15 August 2020


The combined regions of Ballycommon, Ballinagar and Geashill played host to a group of  9 visitors from Jaux in France last weekend. This was the first of what it is hoped will be many cross cultural visits between the two areas as part of a "twinning scheme".

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Photographed after Mass in Ballinagar: (From Left) Micheal Keoghan (Irl.), Mégane Petitalot (Fr.), Margo Sheil (Irl.), Denise Keoghan (Irl.), Philippe Deblois (Fr.), Sébastien Affre (Fr.), Maryan Jacek (Fr.), Élodie Jacek (Fr.), Marie WrenAugé (Irl. & Fr.), Perrine LaMouche (Fr.) Jean-Christophe Augé (Fr.), Monique Jeanniot (Fr.), Dolores Foley (Irl.) Gretta Clear (Irl.)

The project was initiated by Marie (Wren) Augé who lived in Ballinagar until she married Jean-Christophe Augé and moved to France 20 years ago. Marie thought it would be lovely if her new friends and neighbours in France could experience the way of life where she grew up and that her relatives and neighbours back in Offaly could sample the lifestyle of her new home in France. Ballycommon Telework & Training Centre undertook the organisation of the Irish end of the project and under the leadership of chairperson, Margo Sheil, arrangements for the visit to Ireland were soon in place.
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Photographs courtesy of Marie Wren Augé
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 Meeting for lunch at Hamilton's in Geashill  Relaxing in Ballycommon House
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 Returning from a trip on the Grand Canal  Historical tour of Geashill with Pat Foley
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Meeting Councillor E. FitzPatrick (2nd. from left)   Welcome from Anne Marie Delaney C.E.O. Offaly
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 Entertainment in Dún Eocla  Irish & French flags side by side

Highlights of the weekend included a meal in Hamiltons on Saturday with Offaly Co. Co. officials, Refreshements in Ballinagar Hall after mass on Sunday, Entertainment in Dun Eocla, a tour of  Ballinagar bog, Historical walk around Geashill and a canal boat trip. On top of all that the visitors found some time to call on local farmer, William Strong, just in time to witness the birth of the 87th. calf of the season which they named "Melody" a combination of the names Mégane and Elodie.
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The Irish team presented the French visitors with prints by local artists and St. Brigid's Crosses as souvenirs of the visit. The first event to promote the Twinning in Jaux, France will be for St. Patricks Day for which a series of Irish themed activities have been organised. This will be followed by the official signing of the twinning agreement in France on June 24th. when it is hoped that a group of Irish people will attend.
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Back Row: Pat Foley (Tour Guide), Maryan Jacek(France), Mícháel Hyland (Principal Geashill N.S.)
Middle Row: Jean-Christophe Augé, Philippe Deblois, Élodie  Jacek, Mons. Tom Coonan (c.c. Geashill), Megane Petitalot.
Front Row: Perrine LaMouche, Marie Augé, Monique Jeanniot