There are one hundred and twelve families in Cashel who are primed and ready to act as cultural ambassadors for the City of the Kings and Ireland herself when the EU Rural Charter rolls into town on Thursday June 30th.
The Charter of European Rural Communities aims to work from the ground up, involving local communities across Europe in a continent wide twinning arrangement, in fact we don’t yet know the word for it, but each member town is linked to 26 others in the EU, that’s twinning on steroids!
Councillor P.J. Quinlan, who is the co-ordinator of the accommodation for the 272 European delegates who will be in Cashel this coming weekend, told us “The idea is that people meet people, it’s not just the catchy slogan of the Charter, it’s how we get things to work. Everything begins at the family level, and we have some 112 terrific families in Cashel who will be hosting those EU representatives. We are delighted at the response we had for volunteer families and I can safely say that we have every delegate housed within a four mile radius of Cashel. We even have a standby by list of volunteer families who are ready to help out if anything unforeseen happens.”
Councillor Quinlan went on to say that there has been a huge amount of planning undertaken to ensure the smooth running of the weekend. From the collection of the delegates from Dublin airport by local coach operators, with flights arriving as early as 7:30 am on Thursday and late as 12.30 am on Friday. This is one logistical achievement of the steering committee to get it to work so smoothly.
The delegates will be brought to Halla Na Feile where they will meet their host families. “The whole idea is for our overseer guests to live amongst us and see how we cope with daily life. Most families are taking two representatives and to make sure those visitors can still get in touch with their own delegations have tried the best we can to house each nationality in the same area. For example, the Greeks will be on the Clonmel Road, the Spanish and Portuguese in Boher Clough, Dualla will play host to the delegation from the Czech Republic and Rosegreen will house the British representatives from Leicestershire.”
This bottom up approach fosters friendships across Europe and many host families are invited back to their guest’s town and long lasting relationships are built up. The Cashel Volunteers will be our local VIPs for the weekend, look out for or their distinctive VIP badges and asks them how they are getting on. A full programme of events is organised for the delegations, including youth representatives who will also be lodging with local families. “One fun event we are all looking forward to is the culinary evening” P.J. told us “ we’ll be sharing Irish food with all sorts of produce that our guests are bringing to Cashel for us to sample. I’m sure the host families will have a great time at that event.”
Finally P.J. asked for anyone with a Tipp flag to fly it high this weekend, he told us “The colours: blue and gold, are the same as European flag and it would be a great céad míle fáilte for our guests and a show of support for our wonderful volunteer host families”.