THERE was a distinct Fermanagh flavour to one of England’s biggest St Patrick’s Day parades last weekend.
As part of a special twinning arrangement, the 2017 Nottingham parade was led by two Fermanagh “ex-pats”, joint chief marshals Siobhan Begley from Ederney and Eileen Dowling from Derrygonnelly, who have each been living in the English city for over 40 years, as well as Cllr John Coyle, and tourism development officer with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) Edward McGovern.
Cllr Coyle and Mr McGovern were part of a council delegation who travelled to Nottingham for the celebrations, which also included Cllr Thomas O’Reilly, Cllr Chris Smyth, and Tanya Cathcart from Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism.
“It was a great opportunity to promote Fermanagh and to try to build contacts to see how we can work with Nottingham in the future to encourage more people to come visit us here,” said Cllr O’Reilly.
The Fermanagh “twinning” was part of an initiative run each by the Nottingham St Patrick’s Day committee, in which they invite representatives from a different county to come to the city and lead the parade each year.
Cllr O’Reilly said as part of their visit they were looking at aspects of how FODC could incorporate a similar initiative here at home, possibly inviting representatives from various parts of England to the area in future.
Speaking of the enthusiasm shown by his fellow council members for the idea, Cllr O’Reilly said: “The plan is to look at some way of moving this forward and we’ll be looking at seeing how and where we can make it happen.”
Cllr John Coyle agreed it was an idea that could be explored, stating “it’s something we can build on in the future.”
Adding the trip had been a great opportunity to promote Fermanagh, Cllr Coyle said it was “an honour” to meet the Fermanagh folk living in Nottingham, and a privilege to be able to represent Fermanagh in the parade.
“For the native descendants living in Nottingham it was a also privilege for them to have people over, and quite a number of people did travel from Fermanagh to Nottingham for the St Patrick’s Day Parade. It was a fantastic event,” he said.
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