Danville and New Ross Poised to Become Official Friends

O'Neill with his dalmatian at his Tao House study in Danville, CA.

New Ross Standard
February / March 2018

New Ross, County Wexford, is to be linked with a town in California where playwright Eugene O’Neill lived.

O’Neill’s Tao House in Danville, California, near the San Francisco Bay, is preserved as a historic site. New Ross district manager Sinéad Casey said that in recognition of the great American playwright’s New Ross heritage, a proposal is in place to formally link the two cities as Friendship Towns.

“This initiative is coming from Wexford County Council’s Arts department. The plan is only in paper but we want to bring the Friendship initiative to New Ross rather than let it go anywhere else. There won’t be any cost implications for the district,” Casey said.

District director Eamonn Hore said the town manager from Danville will visit New Ross next year. He said friendship between towns is not as formal as twinning, but it does connect the towns in a meaningful way. “Danville is very similar in size to the New Ross district. The Eugene O’Neill Festival will start next October and I think it’s going to make this connection.”

“It’s a no-brainer,” Wexford Councilor Larry O’Brien said. Councilor Oisin O’Connell agreed, saying the new links with Danville will build on the town’s links with America through the Dunbrody Visitor Centre, where the Irish America Hall of Fame is housed, and the Kennedy Homestead. He said President Michael D. Higgins has expressed an interest in the work of O’Neill, saying he could be invited to either the Friendship ceremony or the theatre festival if possible. Cathaoirleach Councilor Willie Fitzharris said: “It would be very possible.” ♦

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