Learning about Life in Ennis

Three Youth Ambassadors from the US state of Arizona are settling into Ennis life as part of the Ennis Phoenix Youth Ambassador Exchange programme. For three weeks they will live with their host families and experience the life of Irish teenagers in County Clare. Phoenician teenagers, Paul Pachuca Romero, Emily Akins and Betty Duarte were selected from hundreds of applicants to travel to Ireland as Youth Ambassadors.

During their time in Ennis they will learn to surf in Lahinch and to rock climb at the Burren Outdoor Education Centre in Bellharbour. They will meet the Mayor of Ennis, help out in the Clarecastle Day Care Centre and indulge in afternoon tea in Dromoland Castle. They will also enjoy sporting and music activities and simply hanging out with their Irish peers between trips to the Cliffs of Moher, Carrigaholt and Bunratty Castle.

The Youth Ambassador programme has been a very popular initiative of the twinning relationship between Ennis and Phoenix. Since 1988 almost two hundred second level students have participated in annual exchange programmes between Ennis and Phoenix according to T J Waters, Chairperson of the Ennis Phoenix Twinning Board. “We are delighted to welcome Paul, Emily and Betty as Youth Ambassadors from Phoenix. The twinning relationship between Ennis and Phoenix has been very beneficial in terms of enterprise, culture, education and community and this relationship continues to grow and strengthen each year” he added.

Hitching a lift at Dromoland CastleSince 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.

Cllr. Mary Howard, who is also a member of the twinning board, added that the “The Youth Ambassador programme is a great success thanks to the host families and to the young people themselves who represent their families and communities very well”.
In July, the Ennis hosts, Moira Curran and Orlaith Lyons, both students at Colaiste Muire, together with Natasha O’Dwyer, who is a student at Rice College, will travel to Phoenix as Youth Ambassadors. While in Arizona, the Ennis Ambassadors will partake in a Grand Canyon Adventure, visit Disneyland, attend a Baseball game and an American Prom evening and do some community work. They will also get to meet up with Ambassadors from other Phoenix twinned cities in Canada, Italy, China, Israel, France, Mexico, Japan, and Taiwan.









Also visiting Ennis this week from Arizona are Tom and Terri Fitzsimmons, seen above, who are both members of the Ennis Twinning Board in Phoenix. Although regular visitors to Ireland this is their first visit to Ennis. During their stay they enjoyed the Ennis Walking Tour and took time out to visit west Clare, the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren.