How it all Began
The man responsible for setting the ball rolling in the twinning was M. Jean-Claude Brient. He wanted to twin his town Locmiquélic with a town in Ireland, so he got in touch with M. Claude Bramoulle, a French fish buyer living in Skibbereen in hope of twinning with Scull.
However M. Bramoulle thought that Castletownbere would be a better match to Locmiquélic as it is a port and so he asked a fisherman from Castletownbere, Mr. Pat Murphy did he think Castletownbere would be interested in twinning with Locmiquélic.
Mr. Pat Murphy contacted Mr. John Murphy (chairperson of the Castletownbere Tourism Association) with the suggestion. John discussed it in a meeting with the rest of the committee. Many were in favor of the idea and wanted to know more. John Murphy then got in touch with M. Jean-Claude Brient who contacted again within a short time to say that he and 12 people were going to visit Castletownbere during a hike the following week.
In 1983 the group of walkers came to Ireland from Locmiquélic. They walked from Killarney to Castletownbere (Not realizing the distance). On Thursday the 29th of April the walkers reached Castletownbere. They were tired and needed a place to stay for two days. (Their needs were a bath and a bed) So families around Castletownbere through the tourism association took them in. The following year the French invited the Irish who took them in and others to Locmiquélic for a week.
The people who participated in this trip were overwhelmed by the friendship hospitality and entertainment they were given during an action packed week and so the twinning between Castletownbere and Locmiquélic started.
"Signing of the declaration in Locmiquélic & in the Sports Hall, Castletownbere"
The Towns Charter
In 1986 the Locmiquélic mayor M. Francis Pahun and Mr. John Murphy the Castletownbere representative signed the “town’s charter” in the town hall of Locmiquélic.
IT STATED: -
We, Francis Pahun Mayor of Locmiquélic (Brittany)
John Murphy, Chairman, Community Association Castletownbere (Ireland)
Proclaim the twinning of the two towns Castletownbere and Locmiquélic under the aegis of the World Federation of twinned towns and united cites, with a view to encourage exchanges in the fields of cultural touristic, social and economic affairs in the interests of our people we declare solemnly in the name of the people of our towns to respect the principles of the Twin – Towns Charter and to apply the program of united cities so as to develop mutual understanding respect and friendship between the peoples of Castletownbere and Locmiquélic thus opening the way to complete under standing, with out discrimination between the cities and peoples of all nations
We, Francis Pahun & John Murphy have attached our signatures and the seals of our town to this parchment.
At the time of the signing the main members of the Castletownbere committee were:
John Murphy (Chairperson “Lord Mayor”)
Maureen O Brian (Sectary)
Pat Murphy (Treasurer)
Tom O Brien
Michael Joe Driscoll
The main members of the Locmiquélic committee were:
M. Francis Pahun
M. Jean - Claude Brient
Mme Josette and Danielle Graillot
M. Claud Le Duc
The Twinning to Date
To date each year for one week at the end of the summer an exchange takes place, the venue of which alternates each year between Castletownbere and Locmiquélic. The school also partakes in an exchange between the two towns in which every year students from France travel to stay with Irish students in March and the Irish go to France around may. This gives a great opportunity to gain a grasp of each others language. Many young people have also been able to avail of work experience abroad through the twinning.
Any exchange participants from the two communities would agree that there is now a great bond of friendship between the two towns. The similarities between the two communities from their Celtic origin, fishing background to their love of music, song and dance make the exchange participants regard each other as family rather than strangers from another country.