A delegation from Märkischer Kreis in Germany recently travelled to Waterford for the return leg of a town twinning journey that cements the relationship between the two regions.
In April this year, a Waterford delegation led by then Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John O’Leary, travelled to the district in central North Rhine-Westphalia for the official twinning ceremony.
During their visit to Waterford, the fourteen-person delegation was headed by Mr Marco Voge, Märkischer Kreis Chief Executive, accompanied by District Director Barbara Dienstel-Kümper, and Head of Culture and Tourism Detlef Krüger.
In a jam-packed, two-day itinerary, the visitors met with key stakeholders from the business, tourism and culture, education and hospitality sectors.
First port of call was City Hall where Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway greeted the delegation saying, “The bond between our two regions is a testament to the power of international friendship and cooperation. Our cities may be separated by distance and language, but we are united by our shared values and commitment to building bridges between cultures. Today, as we gather here, we celebrate the rich tapestry of our similarities and differences.”
The mayor continued, “As we embark on this journey of cultural exchange, may it deepen the bonds of friendship between Märkischer Kreis and Waterford. Our twinning partnership is a bridge that connects our communities, transcending language and distance.
“Together, we can learn from each other, grow together, and continue to celebrate the unique beauty of our respective regions.”
Next on the itinerary was a tour of the South East Technological University (SETU) campus and a meeting with Kathryn Kiely, Vice President for External Affairs, and Dr. Richard Hayes, Vice President for Strategy.
The delegation then met with TV Honan, Director of renowned street theatre company, Spraoi, and Gabe McGuinness, Project Manager of Waterford Walls at the Waterford Gallery of Art.  The delegation enjoyed a colourful and informative account of some of the amazing components that make Spraoi and Waterford Walls two of Waterford’s best loved festivals.
The delegation toured five museums in the Waterford Treasures collection and experienced the vast beauty of ‘one of the great gardens of the world’, Mount Congreve.  Following this the delegation was treated to fresh, seasonal, locally produced refreshments and a local history lesson “Steps Back through Time” at the Coach House in Kilmacthomas.
The delegation sampled some more of Waterford’s finest local produce, courtesy of Taste Waterford in the stunning setting of Lismore Heritage Centre.  The food theme continued as the trip concluded with live music in Dungarvan centre and a meal in Dungarvan’s Tannery Cookery School.
The visit consolidated the shared vision and determination for both regions to continue to work together and to make Waterford and Märkischer Kreis regions where people will continue to live, work, visit and invest in.