Breeda Hennessy, South Tipperary Federation PRO, has been an ICA member since she was 17 and that’s well over 50 years ago now.
“I joined in Ballymacarbery, a quiet village in Co Waterford. I worked in the local post office and I was encouraged to join by my boss, the late Mrs Kearney. I became guild treasurer – the minute you joined you became an officer.”
Breeda’s work as a civil servant took her to counties Kilkenny, Kerry and Clare and wherever she went she joined the local ICA guild. Now, she’s a member of Knocklofty Guild in the Clonmel area.
“I have a great grá for ICA. Knocklofty is an old guild founded by Lady Donoughmore over 60 years ago. It has 12 members and recently acquired a few new ones. Increasing membership is all about recruit, recruit, recruit,” says Breeda.
“I was at a Toastmaster’s meeting in Clonmel and I talked about ICA. Everybody in the room had to evaluate me. One new Toastmaster, living in the area since the ‘90s, wrote at the end of the evaluation: ‘I’d like to join ICA’.”
Breeda recently sang two songs – ‘Beidh Aonach Amárach’ and ‘An bhFaca Tu Mo Shéamaisín’ – at an Irish language variety concert to mark the 1916 centenary.
This was organised by South Tipperary Federation timire Josephine O’Callaghan. Approximately, one-third of the federation’s 21 guilds performed.
“They mainly did choir singing and set dancing too. There was a harpist and her daughter from Skibbereen and children from Rathkeevan NS and Powerstown NS performed too.”
Meanwhile, national president Marie O’Toole attended another event organised for ICA – the Manor Farm chicken cookery demonstration. The attendance packed the Cahir venue.
“These demos are open to anyone who wants to come. We had ICA guilds, practically all of them, as well as women’s clubs and a busload came from Tramore,” says Breeda.
And with the 2015-2016 ICA year coming to a close Knocklofty Guild members are looking forward to their summer outing.
“We’ll have morning coffee, visit the Cistercian monastery in Roscrea, go shopping in Roscrea, then on to Birr Castle and gardens.
"We’ll have Mass in Thurles. We never have an outing without Mass. And then we’ll head to the Anner Hotel for dinner.”
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