Address by Willi Kiefel on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of
student exchange,  Tuam - Straubing in Tuam Library on 31/08/2009.
Tuam - Straubing Twinning
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Some of the Highlights here were the visits by the Anton-Bruckner-Choir and their performance of „Carmina Burana“ in the Mall Theatre in Tuam and and their performance of „Carmina Burana“ in the Mall Theatre in Tuam and Town Hall Theatre in Galway as well as the Anton-Bruckner Big Band.
Examples of the *cultural visits from Tuam to Straubing* are shown in *poster 7*. The highlights here would have been the visit by Maigh Seola and the Tuam Brass and Reed Band in 2001 for the 10 year twinning celebration, the missionary visit by the „Toscairi Thuama“ or „Tuam Envoys“ with their performance of Bailegangaire by Tuam Playwright Tom Murphy in Straubing in 1992, the lecture by Prof. Peter Harbison on Romanesque Ireland in 1997 for Straubing's 1100 year celebrations and last but by no means least the Tuam Stand at the Eastern Bavaria Exhibition at the Straubing Beer Festival from 1991-1995. At this occasion I want to point out another aspect of our cultural differences. For Prof. Harbison's lecture German engineers decided that after some 1500 years is was about time to fix St. Jarlath's Wheel and so they did. Have a look at the green poster there.  *Poster 8 *deals with a special chapter in the relationship Tuam- Straubing namely the famous *Bavarian Nights from 1994-2004*. These resulted from another true German Irish cooperation.Straubing's breweries supplied the beer in form of two 50 liter barrelsand Lufthansa flew them free of charge from Munich to Dublin ( up to 2001 – the attack on the World Trade centre stopped this),. Tuam provided the meals; both towns supplied musicians and plenty of Ceol agus Craic. Some of the stories from these Bavarian Nights have become folklore.  The concluding *poster 9* is a short *introduction to our respective towns*. The information on Straubing is mainly from their brochure „Straubing – come, discover, enjoy“ while the information on Tuam is from the Corrib Country map and Dr. Claffey's Tuam Town atlas. There is also a model from Catherine Corless of Tuam Town from around 1910 on display in the library downstairs. Ladies and Gentlemen, these posters present a summary of the visisible and tangible strenghtening of the link between Tuam and Straubing over these 25 years. However, I believe the real link occurred in the minds and hearts of the people who visited and met. Anyone who has witnessed the emotional farewells on both sides at the end of an exchange visit could not doubt that lasting friendshiops have been established. And that's what this exchange is all about. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is only proper that I should say thank you before I conclude. I wish to thank you Ambassador von Alvensleben for coming all the way from Dublin, Fr. Stephen Farragher as the representative of Archbishop Neary, The representatives of galway County Council, Sr. Angela and the visitors for coming all the way from Straubing, Sally-Ann Flanagan for deputising for Mayor Tom Reilly and Tuam Town Council for the Civic Reception, Jim „Squiggley“ McHugh for the briliant caricatures, my daughter-in-law Andrea -without her grahical design and computer skills I would have been lost, Emer Donohue and the staff of Tuam Library for their support for this exhibition, all the members of the twinning committee over all the years and the friends of Tuam in Straubing for their dedication and hard work maintaining and enhancing these twinning activities. Finally I say a most sincere thank you to my wife Maura and my family for supporting my work for the Tuam Straubing link over all those years.

Go mbeirimíd beo ar an am seo arís.  Thank you I invite you now to have a look at the posters.
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