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Rochester to Host 10th Annual Meeting Between Local and Irish Students

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ROCHESTER — City Manager Daniel Fitzpatrick is pleased to announce that a group of students visiting the United States from Northern Ireland will spend the day in Rochester next week, interacting with students and residents while enjoying all the city has to offer. The trip will conclude with a dinner at one of Rochester’s Irish restaurants.

WHEN:

Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 5 p.m.

WHERE:

Mel Flanagan’s Irish Pub and Cafe, 50 N. Main St., Rochester

WHO:

  • Catholic and Protestant students visiting from Northern Ireland
  • Friends Forever International
  • Rochester students
  • Local band Bradagan

WHAT:

Students from Northern Ireland are visiting New Hampshire as part of Friends Forever International’s yearlong peace-building program, which aims to ease tensions between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. Mel Flanagan’s has hosted the group in Rochester for each of the last 10 years.

Part of the FFI program includes a two-week visit to the United States, which gives the students a chance to participate in a cultural exchange while building lasting relationships that they can maintain and build upon once they return to Belfast.

“It’s baby steps to peace, but I can see this is a pathway to an end to the conflict some day,” Mel Flanagan’s co-owner Melanie Belville said. “These kids are considered future leaders, and they’re making a huge difference over there.”

One former FFI participant is now a city councilor in Belfast, Belville added.

The evening will feature an open and informal discussion between local students and the Irish visitors, followed by a buffet and performances of Irish music by local band Bradagan.

“This is an amazing opportunity for Rochester’s residents to learn about a different culture and get to know people they may otherwise never have the chance to meet,” City Manager Daniel Fitzpatrick said. “I hope high school students especially will capitalize on this chance to broaden their horizons in a fun and engaging setting.”

The event is free and open to the public, though a $5 donation is requested of those who wish to enjoy the buffet dinner.

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