Sandrine Le Cocguen from Carhaix prepares to leave Carrickmacross Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Sandrine Le Cocguen from Carhaix prepares to leave Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher


Michael Fisher

Sandrine Le Cocguen says ‘adieu’ to Carrickmacross this weekend after spending six weeks working in the town and trying to improve her knowledge of English. The 24 year-old is a student from Carhaix in Brittany, twinned with Carrickmacross. She came to Ireland at Easter and the twinning committee along with the Chamber of Commerce found her temporary employment and accommodation.

She is a second year engineering student at Nancy University in France and will begin her final year in September. She is interested in sustainable development and the environment and worked with other engineers on a project called “the garage of the future”.

During her short stay in County Monaghan, Sandrine worked with Emma Gollogly at and in Jim Hand’s shoe shop. She also gained some work experience in the office of an architect and at O’Gorman’s SuperValu supermarket, where she will finish tomorrow. She also helped the French teacher at Inver College on a number of occasions as students prepared for their oral examination. As we prepared to do this interview, one of the students came up to her and thanked her for her assistance.

Sandrine became friendly with Alicia Ehrecke, a German exchange student at Inver College. She accompanied Alicia to Dublin when she received a Hot Press award for a short story she had written. Both were given accommodation by Carmel Watts in Church Grove.

During her time in Carrickmacross, her boyfriend came over from France and they went on a tour to the North, staying in Belfast near Queen’s University, a building she admired. They visited the Titanic Centre and also made a trip to the Giant’s Causeway. They were impressed with the beautiful surroundings on the North Antrim coastline. Sandrine told me she had really enjoyed her time here and would recommend such a stay to others. The next phase of her trip to Ireland will be spent in Abbeyleix, County Laois, where she will work in a coffee shop until the end of July, in exchange for board and lodgings. She found the position through a free volunteer work exchange website,

Sandrine is the second member of her family to come to Carrickmacross with the help of the twinning committee led by Sean Egan. Her younger sister Céline who plays the harp visited with a group from Carhaix school of music last year. She stayed for four days with the Farrelly family in Magheracloone at the time of the Féile Patrick Byrne. So both are helping to strengthen the common Celtic bonds between South Monaghan and Brittany.

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