location where they planted a tree to mark the 10th anniversary of the association.
The Ballinamore Town Twinning Committee told the Leitrim Observer that both towns have been exchanging visits for years, some are offical and others are private. She said they still boast “strong connections.” She said many students learning French have taken up the opportunity to visit Plouézec and likewise English students in the north western French town have enjoyed practisting their language skills in Ballinamore during the Summers.
Plouézec has 13 km of rugged coastline that makes it a popular tourist destination all year round, with high quality beaches such as Bréhec and Pors Pin. Its beautiful countryside and coast makes it an ideal place for countryside walks and bike-rides.
Plouézec’s twinning committee hosts a famous Fest Noz festival every August around the Moulin de Craca which regularly draws thousands of visitors. There is traditional Irish and Breton music, as well as food and drink available. Especially popular is the famous moules-frites, which is a dish of mussels and french fries.
It has a strong maritime influence and the people often refer to themselves as enfants de la mer (children of the sea). Water-based sports such as fishing, sailing, and swimming are very popular and are practised by locals and tourists alike.
In 2009 the town had a population of 3,463. The purpose of the town twinning in 1997 was to foster relationships throughout the European Union. The connection was an effort to get to know another loca town int he union and to boost buisness, tourism, and cultural links.
According to the local committee the link has benefitted Ballinamore, especially in tourism. And it is hoped that this special annieversary will mark a revival of the cultural association between the two towns.