"What with a "bridal show the partnership between the two cities, which began in 1996, culminated on the 24th. September 2000 in hochstadt at a high time." this could be read in the FT of 25. September 2000 read. From 22. Until 28. September 2000 a delegation from castlebar visited aischgrund, and the highlight was the ceremonial sealing of the twinning agreement between hochstadt and castlebar. The then castle mayor pat king and hochstadt’s mayor gerald brehm signed the partnership deed in english and german at the anton wolker school in the presence of theresa walsh-zaby, the "mother of the partnership, and john condon, the head of administration of castlebar.
The tender little plant became a lively partnership with many reciprocal visits and school exchanges. Even whole travel groups were in the twin city. The patricksday celebrations in the weberskeller with the hochstadt dance group "irish heartbeat" were unforgettable.
Thomas bellew, first secretary of the irish embassy in berlin, came from berlin with ilias ben mna, assistant public diplomacy and policy officer. First there was a real french funeral meal in the brewery inn rittmayer in aisch. "I am eating ‘schauferla’ here for the first time, and it tastes really good!", said thomas bellew enthusiastically.
Then the tour continued to hochstadt, past the carp traffic circle, which bellew absolutely had to photograph, to the town hall. The irish people had the opportunity to talk to their german friends in a live link with castlebar.
"It was a historic moment 20 years ago", buried john condon hochstadt’s friends of the partnership.
Bruckenbauer in europe
German ambassador deike potzel was on the line from dublin. She actually wanted to plant the oak tree in castlebar, but because of corona she could not leave dublin at short notice. Potzel spoke about the importance of twinning, the connection of people, the development of strong friendships and partnerships as bridge builders in europe. She thanked some of the active friends on both sides for their great commitment and remembered with pleasure the invitation of the last group of visitors to the french evening with meat bratwursts in castlebar as well as their visit to davitt college. She also praised the special partnership between the two fire departments – dieter puttner on the german side and seamus murphy on the irish side.
"The oak is one of the most impressive symbols of ireland as well as a national symbol for germany. This tree should grow in hochstadt as it does in ireland and produce many fruits. I will gladly visit the oak tree one day. I will always do my utmost to support this vibrant alliance," said, said potzel.
Second mayor gunter schulz also spoke words of praise about the truly flourishing partnership between the two cities.
Theresa walsh-zaby and her husband helmut joined us from neustadt an der weinstrabe and fondly remembered the beginnings of their "marriage".
All those present in the town hall, christian wennmacher, gunter schulz, tanya fisher-lehmann, responsible for the school exchange, tara baynes from castlebar, who is studying in wurzburg, and johanna blum, member of the circle of friends, briefly introduced themselves and dug all friends in the partner community. "May the partnership live for a long time. I wish you all luck and health!", said john condon at the end of the live broadcast.
Alive even in corona times
Afterwards, thomas bellew, representing the irish ambassador nicholas o’brien, who was prevented from attending, together with mayor gerald brehm (JL), christian wennmacher and bernd ehrlicher planted a english oak behind the fortuna as a sign of the permanence of this partnership. They were actively supported by hermann zehn from the building office.
Briefly, bellew, but also gerald brehm, went into the history of the partnership in a speech. Brehm also thanked dagmar wennmacher, the chairwoman of the circle of friends, who was prevented from attending for professional reasons, for her commitment.
The city priest kilian kemmer reminded of saint kilian, who came from ireland to wurzburg, and wished the alliance god’s blessing.
"Even in corona times, partnership is alive and well, and like the oak tree, it must always be nurtured, especially when europe is threatening to break apart", pastor fritz schafer, who, like kemmer, has fond memories of castlebar, explained.
After the presentation of the guest gifts – mike gibson gave the irish guests each a book with the declaration of peace from hochstadt and the circle of friends gave each a gift basket filled with delicious things – there was a donation from the well-known candy specialist from adelsdorf. Afterwards, everyone was invited to the cafe of the laufer muhle in the fortuna for cake and coffee.
Both castlebar and hochstadt are hoping that the corona problems will soon come to an end so that they can once again visit their twin town without hindrance. But there is certainly still a lot of patience needed.