A Termonfeckin Guild member, who has belonged to three ICA guilds, was a joint winner in the recent national poetry competition.
Connie McEvoy has been “writing little verses” since she was a teenager and is inspired to write by everyday experiences.
“One day I decided to do some knitting to amuse myself,” she says. “I had the yarn and the needles and I knew what I was going to knit. I’ve suffered from innumeracy all my life — I can’t get to grips with numbers so I use a counter to count the rows. I couldn’t find it.”
Connie says she got increasingly exasperated about the elusive counter but then thought: “It’s not worth this — I’m getting the pension now, I don’t want to raise my hypertension.”
This experience spurred her to write ‘A Senior Citizen’, which took the national ICA poetry prize, alongside ‘Crafting’ by Linda Nolan of Clogh Guild.
In a similar way, Connie wrote a poem about pigeons jumping on her roof and waking her at dawn:
They’re at it again
those damn pigeons
up on my roof
at first I thought
it was Rudolf
testing the slates
with his hoof
it starts as each new day
hail, rain or snow
“Once I got the pigeons off my chest, out of my system, I went back to bed,” says Connie, who first got involved with Clonegal Guild in Carlow as a 14-year-old — her mother was an assistant secretary of the guild.
“My mother was nearly always pregnant or nursing a child,” says Connie. “I used to be brought along with her in case anything happened to her on the bicycle. At meetings, after the ladies got through their business, they were always at crafts and I loved that.”
As a member of Bunclody Macra Na Tuaithe in 1960, Connie was awarded a six-week scholarship to An Grianán to look at the use of electricity in poultry-rearing, gardening, house-keeping, and crafts. “While there, I made two pairs of lambskin gloves and two dresses,” she says,
She also met her husband — Mickey McEvoy — on the first night of the course. “The local Macra were rehearsing for a public speaking competition in the Kellogg Hall and we were to be their audience, even before we’d had a chance to see our dormitory. My husband was very prominent in Macra and IFA and was instrumental with others in setting up the Farm Relief Service in Co Louth.”
Following the course — having seen her talent and expertise in a wide range of crafts, which she’d learned from craft-minded relatives — ICA encouraged Connie to take her teacher’s exams so she could pass on the skills to others. At this stage she joined Stackallen Guild in Co Meath.
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