One of Wexford’s newest guilds won the federation’s 2016 Special Occasion competition.
Castlebridge Guild set up just last year, and has 44 members, with almost half of them attending a monthly arts and craft night run by guild member Lois Davies, who qualified as a sculptor in the late 1980s.
The guild emerged as overall winners, scoring 433 points out of a possible 500, in a keenly-contested competition that saw 16 guilds enter.
With the theme, ‘Ireland 100 years on from 1916’, there were five sections: flower arrangement, poster, report, basket of handcrafted hen eggs, and decoration of an Easter celebration cake.
Castlebridge got two first prizes – for their poster and the cake decoration.
Member Josie Browne painted the poster illustration of a woman in 1916 uniform, with a little girl beside her in contemporary dress.
“It was to illustrate a talk by a fictitious professor, Orla Greene, who would speak about then  and now  to show how far we’ve progressed,” explained Lois.
Another member, Madge Nolan, did Castlebridge ICA’s cake decoration.
“It was covered in Easter lilies. It was a work of art. If you got it as a wedding present, you wouldn’t have wanted to touch it,” says Lois.
She accompanied her grandmother to Women’s Institute events, as a child growing up in England.
“From the age of 10, I’d go with her to various bits and pieces. If she was doing drama, I’d be the prompter. It was to my advantage, because the ladies in the WI took turns to host events in their houses, and they’d try to outdo each other with the teas.”
The Special Occasion competition attracted a large attendance at Bree Primary School, with entertainment provided by a variety of acts from the federation’s recent ‘ICA Has Got Talent’ competition, alongside other artists.
Second place went to The Maudlins Guild, with 415 points. They got first prize for their flowers (achieving full marks of 100).
Oylegate came third with 414, they got first prize for six decorated hen eggs.
Fourth place went to Camross guild with 406 points; they came fourth in the report section.
There was great jubilation when Castlebridge won, because they’re the second newest guild in Wexford Federation, formed in May, 2015.
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