Not too many ICA guilds have a letter from the Queen of England in their archives.
Inniscarra/Ballincollig ICA have one dated 1952.
Guild president Cathie O’Neill explains that Church of Ireland women founded the guild in 1935. “When the queen’s father died, the guild sent a letter of sympathy to her. They congratulated her too on her coronation. A letter came back from St James Palace, thanking us.”
One of Cork Federation’s busiest guilds, members meet every Tuesday night (unlike the more usual once a month).
The first meeting is a business one, the second features a speaker/demonstrator and the third is craft night.
“The fourth Tuesday might see us doing Tai Chi, learning to make chutney or planning community commitment.”
The guild is one of the oldest organisations in Ballincollig. “Inniscarra and Ballincollig were small rural villages back in 1935. Meetings were held in the old school hall. Members brought coal for the fire,” says Cathie.
The 36-member guild – the youngest member is just 17 – have thrown themselves with gusto into celebrating their 80th anniversary this year.
Celebrations kicked off with a New Year party in January, followed by a St Valentine’s night celebration of ICA friendships. “The theme was the roaring ’20s.”
March saw Inniscarra/Ballincollig ICA’s Magical Fairy Tale Masquerade win best float in Ballincollig’s St Patrick’s Day Parade. Three generations of ICA members’ families participated – the grandchildren were Tin Man, Dorothy and Straw Man, as well as fairies. “Shrek was played by a son of one of the members. My daughter, Debbie, did all the costumes for the children, including a big Rapunzel tower and a Jack-in-the-box,” says Cathie, who was a fairy godmother.
The guild was also to the forefront in June when the local Community Forum organised their first fundraising initiative for the development of a multi-purpose community centre in Ballincollig. “It was a wonderful event, the first time Ballicollig’s 36 clubs came together. Young and old were there cheering on competitors.”
The Kube fundraising event, based on the concept of hit ITV game-show Cube, saw contestants enter a glass cube and perform various skills tests. Peter O’Neill and Dylan Kirstier, two grandsons of ICA members, participated – Dylan actually won the event.
The guild visited An Grianán in May, Kilkenny in July and now eight members are off on a Mediterranean cruise, taking in Italian cities, on September 13. The celebrations conclude with a dinner dance on November 24 in Oriel House Hotel – the national ICA president is expected to attend.
Inniscarra/Ballincollig Guild resumed meetings on Tuesday, September 8, last, at 7.15pm in Ballincollig Family Resource Centre. New members welcome.
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