ICA news: Breda’s Cahill creative story takes top prize in Gael Linn competition

A Wexford woman, who spent teenage summers learning Irish in Ring where she was never off the céilí dance floor, is the national winner in a new ICA competition sponsored by Gael Linn.

ICA news: Breda’s Cahill creative story takes top prize in Gael Linn competition

Newly-elected Bree Guild president Breda Cahill came first for her scéal (story) on Comoradh (celebration).

“How could you write anything about celebration in 2016 and not bring up 1916? As a woman and an ICA member, and knowing women had a pivotal role in the Easter Rising, I wrote about that.

"By questioning the status quo around where women found themselves at that time, women were getting the mindset ready for rebellion.”

Breda, a returned emigrant from New York, where she spent 27 years until 2012, joined ICA two years ago.

Her mother, Anna Cahill, was a long-time member, and Breda wanted to feel grounded again in her community. “It very much worked for that. I love that women get together and — while being competitive — it’s not so much about the winning but about the effort and the journey towards it.”

Breda started her working life in New York as a nanny earning $80 a week and moved up the career ladder until eventually she was vice-president of an Irish company and of the Irish Business Organisation in New York.

So when she says she’s going to increase Bree Guild’s 29-strong membership, you know she’ll probably succeed.

She says her winning scéal “wasn’t perfect Irish” but says her passion shone through.

She recalls being told as Gaeilge on the beach at Ring that Elvis Presley had died (“I cried”) and says her sense of Irishness grew while living in New York.

“I went to Irish classes at the Irish American Historical Society on Fifth Avenue. There were people in the class who were in business in NY. A captain in the NY fire department attended.”

Bree Guild hosted the Wexford ICA special occasion competition earlier this month, catering to 200 people in their local community centre.

“It was my first shindig as new president. It absolutely went off without a hitch and that’s down to the combined effort of the whole membership of the guild.”

Right now, Bree ICA is on a two-day trip to An Grianán. Welcoming a group of ICA ladies from Kerry was also on their agenda this month.

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