Members of Pittsfield’s Irish sister city committee welcomed guests from Ballina, Ireland on Friday afternoon at Pittsfield City Hall.
Rob Dwyer, president of the Irish Sister City Committee said that since Pittsfield chose Ballina as its sister city in 1998, due to similarities in its “small-town” feel and economy, the two communities have grown close.
Mary Kelly, a councilor and former mayor of Ballina, was welcomed at the ceremony. Kelly has flown to Pittsfield numerous times in recent years. She highlighted some of the cultural exchanges brought between Ballina and the Berkshires.
Peter Clarke, another former mayor of Ballina was also welcomed. During the ceremony he invited the Irish-Americans living in Pittsfield to come to Ballina to visit the Jackie Clarke Library and Archives. Clarke said the library which has materials dating back to the 17th century, could trace the ancestry of those with their roots in Ireland.
Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi proposed that in addition to a cultural exchange that the two cities have experienced over the years, he’d like to see an economic exchange.
That idea intrigued visitor Mary Kelly…
Kelly is joining Peter Clarke, and also Ballina’s town engineer Orla Bourke, and city officials in Albany for St. Patrick’s day celebrations.
Pittsfield also has sister cities in Nicaragua, South Korea, and Italy.