Anniversaries celebrated at ICA meeting
There were scenes of great jubilation at the ICA Federation meeting that took place in the Riverbank House Hotel when two local guilds celebrated milestone anniversaries.
Presentations were made to Ballyfad and Taghmon guilds to mark them being respectively 50 and 55 years in existence.
The meeting was presided over by Federation President, Mary D'Arcy, who welcomed everyone to the event.
The significance of the ICA in enhancing the lives of women all over the country is well known and this is especially true of those living in rural communities.
The guilds in Wexford are among the most active in the country and that was underlined by the fact that two of them were celebrating such significant anniversaries.
The winter meeting of the federation is always a joyful occasion and one of the initiatives that always attracts a lot of interest and generates excitement is the Christmas table centre competition.
This year there were entries from 15 guilds and the members excelled in what they produced and created.
However, as with all competitions someone has to emerge victorious and this year the winners were composed of: 1st - Marie Porritt (Oulart); 2nd - Theresa Donnelly (Gorey); and 3rd - Betty Crean (Bree).
Throughout the meeting a number of guest speakers gave informative and entertaining talks on a wide variety of topics including the rural social scheme which provides support for qualifying farmers and those working within the fishing community.
Annette DePuy, Wexford County Council's PPN (Public Participation Network) support officer highlighted at the meeting the importance of groups joining the PPN.
She said that in doing so groups and individuals were putting themselves in a better position to receive information, have a voice at meetings and enabling their group to have a better chance to develop.
Upcycling was also touched on at the meeting with a spokesperson for the ICA commenting to this newspaper: 'There was a wonderful display of items made from material sample books - it was upcycling at its best.'
The organisation also does its bit to try and retain the Irish language and with that in mind and Irish phrase competition organised for the meeting proved very popular.
It was coordinated by the organisation's Timire, Deirdre Connery, and was won by Duncannon with 165 phrases.
Oylegate came second, with 100 phrases, and Gorey rounded off the top three with 70 phrases.
The members in attendance were informed that sports officer, Anne O'Connor, is very keen to set up Irish dancing sessions and members interested in joining up were encouraged to contact her.
Gretta O'Connor, produce promoter for the ICA, thanked everyone who supported a recent cookery demo that took place in Mary Kelly's kitchen and she also praised the members who demonstrated on the night including Suzanne Winters, Mary D'Arcy and of course, Mary Kelly herself.
Ms O'Connor described the event as 'a job well done'.
The organisation's An Grianán rep, Joan Furlong, reminded everyone to keep the weekend of September 13 to 15 free in their diaries next year as that will be the Wexford weekend at the centre.
Craft-related activities form a large part of the initiatives at An Grianán, however, for now the members are focussing their creative attention on their own upcoming Craft Day event which will take place locally on Saturday, April 14.
The attendees at the meeting were told to contact the organisation's arts and crafts promoter, Mary Somers, if they are interested in learning a specific craft.
Alice Whitty, who is the ICA representative for Wexford Women's Refuge encouraged members to continue to donate toiletries because they were required on a daily basis.
The Wexford meeting followed closely on the Winter conference which took place in Ballybofey and Mary Nolan presented a report on that event. She also gave final details on the ICA's forthcoming trip to 'Les Miserables' which is due to take place on Thursday, December 20.
The development officer, Dee Devereux, took great pleasure in informing the meeting that a number of new members had recently joined the organisation as a result of a recruitment drive at the Bannow & Rathangan Show.
The members were told that it was a positive reflection on the organisation that new people were joining.
Breda Banville is the ICA's PRO and she encouraged people to send in reports to the district notes of the People Newspapers group and highlighted the benefits of doing so.
She also thanked the newspaper for its ongoing support of the organisation throughout the year.
There was a poignant aspect to the meeting too as the ICA Remembrance Tree was on display.
The members had knitted or crocheted small rosettes and placed them on the tree in memory of deceased family and ICA members who passed away during the year.
The tree is now on display in Enniscorthy Library.