New Danville-Carrickfergus exchanges planned – The Advocate-Messenger
SISTER CITIES OF DANVILLE
The Danville Sister Cities Commission recently learned that its sister city, Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland, is as eager as the local group to re-engage in the exchanges that have been the highlight of the relationship for the past 12 years.
In a Zoom appeal, Peter Johnson, the current mayor of the amalgamated Antrim Council of Northern Ireland, was joined by ex-Council mayor Audrey Wales MBE, who was in Danville three years ago, and Nicola Rowles, the Council’s Director of Development. The Irish group reported that the percentage of adults who have been vaccinated in Northern Ireland, like Britain, is as high or slightly higher than the percentage in the States, meaning that travel between the two countries is expected to become more and more easy.
In a letter, the Danville SC Commission had previously requested to resume discussions on one or more of the following topics: tourism, whiskey, music and / or art.
Mayor Johnson and Mrs Rowles spoke about the growing importance of tourism, whiskey and beer to the Northern Irish economy.
Mayor Audrey Wales MBE highlighted the recently opened tourist attraction, the Gobbins, “Europe’s most spectacular cliff walk” on the Irish Sea just north of Carrickfergus. At the Gobbins, visitors can walk along a series of narrow bridges over crashing waves and through tunnels that lead through solid basalt boulders and plunge below sea level.
In April, the Danville SC group created a popular short video, “A Wee Bit of Ireland in Danville”, hosted by SC Commissioner Father Anthony McLaughlin. The half-hour program consists of three 10-minute visits to the local homes of Karen and Andy Ryan, Russ and Margo Goodwin, and Ray and Cindy Hammond. The video is now available on Facebook: place “Kentucky Sister Cities” in the search box at the top left, then scroll to the second item, “Danville video”.
The SC high school student exchange this summer had to be delayed after the cancellation of Irish group UPLIFT which runs summer camps for the West T. Hill Community Theater due to the pandemic. The Danville commission hopes to expand this exchange and will offer scholarships for the school exchange next summer.
Since July 2009, when Danville and Carrickfergus officially became ‘twinned’, more than 300 Danvillians have visited Carrickfergus. There have been several exchanges of artistic or cultural ambassadors, three SC trips to Ireland, visits to sports teams and family visits.
Although the Danville Sister Cities Commission receives token funding from the city, it is funded primarily by local sponsors ($ 50) and benefactors ($ 100).