Bantry ICA PRO Ursula Kingston has fond memories of the massive annual carnival held in post-Second World War Cologne. 

It took place five days before Ash Wednesday.

“As tots, we always dressed up. I enjoyed it. I remember wearing a onesie and a hat with two horns and a bell. As a 12-year-old, I loved being the Hawaiian girl with a straw skirt and flowers in my hair. This would have been in the late 1950s.”

No surprise that Ursula was delighted to be among at least one dozen members of Bantry ICA who dressed up as women of the Easter Rising for the St Patrick’s Day parade organised by Bantry Business & Tourism Association. “There was an east wind blowing but it was sunny and a big crowd watched it,” says Ursula.

Bantry ICA guild secretary and former Bantry mayor Kathleen Tessyman dressed up as Margaret Skinnider; Kathleen Sheehan dressed as Margaret Pearse, Pádraig Pearse’s mother; and guild president Lorna Clark was the Countess Markievicz.

“We have English and German members in the guild. Lorna, who’s English, was the most enthusiastic [about this idea for the parade]. Twelve women dressed up as women of the Rising; I was a passerby from that time.

"A friend lent me the long skirt. The black jacket I wore before when I was Florence Nightingale in Women of the World, which we did for another St Patrick’s Day parade.”

The Bantry ICA ladies sourced the outfits mostly in charity shops. Nora Clifford, a former guild president and secretary sewed the aprons.

The 20-member guild will hold its AGM at 7.30pm on Thursday, April 14, in the Bantry Active Retirement Association premises.


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