THE silver anniversary of the twinning arrangement between Reading and Clonmel is being marked with a Reaffirmation Meeting this week.
The Mayor of Clonmel and his Deputy will be among the dignitaries from the Southern Irish borough visiting Reading to celebrate the 25 year link between the two towns.
Reading Mayor Cllr Debs Edwards and Council Leader Cllr Jo Lovelock will also take part in the event along with members of the Reading Clonmel Town Twinning Association on Friday (1st February).
The twinning of the two towns was the result of a chance conversation during the official opening of a new Gaelic football pitch at Rivermead in 1992. Two years later the mayors of Clonmel and Reading signed the formal documents to set up the official twinning arrangement.
Cllr Richie Molloy, Mayor of Clonmel Borough District, and Deputy Mayor of Clonmel, Cllr Martin Lonergan will be among the guests to take part in the Reaffirmation at Reading Town Hall. They will be joined by the Mayor of Reading, Council leaders and special guests from the twinning association and local community.
Entertainment will be provided by Viv O’Gara’s School of Irish Dance and American Irish Acoustic band Plummer’s Mates.
The Clonmel delegation will visit Reading Museum and be given a tour of the Abbey Ruins on Saturday before a visit to Reading Irish Centre, in Chatham Street, where they will watch the Six Nations Championship game between Ireland and England.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Clonmel and other members of the party will visit St James’ Church, in central Reading, for Mass on Sunday before flying home.
A new photographic exhibition by photographer and local historian Chris Forsey is currently being staged in the Holybook Gallery at Reading Central Library to mark the silver anniversary. Reading and Clonmel: A Twinning History uses the archives of the Reading Clonmel Town Twinning Association to chart this history of event and visits by the mayors of both towns since 1992.
Dick O’Brien, Chairman of the Association and founder member, said:
“Many people in Reading are not aware that we are twinned with Clonmel, this exhibition and the civic events we have planned for early next month, will celebrate our links.
“It all started with a brief conversation I had at the opening of St Anthony’s Gaelic football pitch at the Rivermead, with the Mayor of Clonmel, Vera Hewitt and I am delighted she will be able to join us again next month.”
Mayor of Reading Cllr Debs Edwards said:
“I am thrilled to be welcoming the Mayor and Mayoress of Clonmel and their party to Reading to celebrate 25 years of the town twinning arrangement.
“I look forward to showing them around our fantastic town and sharing Reading’s history with a tour of the museum and Abbey Ruins.
“It is important to maintain close links with our friends and I am delighted to be reaffirming the special relationship which exists between our two towns.”
Clonmel nestles on the banks of the River Suir and is the county town of Tipperary in Eire with a population of more than 17,000. Its big businesses include Bulmers Brewery and it has a lively sporting scene which includes Gaelic Football and rowing.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Photo Opportunities: Media are invited to send a representative to the Reaffirmation Meeting at The Victoria Hall, Reading Town Hall, at 7pm on Friday 1st February.
Media are also invited to the Reading Irish Centre, in Chatham Street, at 4.30pm on Saturday 2nd February.