Phoenix Week 2013

Phoenix Week 2013 will mark the 25th anniversary of twinning between the town of Ennis and the US city of Phoenix. For seven days next March the town of Ennis will celebrate the special relationship it shares with Phoenix, Arizona. Almost one hundred people will travel to Ennis from Phoenix for the week long event. The group will include an official delegation led by Michael Johnson, the Deputy Mayor of Phoenix. He will be joined by City Council elected representatives and executives, business leaders and Phoenix Sister City personnel.

During Phoenix Week 2013, Saint Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix, a high school marching band, will play in the St Patrick’s Day parade and learn how to play tin whistles, US visitors will get a hurling lesson, participate in a five mile charity run and meet Clare business and tourism interests for a breakfast briefing on the business opportunities that the region offers. The Phoenix visitors will take a trip to Bunratty Folk Park, get guided tours of Ennis town and be shown how to trace their Irish ancestry. They will also attend an Irish traditional music session, participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ennis and enjoy the unique landscape of the Burren.

According to TJ Waters, Chairperson of the Ennis Phoenix Twinning Board, “We have organised a week packed full of events to mark the 25th anniversary of our twinning relationship between Ennis and Phoenix which has been very beneficial in terms of enterprise, culture, education and community. For a week next March we will showcase the best that Ennis and Clare have to offer.”

One of the highlights of the week will be the Cliffs of Moher 5 Miler which will commemorate the short life of baby Nicholas Stokes of Phoenix who passed away at the Cliffs in 2006. His parents were so touched by the support they received at the time of the tragedy that they have raised over $80,000 to supply emergency equipment and emergency response training for personnel at the Cliffs of Moher First Aid Centre, now known as Nicholas Room. The funds raised by the run will go to the Nicholas Room and to the Neonatal Unit in St. Munchin’s Hospital. Preparations are underway to cater for 1,000 participants in the 5 Miler and almost fifty runners from Phoenix plan to take part. Those intending to run or walk the route can register on

The Saint Mary’s Catholic High School Band has accepted an invitation to play in the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ennis. During their visit, the band will also visit Ennis schools and play in the Cathedral and at the Cliffs of Moher.

Ennis Chamber of Commerce will host a breakfast briefing for visiting Phoenix business people and officials. The briefings will concentrate on opportunities for employment in the region. Topics covered will include transport infrastructure, links to third level research projects and opportunities for global business.

Since the formation of the twinning relationship between Ennis and Phoenix in 1988, civic and community leaders from both sides of the Atlantic have visited each other and developed strong ties and personal friendships. Over the years political and business leaders, arts and cultural representatives, technical experts, teachers and students have participated in regular exchanges. The focus has been on commercial, cultural and civic activities. Opportunities for trade and education links have been promoted and developed and tourism and enterprise potential has been highlighted.

Phoenix Week 2013 is supported by Ennis Town Council and will form part of the town’s offering for The Gathering. According to the Mayor of Ennis, Cllr. Peter Considine, “It is very important that we celebrate the real and enduring association between Ennis and Phoenix. We all benefit from this association in terms of culture, education and business. Congratulations to all of those who have been involved over the past twenty five years.”