Members of Knocklofty ICA were at Raheen House Hotel, Clonmel recently to celebrate the 60th birthday of the guild.
Since the foundation of Knocklofty ICA on April 23, 1953, to the present date it has been a guild that its members then and during its 60 years have a lot to be proud of in terms of its success, activities/achievements and a great happy, social and educational quality of life – an exemplary guild where the hand of friendship awaits you.
The Chief National Organiser of ICA, Phyllis O’Connell attended, advised and set up that first meeting in a small cottage which was part of Knocklofty Estate.
The late Lady Jean Donoughmore of Knocklofty House was appointed as first president. She held that position on three occasions. Vice president was the late Mary O’Connor. The membership fee was £4 per year (now €50) and 41 members enrolled, a number that reached 50 by 1961.
Six decades later Knocklofty ICA is still going strong and a big céad mile fáilte is extended to the new members that were gained as a result of the recent national recruitment campaign. It was great to see them all at Raheen House and they now have many other upcoming events to look forward to in this, the year of The Gathering.
ICA was an outlet founded pre Women’s Lib when “A woman’s place was in the home and farm and child rearing.” Women were not as recognised socially and workwise as they are today. A lack of finance deprived many of formal education. Those monthly meetings and workshops meant so much to them and they got there by all modes of transport, except by car which was a rare commodity then. They walked, cycled and travelled on horseback and horse and trap/cart. There were no free transport or education grants either so ICA provided a second chance education with arts, crafts, sewing, crochet, knitting, macramé, embroidery and tapestry. Those skills still exist and apart from guild level classes are available in the Clonmel Museum from time to time and at An Gríanán, the ICA College at Termonfeckin, Co. Louth.
Sadly all those great founder members of the guild are gone to their eternal reward but their memories live on through the present members and their efforts to hold onto and keep alive all those skills. The ICA has also up-skilled to embrace the modern world of technology.
The guild has had members acting at federation and national level and has been a voice for local issues and was instrumental in securing a piped rural water scheme following an outbreak of paratyphoid in the area.
The organisation also secured rural electrification, a travelling library and organised social events. Members have travelled a lot and organise outings and charity fund-raising, especially for Breast Cancer Research, and some years ago the Cat Scan for Clonmel Hospital was high on their agenda.
Happy birthday Knocklofty ICA and many more of them.