BANDON is looking to forge official links with a town in Oregon, United States of America with the same name.
Local officials are hopeful that establishing a namesake twinning will be mutually beneficial for both towns.
Cork County Councillor Gillian Coughlan recently spearheaded a motion seeking to further examine the links and the official channels the process must go through in their respective jurisdictions.
Councillor Coughlan said if ties are boosted between the two towns in Cork and Oregon respectively, everyone would benefit.
“The area has a very similar profile to Bandon in Cork. Agriculture is very strong there. Golf and athletics are also popular there. It could be the beginning of something special. Especially since Covid, our world has become very small. We have a huge diaspora in America. They yearn for that sense of home. They could come here and learn about the culture and heritage. It would be mutually beneficial to both communities if those links were formalised,” she said.
Bandon in Oregon is a small seaside town with a population of around 3,500 people. It was founded in 1873 by a Bandon man called George Bennett, who changed the original name of the town to that of his hometown in Cork.
A delegation from Bandon, Oregon keen to retrace their roots visited Bandon in Cork back in 2019.
Cllr Coughlan said this visit always resonated with her.
“We had a lovely reception and the seed was set. It had been mooted for quite some time when we were in the Town Council. There were some descendants of the settlers who had left Bandon in Cork for Bandon, Oregon present for the gathering.
“It brought home to me the potential for stronger links across the Atlantic. Not just economic links, but social, business, and educational links. It could be mutually beneficial for all concerned. At that time it was agreed that we would forge ahead with this,” she added.
Bandon town has undergone huge development work in recent years which demanded all the attention of the local representatives and the community.
Councillor Coughlan is eager now to drive on with her vision to strengthen the connection.
“Bandon town was occupied with drainage works and I felt it wasn’t the right time to commence anything formal. Now that we are coming out the other side of that, this is the time to start planning ahead because Bandon will be rejuvenated in the next few years.
“The underground work has been completed. The footpaths and the streetscapes will also be improved. Bandon is already beautiful but these works will make it even more beautiful. I now think we can begin to plan to welcome our American friends to come and stay in Bandon. The County Development Plan is currently ongoing. I would like to think this will inspire local business people to open up new accommodation and leisure options for locals and visitors. It will enhance our tourism and hospitality sector in Bandon,” she added.