We have just returned from Arranmore, where we had a most wonderful weekend.
The weather was terrible but it did not and could not dampen the spirits of all the people who participated. All the islanders assembled on the pier to greet the ferry. The school children formed a guard of honor and the pipe band played. That night in Gerry Early's Charlie O Hara gave a short and very moving talk on the evictions. After that we sang and danced into the wee small hours.
The twinning ceremony at the lake was very emotional despite the rain, and again a huge crowd gathered.
The mass on Saturday night was also a great experience culminating in the singing of the American and Irish National anthems. Thomas Phil Ban's was the venue that evening. Another late night!
The departure on Sunday at 1:30 was not without a lot of tears. As the pipe band played The Shores of Amerikay there was not a dry eye on the quay.
All in all a memorable occasion. The monument at the lake, an otter and a beaver with a salmon leaping in between, is quite beautiful. We went back to see it on Sunday afternoonit is so impressive and will soon become a major tourist attraction on. It will of course serve as a permanent reminder of the close links between the two islands.
The gifts presented by your representatives were greatly appreciated and were so appropriate. We hope to meet the group again in Dublin, our home.
Aidan and Rita Gallagher