AS former French Consul in Cork for over 40 years, Francoise Letellier certainly enjoyed Ireland.
Now that she is back in France, she has successfully managed to twin her hometown of Guilvinec in Brittany with Schull.
The first of the twinning initiatives saw the arrival in Schull of a group of young primary school children from Guilvinec, accompanied by some parents, their teacher and president of the twinning concept in Brittany, Francoise Letellier.
‘It took a little bit of time for them to get their sea legs, but as soon as they were on firm ground, they got all excited to be in Ireland. The excitement reached its first peak when they arrived at Schull National School to meet their host families and their Irish counterparts,’ Francoise told The Southern Star.
‘On the Sunday afternoon a real Irish welcome was provided with Irish songs, music and dance by the Irish children. The French visitors also took part and sang one song in French and one in English and they all introduced themselves individually.’
On Monday the French students got to experience school in Schull and following this, various activities were organised by the school and the Parents’ Association. While the children played, the French adults got to discover West Cork and the beauty of the Irish scenery, and luckily the sun was shining for them for the majority of their stay.
‘On the last day of school for the French visitors, more games were organised and even some of the children said they did not want to go back as it was easier to make friends in Ireland. They thought Ireland was cool and if there was no school uniform, then they would not mind going to school in Ireland,’ added Francoise.
‘The week went extremely fast and before we knew it, it was Saturday and time to say goodbye. The children made lots of friends, exchanged email addresses and promised to chat on Skype. They all too made some progress in learning the English language too.’
The parents and pupils of Guilvinec were thrilled with the week they spent in Schull and they are eagerly awaiting the visit of their new Irish friends to go over to Guilvinec next year.