St. Patrick’s Day is well-timed this year. No, not just because it falls on a Friday, but because it’s set to be a mild (albeit rainy) day right on the heels of the Berkshires’ biggest snowstorm in more than a decade. Having a relatively warm day to emerge from our snowy cells and share in some merriment is like a diamond, or perhaps an emerald, in winter’s rough.
Pittsfield and sister city Ballina, Ireland, have become a "real family" residents say at 25th anniversary of their union
For the last 25 years a group of residents has nurtured a sister city relationship with Ballina, Ireland. It was a relationship started by chance but build stronger by years of friendship, support and cultural exchange.
Speaking of good timing, Pittsfield recently marked the 25th anniversary of its sister city union with Ballina, Ireland. Last weekend, a delegation from this community in the northwest corner of Erin visited their Pittsfield counterparts to celebrate the quarter-century bond between two cities separated by the Atlantic but joined by a genuine sense of connection and affection. There were exchanges of cookies and whiskey, musical expressions of joy and gratitude, and a heartfelt gift of an M-shaped pin (for County Mayo) from incoming Ballina Mayor Michael Loftus to outgoing Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer.
It’s a testament to the strength of community and relationship we can forge, even over thousands of miles, between folks who make efforts of good faith and good cheer. Anne Gagnon, a Pittsfield resident who helped establish the sister-city relationship in the late 1990s, told an Eagle reporter: “We’re really a real family of people.”
Today, that sentiment also gets at what it means to say “everyone’s Irish” for one day a year. It’s not about genealogy or origin; it’s about being together.
Whomever you choose to be together with and however you celebrate, do so with joy and conscientiousness toward your neighbor — whether they’re down the street or across the pond. Have a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day.