Irish town welcomes the Czech Republic into EU with a "Parade of Colours"


Every six months the Presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates between the member states. Ireland currently holds the presidency and plans to welcome the ten new countries to the European Union in a unique way this Saturday. Ten towns and cities around the country will be twinned with a new member state. The picturesque south-western town, Killarney, which has a very strong tourist tradition and is right in the middle of the mountains, has been twinned with the Czech Republic...and its residents are looking forward to getting a taste of Czech culture without leaving the country. Karen Reen has been co-ordinating the events:

"Killarney and the Czech Republic were twinned because the mayor here found there was a great amount of culture in common between the two people. He thought that the people in this region are very colourful and love culture and music and he felt that this was quite similar to the Czech Republic as well. There are quite a few Czech people living in the Killarney area who are getting involved in the Day of Welcomes. We are going to have some of them walking in the parade in traditional Czech dress. We also have somebody presenting Tourism Minister O'Donoghue, with a basket of bread and salt - I believe that's the traditional food of welcome in the Czech Republic. Mr O'Donoghue is really the inspiration behind all of these Days of Welcome that are happening throughout the country."

And what will you be opening the festival with?

"The first thing that is happening in the day is the Food and Craft market. We have a lot of stalls with Czech and Irish products, crafts, and food. We are also going to be sampling some Czech beer. So, the minister is opening that. We're going to have street performers and brass bands. Then, at three o'clock in the afternoon, a theatre group are doing this parade of colour, where they are going to parade through the main streets of Killarney with loads of various symbols from the different countries and lots of colour and they are using local participants, lots of children from the area, to help bring about a very active and exciting parade."