For Sheila Lucey, former PRO of Goleen ICA, an email sent by a colleague who’d left Ireland sums up the essence of being an ICA guild member.
Sandra Hyslop wrote: ‘We have moved back to Canada and sold our house in Goleen after 17 happy years living there. It has been a great privilege to have lived in my mother’s country – and the song we sang at each meeting ‘It is a rich and rare land’ is so true. It has been a wonderful experience for me to have been part of the ICA and to have known so many lovely women.’
“Every poster we put up for any event – and we have a speaker every month – we always say new members are welcome.
“We want to bring every woman in and let them show off their talent. And whether someone is native to here or born elsewhere, we consider them local,” says Sheila.
Talent within the guild spans a wide range. This year, Mairéad Ní Mhuirí, originally from Ring, Waterford, came second in the national reporting competition titled ‘ICA Women Doing it for Themselves’, which she wrote as gaeilge.
Mary Sheehan won the Cork Federation produce cup for her rhubarb. “Whatever way she’s treating the rhubarb, she has top notch quality,” says Sheila.
Altogether, the guild has 22 members, among them Betty Barry from Toormore, a member for over 50 years, who received a certificate for long membership from Cork Federation this year. Goleen ICA, on the Mizen Peninsula, is one of the most far-flung guilds in Cork County but distance doesn’t curtail activity. “You can’t go any more South West so we have to travel out. Travel is no inhibition to us. We’re complimented for attendance at federation and West Cork meetings.”
Among speakers who addressed guild meetings recently are Terry Kearney, Skibbereen Heritage Centre, who talked on the history of Lough Hyne and about the Famine in West Cork, while current guild PRO Mary O’Meara demonstrated the art of felting. When Goleen was nominated for a Pride of Place Award this year, former guild president Anne Sheehan gave a talk on ICA, something she did again in September for Culture Night.
With the majority of members “very much into baking”, the guild’s twice-yearly cake sale is hugely popular. It boosts the guild’s kitty
Goleen ICA meets at 8.30pm on the second Wednesday of the month in the parish hall.
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