Visitors from Rudolstadt return to sample some Donegal hospitality

ARRANMORE Island is set to have a Mayor!

Following a visit to the island at the weekend by a delegation from the German town of Rudolstadt, the latter’s Mayor, Jörg Reichl, said he had enjoyed it and the scenery so much, he and his wife are planning to rent out a house there next summer.

“It’s a very nice place with beautiful views,” he said.


Taking a break from a hectic schedule on Monday, Mayor Reichl said this was his sixth visit to Ireland and fifth to Letterkenny which is twinned with Rudolstadt.

“Last year we came but there was only seven because of the Covid. In 2020 nobody came but this time we have 50 people here.

“They come from all sections of society – all the people of Rudolstadt are represented here.”

His own schedule had taken him to New York the week before the visit to Donegal and to the Cliffs of Moher.

The group was formally welcomed to the Radisson Hotel on Friday by Letterkenny Municipal Mayor, Donal ‘Mandy’ Kelly.

“Then half of us went to sleep and the other half to the pub,” laughed the Rudolstadt Mayor.

Back home in Rudolstadt, there is, he reveals, a premises called the Letterkenny Irish Pub – run by Letterkenny native Karol Kerrane and his wife Selena Mowat.


“We make a big party on St Patrick’s Day every year which was the idea of Karol and we get big crowds coming to it.”

During their weekend in Donegal, the German delegation visited the Crolly Distillery, Glenveagh National Park, the historic An Grianán of Aileach, Arrranmore. They also took a trip into Derry.

Between the twinned towns of Letterkenny and Rudolstadt there is an educational partnership involving at this end, St Eunan’s College, Coláiste Ailigh and St Joseph’s Primary School in Rathmullan.

“It is a good partnership for all,” insisted Mayor Reichl.

Meanwhile, for four days in July, Rudolstadt hosts a major Folk Festival – “the town does not sleep at all during these days!” – and it’s pointed out to the Mayor that Letterkenny hosted a similar festival back in the day.

He had been Mayor for 16 years – an elected position that will end for him in 2024. But it won’t stop him returning to Letterkenny and to Arranmore Island….


An hour before they were due to board the bus for Dublin Airport and a flight to Frankfurt, Peter Kleinfeld summed up the emotions of the 50 strong delegation from Rudolstadt.

“A memorable visit has come to an untimely end – the tears will flow on the plane,” he maintains.

The delegation are assembled in the Public Services Centre in Letterkenny – twinned with Rudolstadt since 2018 – and the Council is affording the visitors a final reception before their departure on Tuesday.

“It has been a fantastic weekend and great to meet you all,” the Mayor of the Letterkenny-Milford Municipal District, Donal Kelly hails the German party.

“I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

“It’s great that this connection has been made between Letterkenny and Rudolstadt and Donegal as a whole.”

His colleague Councillor Jimmy Kavanagh had spoken very highly of Rudolstadt following a visit he had made in the company of Councillor Gerry McMonagle and Council official Eamonn Brown. It was a visit he, Mayor Kelly, hoped to make at some stage.


The visiting delegation watched a short video on the sights of Donegal, compiled by Darren Nash, to the background of Paul Brady singing

‘The Homes of Donegal’.

Director of Services with Donegal County Council, Liam Ward, detailed the plans the local authority had in relation to the continuing development of Letterkenny including investments in roads, public transport and walking and cycling routes.

They would be dealing with the dereliction issues at Lower Main Street as well as developing a tourism attraction at the former courthouse and initiating a transport hub for both private and public buses.

Two large enterprise spaces were also due to be developed on the Port Road with the capacity for 600 employees added Mr Ward who also outlined further strands of the Letterkenny 2040 Regeneration Strategy.

Rudolstadt Mayor, Jorg Reichl returned thanks on behalf of the visiting delegation, highlightng the packed programme, featuring “unforgettable experiences that had been organised

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