11 a.m., Aug. 9)
Navan residents welcome special guests to their little
visitors from Navan, Ireland pose for a group
picture outside St. Mary's Anglican Church
in Navan, Ontario. Fred Sherwin/Photo
town of Navan, Ontario welcomed 41 special guests from
the town of Navan, Ireland on Thursday during the first
day of a four day visit.
42 guests posed for a group picture outside St. Mary/s
Anglican Church at noon and then went inside for a short
tour before sitting down to lunch with some of Navan's
visitors all hail from Navan, County Meath, pop. 28,600,
about 50 km northwest of Dublin. The same place where
Navan, Ontario founder Michael O'Meara hailed from.
was forced to leave Ireland in the aftermath of the Irish
famine in the 1860s. He eventually settled in present
day Navan where he was appointed postmaster and named
the town after his birthplace.
co-organizer Patrick Pyrle says the tour was conceived
on the 16th of March, 2011, over a few pints of beer at
the Lantern Public House on Watergate Street in Navan.
here, number one, to walk in the footsteps of Michael
O'Meara. Number two, to pay tribute to the people of Canada
fro opening their arms and accepting the Irish immigrants
during the time of the famine. Number three, to pay tribute
to the Irish workers who helped build the Rideau Canal.
And number four, to thank Canadians for welcoming our
young people who can't find work in Ireland and have had
to leave their home to find work here," said Pyrle.
tour actually had its genesis six years ago when Pyrle
came across the Navan Fair website while surfing the Internet.
He sent an e-mail to former Cumberland Ward councillor
Rob Jellett who passed him on to former Navan Fair office
administrator Margaret MacNeill.
initial correspondence included an invitation to Navan,
Ireland for the town's annual Shamrock Festival which
celebrate the connection between the shamrock, St. Patrick,
the River Boyne and the Hill of Tara.
took them up on their invitation and traveled to Navan
with a couple of Navan-area friends Betty Neilands-Wall
and Larry O'Neill. The group was treated like royalty
in Navan. The were brought to the Festival parade by barge
and had their own float.
2006, two other groups have visited Ireland and brought
back similar stories of being treated like family. It's
not surprising then that a number of the Navan, Ireland
visitors are staying with local residents.
group will attend the Navan Fair opening ceremonies tonight
and will have their own float in the parade on Saturday.
learn more about the tour visit the navan2navan.com.
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business
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