A number of activities took place in Achill, Couny Mayo, over the weekend to mark the 20th anniversary of the twinning of Achill with the US city of Cleveland, Ohio in 2003. 

More than 30 people traveled to Achill from Cleveland to join the celebrations, which began on Friday afternoon, September 8, with a civil reception at Áras an Chontae in Castlebar. 

Gerry Quinn, the President of the Mayo Society of Cleveland and a leading member of the Irish community in the city, was honored at Friday's reception. 

Quinn, whose weekly radio show Gerry Quinn Irish Radio has been running for 31 years, broadcast his radio show live from the gteic digital hub in Achill Sound on Sunday afternoon as part of the anniversary celebrations. 

Mayo County Council are honoured to award a Civic Reception to Mr Gerry Quinn of the Mayo Society of Greater Cleveland this afternoon for his many years of dedication and work with the Mayo Diaspora in Ohio. pic.twitter.com/LqOLQKW8V0

— Mayo County Council (@MayoCoCo) September 8, 2023

A 20th-anniversary dinner also took place at Óstán Oileán Acla on Saturday night as part of the celebrations, while a new bench and plaque were unveiled along the newly opened greenway in Achill Sound. 

Terence Dever, CEO of Achill development company Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiúil Acla (CFÁA), said there was great pride in Achill at what has been achieved through the twinning with Cleveland 20 years ago. 

Links between Achill and Cleveland date back to the 19th century, when huge numbers of Achill residents emigrated to the US during the Great Hunger

Many Irish immigrants settled in a part of Cleveland known as "the Angle" and Cleveland remained a popular destination for Achill residents emigrating to the US throughout the 20th century. 

Today, it is estimated that roughly 200,000 of the 360,000 people who live in Cleveland can trace their ancestry back to Achill.

In 2003, after the late Steve Mulloy, a native of Keel on Achill Island who emigrated to Cleveland, spearheaded the idea to twin Cleveland and Achill. The then Mayor of Cleveland Jane Campbell traveled to Achill for the formal twinning ceremony.

From 2019 - 2021, Cleveland native Edward Crawford served as the US Ambassador to Ireland; he was named the Person of the Year in 2014 by the Mayo Society of Greater Cleveland.

The relationship continues to flourish. Earlier this year, a delegation from Cleveland, including Mayor Justin Bibb, traveled from Ohio to Co Mayo on the inaugural Aer Lingus flight direct from Cleveland to Dublin. Mayo County Council said: "The event was a great opportunity to discuss the 20-year twinning agreement between the two regions of Mayo and Cuyahoga and an opportunity to discuss potential for the future, around economic, education, tourism, and cultural opportunities."

Mayo County Council was delighted to welcome a 15-strong delegation from Cleveland, led by Mayor of Cleveland, Justin Bibb, to Achill Island last Saturday evening.

https://t.co/C7sdgSvbKA pic.twitter.com/B88d2RqN35

— Mayo.ie (@MayoDotIE) May 22, 2023

In October, the Mayo Society of Greater Cleveland will mark the 20th anniversary of the twinning with events at the West Side Irish American Club.