KILKENNY is now officially twinned with a Chinese city, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding at a ceremony in Kilkenny Castle earlier this week.
Suzhou – the ‘Venice of China’ – is now Kilkenny’s ‘sister city’. A Chinese delegation, led by Director Aixian Wang, signed the memorandum with Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Paul Cuddihy and the Lord Mayor David Fitzgerald.
The twinning ceremony, held in the Great Hall of Kilkenny Castle on Monday, was also attended by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, members of the county and borough councils, local dignitaries and business owners.
Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Paul Cuddihy said it was a new beginnning.
“We welcome you with openness, enthusiasm and friendship,” he said.
“Kilkenny, and of course Ireland, is open for business.”
Director Wang Aixian said it was an important moment for both cities.
“Suzhou is known as the land of plenty, and the paradise on earth,” said.
“We tried our best to find a sister city with similarities, and Kilkenny ultimately won out. Both of our cities have a long history - Suzhou is 2,500 years old.”
The Chinese delegation was presented with the gift of a specially-commissioned tea set, made by Nicholas and Susan Mosse. It features on one side a depiction of Kilkenny Castle, and on the other side, Suzhou’s famous Tiger Hill Pagoda landmark.
The visitors were then brought on a tour of the castle, as well as to a number of Kilkenny’s notable landmarks.