The recent trip to Formigine in Italy had economic, social and cultural benefits to be reaped in the years ahead, according to the two local councillors who went on it.
At the May meeting of the Kilkenny City Municipal District, Mayor Joe Malone — one of the two councillors — said that some people questioned the merits of such a trip, but said there are 'huge benefits'.
"You are going to see a lot of activity starting to take place in the months and years ahead," he said.
The mayor, along with engineer Seamus Kavanagh and Cllr Malcolm Noonan were in thenorth Italian town and comune in the province of Modena, Emilia-Romagna, last month. It also boasts a Medieval castle among its attractions.
Cllr Noonan showed the members a presentation, including photographs, of their visit.
"Certainly, it was a very successful trip and we were overwhelmed by the welcome we received," he said.
"The whole city came out to meet us."
They were greeted with the Irish tri-colour and by a local choir singing Amhrán na bhFiann.
While there, Mr Kavanagh gave a presentation about Kilkenny City to their hosts, detailing the various developments taking place, along with possible projects on which the two could collaborate.
Cllr Noonan also said that 'serious meetings' had taken place, and the delegation visited schools and the local rugby club. There are plans in the works to arrange a game between them and Kilkenny RFC.
He said a number of proposals had been discused, and that there could be many mutual beneits.
“They put in an amazing effor - they are taking it very seriously," said Cllr Noonan.
“They want a serious engagement, not just signing a charter. They're very committed.
“For people who question the benefit [of these trips], there is no doubt that there is an economic benefit. But also there is a social and cultural benefit.”
Cllr Noonan said there was a significant Italian community in Kilkenny, some of whom have expressed an interest in the process. He thanked the mayor, and praised him in particular for one speech he had made over there.
“I would also like to thank the council and the twinning committee," he said.
“I think this is really going to bear fruit.”
Cllr Andrew McGuinness commended the delegation for the trip and for the report. He said it was even useful for boosting Kilkenny's t0urism appeal.
“A lot of people don't see the importance, but it is hugely important,” he said.
“I see the pictures of you all in the schools and communities who would never have heard of Kilkenny; now they know exactly where Kilkenny is.”