THE Athy Twinning Committee hosted the biannual visit from our twin town, Granvilliers in France, on the weekend of 17 May last. A total of 36 visitors arrived, including 16 juveniles from the Grandvilliers AC under 14 team who were hosted by members of Athy Town AFC.
Due to delays with flights from Beauvais, our visitors only arrived in town at 2am on Saturday 18 June, tired but looking forward to the visit. After meeting their hosts for the weekend, they went to bed for a well-deserved sleep.
On Saturday morning our guests visited local shops and business and enjoyed a brief tour of the town. Hosts and guests then went to the Showgrounds to watch the under 14 match between Athy Town AFC and Grandvilliers AC. This was a very entertaining game played in a great spirit with the score at one apiece until the last five minutes when the visitors scored two late goals. Athy RFC kindly opened their clubhouse to us and we had lunch and a few pints – the adults.
We all met up again in the Clanard Court Hotel for a banquet where our very special guest was Marc Dumas, the attaché from the French embassy. We are very grateful to Marc for coming to our town and he spent the following day with us as well. A great evening was enjoyed by all.
On Sunday our tour took us to Cahir and a visit to the castle with lunch in a local restaurant. We then travelled to Holy Cross for a visit to the Abbey. The weather fortunately stayed sunny and warm and the threatened rain stayed away. The guided tour of Cahir Castle was very interesting and was conducted in French and English.
Our guests spent Sunday evening with their hosts. The younger visitors were treated to a BBQ by Ben Woodhouse, manager of Athy’s under 14 team, where the boys from both clubs got to know each other and exchanged email address. Hopefully the friendships formed during the weekend will endure and individual visits will take place over the years.
There was an early start on Monday as we all met at 8.30am to catch the bus to Dublin for a tour of the GPO and other historical sites conducted by Gerry Davis, before travelling to the airport for the flight home.
Our great thanks to Shaws department store for providing discount vouchers and to Pettitt’s for sponsoring the food for lunch. We would also like to thank the cycle shop for offering free hire to our visitors.