A delegation of committee members and musicians from the Navan Shamrock Festival has just returned from Broccostella, in Italy, one of the two Italian towns twinned with Navan.
The trip was undertaken in an effort to create greater relations between the two towns and encourage visitors from Broccostella to visit Navan for the annual Shamrock Festival.
The trip was organised by the festival committee and the Lupo family, the well-known Navan business family which originates from the Italian area, and the delegation included Navan's deputy mayor, Cllr Phil Brennan, and 13 musicians and singers. They stayed in Soro, a mountainous region 85 kilometres south of Rome in the nearest hotel available to Broccostella.
The party visited the tomb of Ezio Lupo, where they laid flowers, and piper Ruairi Somers played a lament. They continued up the mountain, to where locals were holding a Festival of Villages, and on a specially constructed stage the Irish musicians held spellbound the large audience present. Later, in another Soro plaza, they entertained the general public into the early hours.
On Sunday, having taken in the Meath v Mayo game huddled around a laptop, the Navan group presented a specially prepared concert in an open-air venue in Broccostella, in the presence of Mayor Sergio Cippitelli and the town council members and members of the Broccostella community. A presentation of crystal was made to Mayor Cippitelli by Cllr Brennan and included in the presentation was a specially-made group tee-shirt to mark the occasion, a Meath football jersey and a handmade Navan bodhran, made especially for the occasion.
Mayor Cippitelli presented Cllr Brennan with a silver plaque to mark the occasion. In the early hours, the group retired in the company of Mayor Cippitelli for refreshments provided by Mario and Rita Lupo and his family and the festivities continued into the early morning.
On Monday 10th August, the group travelled up into the mountains to the Museum of Traditional Bagpipes and following a guided tour of the facility, afterwards retiring to a national park for a picnic of fresh local produce and entertainment. Later that evening, they were treated to a civic reception by Broccostella Town Council where an agreement was made for a return trip to Navan for St Patrick's Day in 2010.
The Navan Shamrock Festival committee has extended thanks to Mario and Rita Lupo whose co-operation and hospitality made the trip possible, interpreter Susan Maguire, Navan Deputy Mayor Phil Brennan, photographers John and Michael, musicians and dancers and the organiser of the trip, Tony Brady; Mayor Cippitelli and the Broccostella Town Council for their community facilities.
The festival committee intends to set up a bilingual website called www.navanbroccostella.ie, with the Italian section co-ordinated by members of the Lupo family. It intends to deliver window stickers to all shops and businesses in Navan and intends to play host to a number of visitors from Broccostella in Navan in November.
The Shamrock committee is planning to build the 2010 Navan Shamrock festival around the Broccostella town band which has made a commitment to visiting Navan for the occasion.