Kilkenny Limestone paving the streets of Brussels
On July 21, Belgium and friends of Belgium will enjoy their national day or Independence Day which celebrates the investiture of the country’s first monarch, King Leopold I and the separation of Belgium from the Netherlands.
Ireland traditionally has many links to the state and the bonds of friendship between Ireland and Belgium are deep and enduring.
Senator Joe O'Reilly recently highlighted an unusual link that binds the two nations and particularly Brussels and Kilkenny together. The Fine Gael spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Seanad outlined:
"Our enduring friendship is grounded in historic connections from the era of the saints, including Dymphna, Bridget and Faolán, and scholars at the Irish college in Leuven, our shared values, including around the table at the EU and UN, and our creative artists and enterprises.....
"Many thousands of Irish people have chosen to study, live, work and retire in beautiful Belgium, where they have found a warm welcome and, more recently, Kilkenny limestone in much of the paving of the city streets beneath their feet. If they have not found gold, they have found Kilkenny limestone."
Many streets in central Brussels are indeed paved with Kilkenny limestone since 2019 when a major urban renewal project saw local company Kilkenny Limestone send over 400 lorry loads of our native limestone to Brussels. That both Brussels and Kilkenny share a medieval history and architectural heritage makes this bond seem even more appropriate. In total, Kilkenny Limestone shipped over 13,000m² of traditional Irish Blue Limestone which is just over the equivalent size of Croke Park pitch (145 x 88m).
So if you visit Brussels and find yourself walking across its public spaces this summer, remember that there are 35-thousand square metres of Kilkenny Limestone slabs and 4 kilometres of kerbing, adorning the centre of Brussels that have Kilkenny DNA all over them.
From the citizens of Kilkenny to the citizens of Brussels: "Happy Independence Day."
You have our limestone and we have your Leonidas chocolates.
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