Cratloe Guild in Clare met on September 5, following their summer break; an ICA highlight of their summer was an outing to Galway, where they toured on an open-top bus, had lunch and went shopping. The guild’s October meeting featured a health/wellbeing talk from Siobhán O’driscoll of Carrigoran House. Guild president and Clare Federation craft promoter Caroline Quinn is hosting a craft day on November 17 in Doora Hall. Caroline won the October guild competition for the most “old sayings”. Cratloe ICA plans to start go-forlife activities this month. Guild meetings are on the first Wednesday of the month; new members welcome. Newly-elected ICA regional president for the South West Ena Howell loves a challenge. And she loves thinking up new ideas and seeing them through.
Ideas like having a Cork Federation representative at last year’s local heat of the Rose of Tralee — this idea was so successful, the federation is set to do it again this year. For Ena, ideas like this are all about keeping ICA at the forefront of people’s minds. Her latest project is a competition to find the Ideal Lady.
“Every guild in Cork Federation — and there are 50 to 60 of them — has the opportunity to select a guild member and put her forward. It could be the woman who opens the door of the hall every meeting night, who puts the heating on, or boils the kettle. Or it could be the president who gets the funding or the little quiet one who takes the money at the door or the one who’s a great storyteller,” says Ena, adding that with the Rose contest last year ICA gave something to the younger generation. “Now it’s time to give something to ourselves, to our generation. Members love coming out to see something, for a night out, so there will be a stage element — all the contestants will do a party piece and the week before the competition they’ll bring something for judging: a craft, some art or produce.”
As South West regional president, Ena’s remit covers all the Munster federations. “It’s a challenge and I love a challenge. I’m looking forward to my three years in the role, to spreading the word, meeting ladies in new federations, bringing new ideas and listening to theirs and bringing those back to Cork. That’s what it’s all about — sharing ideas,” Ena said.
“I love ICA. I’m in it over 36 years. I joined when my youngest child was a week old.
“I was living in an unfamiliar area of Cork, very rural at the time, and to be asked by Fionnuala Uí Chonaill in Grenagh Village to come along to a meeting, to get out at night, it was Heaven — I didn’t care where I was going,” says Ena, who over the years has been Cork ICA Federation vice-president, federation secretary, competition secretary, producer promoter, as well as an information officer for 20 years and national PRO, a role she held for three years. Ena’s still a member of Grenagh Guild, which meets at 8pm on the first Wednesday of the month in Rathduff Hall.
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Newly-elected ICA regional president for the South West Ena Howell, on right, with incoming Cork Federation treasurer Deirdre Hickey.