A family fun day organised by the community featured a vintage rally as its main anchor event, and guild president Cecily Lyons says Ballinora ICA catered for the vintage drivers, giving them morning refreshments and again after the rally.
“We also ran our own shop, selling tea, coffee and cakes. Everybody got baking. We set up a morning and afternoon team. And the GAA asked us to help out with an under-14 féile, providing refreshments for a visiting team from Sligo, which we did.”
It’s not the only community input the 65-year-old guild has had this year. The ladies teamed up with the retired gentlemen of the parish for a ‘come dine with me’ event organised by the local national school and camogie club.
“Our theme was ‘going to the races’,” says Cecily.
Founded in 1951 by Mrs Una Scannell – a prominent ICA member who had served as Cork federation president and national vice-president – the guild is still going strong, with membership varying between 25 and 30. Currently, they have 27 on the books.
“We do craft, art, music, drama, creative writing and fitness activities ranging from Tai Chi to belly dancing. We’ve always had a great atmosphere of welcome and camaraderie. We love going on outings – our favourite is to a show or play following an early bird meal. In April we saw The Plough and The Stars in the Opera House.
"For our summer outing we travelled to Dublin and visited Collins’ Barracks and Glasnevin Cemetery. In both venues we had guided tours focused on 1916. These were interesting and entertaining without being frivolous.”
The guild contested the mid-Cork quiz, as well as the charades competition, and reached the final in each.
They represented Cork Federation at An Grianán in the Baumann Shield for music and also in the Eleanora Gibbon shield for singing as gaeilge. And, like every year, they applied for the Go for Life grant and are learning various European folk dances.
“It’s great fun without being too hard on the legs,” says Cecily, whose late mother, Mary Coghlan, founded Buttevant ICA. Cecily joined Ballinora Guild in 1987.
The guild feels fortunate to have two talented craft artists – Annette Crowley and Mary O’Connell.
“They’ve passed on skills including card making, decoupage, bead jewellery and glass painting. We try to have a craft night at least once per month. Our work nights have also included learning the tin whistle, taught by member Triona Fitzgerald.”
The guild recently enjoyed talks on neo-liberalism by Professor William Reville, UCC, and from author Charlie Conway on his rural upbringing in mid-Cork.
Ballinora ICA has a rotating timire this year, so a number of people get the chance to take up the role. The guild meets on the first Tuesday of the month in Ballinora Hall.