To allow for membership fees to be paid in line with all other government bodies and accounting practices, from 2019, ICA membership year will be from January 1 to December 31. In 2018, there will be a transition period, May 31 to December 31, when the annual membership fee will be €25 (seven months for the price of six). After that, the annual membership will return to the full amount of €50. Four potential new members turned up to Castletroy ICA’s first guild meeting of 2018 — which doesn’t guarantee that t h e y ’ l l a l l j o i n , sa ys E s s ie McGrath, honorary secretary of the guild.
“I t ’ s ne w y e a r , ne w o u t - look,” says Essie. “They may not all come back and join. One lady emailed me saying she’d like to join. She came to our Nollaig Na mBan breakfast and to our meeting two weeks ago. When people are interested, you don’t want to crowd them either.” Essie joined Castletroy ICA in September 2010, six months a f t e r i t w a s s e t u p . G u i ld fo u n d e r , th e l at e M a ur e e n Sheehan, was a Women’s Institute member in the UK for many years and had seen the value for women of an organisation like ICA. In her honour, Castletroy ICA has the ‘Maureen Sheehan Perpetual Trophy for Craft’. Essie’s decision to sign up wa s p r om p t e d by se e i ng a n o t ic e in M ilf o r d Pa r i s h ’ s newsletter.
“I’d taken early retirement from work,” she says. “I worked in Shannon Development. I was thinking I’d better get the skids on and jo in some thin g. I’ d always considered ICA to be for people from the country, but I love it. I love the demonstrations and the trips.
“I ’ ve me t l o ve l y fr ie nd s t h ro u g h i t , p e o p l e l i v i n g not far away from me but I’d never have met them only for ICA.”
T he g uild h as o rg a n i sed trips abroad — to Lisbon and Prague — and last year six members went to An Grianán af ter Ch r is tmas , wh i ch in - cluded a tour of the Cooley Peninsula. Many members have got engaged with craft under the mentorship of craft officer Soo Ling Howard and they’re looking forward to wo r k s h o p s c o ve r i n g ba ti k painting, origami and newspaper basket weaving.
“T wo we e k s a g o , we di d glass painting,” says Essie. “We h a d a C h r i s t m a s centrepiece workshop and we made a little pin cushion. What Soo Ling shows us is alwa y s ve r y at tr ac t i ve . Sh e makes it easy — she brings the kit and we put it together.” Since October, Castletroy ICA has done a fundraising raffle and walk and donated proceeds to Milford Hospice. The guild meets at 8pm on the third Monday of the month in Monaleen GAA Club — new members welcome.
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Castletroy ICA guild members Mary Morrissy-Murphy and Essie McGrath presenting a cheque to Milford Hospice, the proceeds from a walk in support of the charity.