Geel group ready for departure from Tydavnet
Gift from Geel to Tydavnet: statue of St Dympna
They came here as part of The Gathering. A group of fourteen visitors from Geel led by Mayor Vera Celis has returned to Belgium following a five day stay in Tydavnet, County Monaghan, with which the town in Flanders is twinned. The common connection is St Dympna, whose story is reflected in both areas.
Geel Mayor Vera Celis & Cllr Nadine Laeremans collect water from St Dympna’s Well, Tydavnet Photo: © Patricia Cavanagh
The well of St Dympna at Culdavnet has had access restored and the visitors went there to collect some of the water. The Mayor of Geel Vera Celis also planted a tree at the former national school at Cornagilta, which the local community hopes to open as a heritage centre.
The group also visited the mens’ shed project in Monaghan town and were given a tour of the new educational complex on the site of the former military barracks, as well as a tour of the new Garage Theatre. It was an interesting programme put together by the hard-working local committee of volunteers in Tydavnet, with the support of Monaghan County Council. On Sunday morning the visitors attended the 10am Mass at St Dympna’s church in Tydavnet and they were brought afterwards to the community centre for refreshments.
Geel Mayor Vera Celis planting tree at Cornagilta school Photo: © Paudge Connolly
The visitors stayed with local families and in return, visitors from Tydavnet are hosted by local people when they travel to Geel. An invitation was made by Vera Celis and Councillor Nadine Laeremans for the Tydavnet group to travel to Geel in May 2015 when the next St Dympna pageant (“Omegang”) will take place, a celebration held every five years.
Before they departed, Mayor Vera Celis presented Marie McAree representing the Tydavnet group with a gift: a statue of St Dympna from Geel. A suitable place must now be found to display it, perhaps in the chapel.
Flag of Geel
Extraordinary discoveries in Geel (Het Nieuwsblad)
St Dympna is the connection between Tydavnet (Tigh Damhnait) in Monaghan and the town of Geel in the province of Antwerp in Belgium, with which it is twinned. I have visited Geel on a number of occasions, most recently in August last year. So I was interested to see an online article in the Belgian paper Het Nieuwsblad about an important archaeological discovery showing evidence of prehistoric remains, including a large graveyard from the Bronze Age. The find was made in the area called Sint-Dimpna, close to the church of that name, I think, at a site being excavated to make room for a new sports centre. I have used Google to attempt to translate the article, to find out a bit more about the discovery. This is what the report says, give or take a phrase or two!
Extraordinary discoveries in Geel (caption for photo).
Unique archaeological traces at St. Dympna:
Geel Historical Society has worked with the city archives to organise a lecture on the results of the excavations at St. Dympna. The archaeologists will explain how their research was done, what traces were found and what they mean. The excavations were carried out for the construction of the new sports and play park. During the investigation many archaeological traces from different periods came to light. The researchers found four main buildings from the Iron Age (circa 800-50BC), a yard from the Middle Ages (10th-12th century AD) and numerous smaller outbuildings or nails that served as storage for food. There were also some wells found (dating from) the Middle Ages. Besides these traces of habitation there were also traces of a large graveyard from the Bronze Age (2000-50 BC) that came to light. And it is this last discovery that makes the archeological site so unique and interesting. Finding such burial sites is extremely rare for archaeologists in Flanders. “The combination of the cemetery and a settlement is truly exceptional. In Geel everything was also very well preserved, “said Connie Leysen from the Geel city archives. The lecture will take place on Friday 25th January at 8pm in the Winery.