This year marks the 25th anniversary of Listowel’s official twinning with Panissieres in Southern France. To mark the occasion a delegation of 25 French guests visited Listowel this. The group included the Maire (Mayor), Christian Mollard, who back in 1992 was one of a group of relay runners who ran from Panissieres to Listowel to celebrate the twinning. The original town twinning Charter was signed Mr Francoise Veillon, Maire de Panissieres and Michael Guerin, Chairman of Listowel Urban District Council.

The twinning was initiated because Listowel and Panissieres are the only locations in the world which boast a Lartigue monorailway. One of the early objectives of the twinning was to have a museum or reconstruction of the monorailway developed in both towns. Listowel achieved the unique Lartigue Museum and full-size running train, while in Panissieres, they built a full-size replica of their train which is on display in the Town Square. Panissieres also preserved the Lartigue monorailway route between the town of Feur and Panissieres, which is now a very popular 25km greenway walk.

The French visitors were welcomed with a Civic Reception hosted by the Cathaoirleach of the Listowel Municipal District, Cllr. Aoife Thornton, held at Aras an Phiarsaigh last Thursday. The Listowel / Panissieres Twinning Committee organised a very exciting
programme for the week, including a talk by Dr. Declan Downey, on the Historic Connections between the Listowel Region and France, and visits to local attractions including St Johns Theatre, Listowel Castle, the Kerry Writers Museum, Lartigue Monorail Museum and the newly accredited Green Flag Park in Listowel.

Councillor Thornton spoke in both English and French at the reception, praising the work of the Listowel Twinning Committee and acknowledging how the use of host families over the years had created strong friendships epitomising what twinning arrangements are for. Cllr. Thornton added that the two towns had a connection through the Lartigue Monorail but hopefully would also have another similarity in a greenway, a goal Listowel is now
hoping to also achieve with the extension of the Great Southern Trail Greenway.

The anniversary was then marked with the presentation of a commemorative scroll
followed by light refreshments.

Pictured outside the Civic offices are the group along with (front middle): Jeannine Gilles Chairperson, Panissiers-Listowel Town Twinning, Cllr. Aoife Thornton, Cathaoirleach of Listowel Municipal District, Christian Mollard Mayor of Panissieres and Michael Guerin Chairperson, Listowel-Panissiers Town Twinning. Pic: Pauline Dennigan