Town Twinning Association

Town Twinning Association

Vive la France

In Ballyhaunis we are lucky to have one of the longest established Town Twinning Associations in the country.  Ballyhaunis has been twinned with the French town of Guilers in Brittany for almost thirty years and several successful exchange visits have taken place during this time.

The concept of Twinning originated after the Second World War based on the principle that conflict can be avoided and barriers broken down through the promotion of cultural exchange.  The town of Guilers near Brest in the department of Finistere in Brittany was selected as an ideal twinning partner for Ballyhaunis because of its size, location and cultural similarities.  Linguistically and musically there are strong links between Brittany and Ireland.  The Breton music played on the traditional instruments of the Bombarde and Biniou have a resonance which evoke traditional Irish airs.  The Breton language has many similarities with the Irish language.  Evidence of our shared Celtic heritage is apparent with the prevalence of dolmens, menhirs and cromlechs throughout the region.

Irish people have a reputation for being welcoming or flaithiul, and those of us who have visited Guilers can vouch for the fact that the Breton people share that same celtic spirit of warmth and hospitality.  In 1982 the official twinning charter was signed between Guilers and Ballyhaunis and the links between our two towns have strengthened and endured since that time.

Usually every two years a group travels to visit the host country.  Every effort is made to match exchange partners with partners who share similar interests. Visitors have the opportunity to experience a different way of life, immerse themselves in another culture and develop their linguistic skills in the French language.  Many local individuals and families have been involved in the Twinning Association over almost three decades.  It has undoubtedly been a rewarding and enriching experience for them.  If you would like to experience the French way of life, immerse yourself in Breton culture improve your language skills now is your chance!  The Association is always looking for new members.  Remember the world is a book and they who do not travel read only a page!

Mary Finan