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The I.C.A. organisation was founded in 1910 to give country women a chance to attend meetings, to express an opinion, to socialise, and to take part in handcrafts, debating and cookery.

I founded the Athenry Guild in 1958 Mrs Dr. Brennan was President. I was Hon. Sec.; and Mrs Taylor, Town House, was Treasurer. Mrs Frawley, Co. Organiser Galway, officially started the Guild.

We had a good membership including Mrs Aggie Qualter, Abbey Row, a most brilliant speaker and debater; Mrs Ciss Curran, Boyhill; Mrs Kennedy, Boyhill; Mrs Coffey, Old Church St.; Mrs Mary Monaghan, Blaine; Maureen Healy and Mary Donlon (Morrissey).

We had a social meeting fortnightly — a chat, a cup of tea and any topic we wanted to discuss. The work-meeting consisted of handcrafting, sewing, embroidery, knitting and many other productions.

Eventually I was appointed Federation President, a three year term. My duties entailed presiding at county meetings, meeting guild members and sorting out any problems.

Mrs A. Qualter, Mrs Johnson-Green from Oughterard and I took part in a County Debate. We came first in the opening round. “Manners Maketh Man” was the subject. We next went on to Rathmines Town Hall to meet our opponents who were members of The Toast Masters Club, Dublin. They won. The subject was “Should Ireland Join N.A.T.O.?

Some guild members and ourselves the Officers took a trip to “The Grianán, Termonfecin, in County Louth – the headquarters of the I.C.A. We had an enjoyable time.

The famous singer Maire Ni Scolaidhe visited us there and sang for us, which we appreciated. Life went on, I am proud and happy to see the Guild still flourishing. I congratulate the present Officers and Members.

Rath Dé ar an Obair.

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Written by Angela Connolly

Published here 02 Nov 2022 and originally published 1996

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