Castlebar-Hochstadt twinning an outstanding success
CASTLEBAR Town Council silenced the doubters by making its town twinning arrangement with Hochstadt, Bavaria, one of the most successful in Europe. According to Mr. John Condon, county secretary, a leading driving force behind the initiative, even the sceptics have been won over by the unique and lasting bonds created between the two communities 1,500 miles apart. Speaking during a visit to mark the millennium celebrations of the Franconian town in southern Germany, Mr. Condon said those who knocked the initiative in the early stages have had to reassess their views. He said the main reason why the twinning continued to grow, while similar arrangements had gone by the board, was due to the fact it was fully backed by Castlebar Town Council. "Unlike other twinnings, the council plays a central role and now it is being held up as an example of how all future town twinnings in Mayo should be established.
It’s good that Castlebar has taken up the twinning challenge again – I seem to remember a certain lack of interest on Castlebar’s part there back a few months ago? Located as we are way out West we need these contacts with France and Germany as well as our links with English towns and of course not forgetting Peekskill in New York State which our Town Council visit on St. Patrick’s Day. While we may complain about junkets and the expense when politicians are involved, on this occasion a total of some 150 people from Castlebar travelled to Hochstadt. The Castlebar Concert Band, for example, would have done some serious fund raising plus put their hands in their individual pockets to pay for the trip. We can easily get isolated from the rest of the world. But the business contacts, the friendships that arise will help in counteracting our natural state of western isolation, stimulating our imaginations and helping us to grasp new opportunities that would not otherwise have arisen. For thousands of years sea-farers up and down the western fringe of Europe have kept us here in the west in contact with other peoples. On the Quay at the Spanish Arch in Galway there is a monument to the visit of Christopher Columbus to Galway in the 1400s. And long before that even people risked life and limb to trade up and down the Atlantic fringe. In these days of easy travel we barely have to make the effort – just book on line and make your way to Knock. So why not take the trip on the next twinning visit?
Retirement of Willy Fahey
"I SUPPOSE like a car the engine goes so far but it's getting too slow now," said Willy Fahey speaking about his retirement from Parsons Shoe Shop after 58 years of dedicated service. As a result of a job advertisement in the Connaught Telegraph in 1945, Willy commenced work in Parsons on July 10th at age 14 years, where he remained as three generations of Parsons were born and joined the family business. "I was treated like one of the family. I was brought to football matches, to the sea side," said Willy speaking about Old Martin Parsons and his good wife Bessie. …. When Willy started work in Parsons the war was just over and shoes were rationed. "You'd have coupons for shoes as well as butter, bread and sugar. Every family had a leaf of coupons, it was six coupons for a pair of shoes and you paid for the shoes after. The dearest shoe in the house that time was cheaper than a bad pair of laces today ranging from six and eleven pence to twenty one and eleven pence. You had to go to factories and beg for shoes. It was a case of taking what you got. You never got what you wanted or ordered." Some of the modern names in shoes were fashionable when Willy started work in Parsons and according to Willy there were nearly 20 shoe factories in Ireland where there are only about three today. Clarkes, Rawson, Carlow Shoes, Lee Shoes, Hanover Shoes, Dubarry, Blackthorn, Woodingtons of Drogheda were some of the great names.
Congrats to Willy on his retirement. Read the full article in the Connaught to get a feel for the sheer breadth of history that Willy lived and worked through. I have a feeling that we won’t see many more like him. Even in the Civil Service the job for life is a thing of the past so even more so in the private sector. So more power to Willy and to Parsons who employed him over the 58 years.