PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — On Wednesday, Peoria celebrated 25 years of being a sister city with Clonmel, Ireland. The international partnership started when the late Leo Jordan of Peoria came home from a St. Patrick’s Day meeting. He set on a mission with his wife Joanna to find a sister city in Ireland.
“After a year and a half of research and happy travels, we have a sister city or twinned city as they say with Clonmel, County Tipperary,” said Joanna Jordan.
On Wednesday in city hall chambers, mayors from both cities spoke about the benefits of joining forces with a city across the Atlantic Ocean.
“There’s always been a great relationship between Ireland and America,” said Richie Molloy, Mayor of Clonmel.
Peoria’s Mayor Dr. Rita Ali said the relationship has brought the two closer in ways that transcend borders and oceans.
“Through collaborations in fields such as education, trade, technology and the arts we can further strengthen our bond make a positive impact on the lives of our residents,” she said.
Yvonne Murphy a graduate student at Bradley University sung the national anthems for her home and host countries, Ireland and America. Molloy said Murphy’s matriculation at Bradley is a great example of “twinning.”
“That in itself showed the real value of twinning. Yvonne came here when we were here five years ago and then she went on to Bradley,” said Molloy. “And now at this stage has graduated and is singing both national anthems. Which is a great tribute to both countries.”
Clonmel resident Aiden Fennessey said it’s a long lasting friendship.
“We have schools twinned, we have popes twinned, we have libraries twinned and Bradley University with our university as well. So there’s a lot going on.”