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Tydavnet / Geel 25th

It was discovered that Tydavnet had a close connection with Geel in Belgium as story tells us that St. Dympna met her death there at the hands of her cruel father. She became well known as the patron saint for those with mental illness and she is honoured very respectfully in Geel. It is told that on her travels while fleeing from her father she passed through Tydavnet, having a drink at what is now known as St. Dympna's Well, and staying overnight in the village. While there, she is reported as having performed a miracle and so she became venerated in Tydavnet and has become the patroness of the Clogher Diocese. Contact between the two places began and developed with returned visits leading to a Twinning between Tydavnet and Monaghan with Geel in 1992. on May 11th 2017 a 20+ contingent of representatives from Geel arrived in Ireland to celebrate the 25th anniversary of that twinning. A full programme of activity was planned and carried out as follows:

11th May  11.00  Main delegation arrives from Brussels;   12.30 – Reception at the Belgian Embassy, hosted by His Excellency Phillipe Roland; 3.00 – Visit to the Guinness Storehouse; After visit to Guinness Storehouse, the delegation will proceed to Tydavnet to meet with host families.
12th May Morning – Walking Tour of Monaghan Town  (Francis McCarron/Paddy Sherry)
            
Afternoon – Free time for shopping etc.  6.30 pm – Reception in Sliabh Beagh Hotel, Knockatallon  (hosted by Monaghan County Council)
13th May 10.00 am – Depart Tydavnet for Belfast city for visit to Titanic Centre; 2.00pm – Lunch - McHugh’s Pub; Bus tour of Belfast city;
14th May 10.00 am Mass in St Dympna’s Church, Tydavnet (to commemorate feast day of St. Dympna); Mass will be followed by a social gathering in Tydavnet Community Centre. 2.00pm – Walk to St. Dympnas’s Well; 4.00 pm – Lunch in Sliabh Beagh Hotel; Sunday night – Music in the Rock Inn, Tydavnet.
15th May 10.00 am – visit to Tydavnet Primary School; 11.30 am  – Depart Tydavnet for Concra Wood Golf Club; 12.30 – Lunch at Concra Wood; 2.00 pm – visit to Carrickmacross Lace Gallery; 2.30 pm  Depart Carrickmacross for Dublin Airport
I attended the social gathering in Tydavnet on Sunday morning and the friendship and bond that exists between the Tydavnet people and the people of Geel was very obvious and deep rooted. Monaghan Community Brass Band played as the group of locals and Geel people arrived at the Community Centre. Then inside of traditional musicians played, sang and danced for the visitors. Presents were exchanged and thanks and appreciation expressed by both sides. Ria, speaking on behalf of Geel, thanked the people of Tydavnet, Monaghan and Monaghan County Council for the wonderful experience the twinning has been and that she has been honoured to have this happen during her lifetime. Refreshments were served and plenty of socialising took place before all departed to get ready for the Wlak to the Well of St. Dympna in the afternoon.

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