Cork Federation should have celebrated their 80th birthday earlier this year but with all the commemorative events around 1916, they decided to put it on hold until the first Sunday in December when they hosted a dinner in Innishannon House Hotel.
About 100 women from guilds in the five regions of Cork Federation sat down to the meal and they were delighted to welcome National ICA president Marie O’Toole and regional president of the South and East Dee Devereux.
The federation was set up in Bandon but some Cork guilds are older than the federation — Innishannon Guild, for example, was set up 84 years ago.
There was plenty of reminiscence, says Cork Federation president Deirdre Hickey, who heard women talk about how long ago notes would be passed to men going to the creamery to advise fellow members about guild meetings. “Now we have text messages and everybody knows straightaway. Back then you’d have had to wait two or three days to get the return of a note.”
But some things haven’t changed. “The ICA ethos is the same. Women of today still have a need for a meeting place.
“They still want to do craft. We’re the biggest ladies’ organisation in Cork,” says Deirdre, adding that while the €50 membership fee might sound like a lot, women gain so much.
A member of Berrings Guild, Deirdre is in her second year as president of Cork ICA and says she’s really enjoying it, particularly her trips to guilds around the county.
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