Celebrating ICA crafts and camaraderie over 41 years
SOME 41 years ago, the Tallaght guild of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association started – a day celebrated last weekend by its members.
Founded in 1910, the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA) has a vibrant history and is Ireland’s largest women’s association, with around 8,000 members across 440 guilds nationwide.
A welcoming and fun organisation, the ICA, which started a Tallaght guild in 1981, offers support, friendship, personal development, education and life-long learning to members of all ages.
Balrothery resident Carmel Smith is aware of the benefits of the ICA after joining the Tallaght branch in the eighties.
“I had a young family of six at the time,” Carmel told The Echo.
“The ICA was an outlet for me. I could meet other women, exchange views.
“It got me out of the house once or twice a week, it was something for me.
“My mother was also involved in the ICA and I loved crafts. When I became a widow, [the ICA] was also a huge support, they kept me going.”
Crafts are an integral part of the diverse tapestry of events and activities run by the ICA, with a focus on members learning new skills and hobbies.
“I always say, when you have a craft, you’ll never be short of money, never short of a gift [for someone], never short of something to do,” Carmel, who is now President of the Tallaght ICA guild, said.
In 1981, the Tallaght guild started in Tallaght village before moving to Seskin View and then into its current home in St Aengus Community Centre in Castletymon.
The current membership is around 50, with activities including arts, crafts, dancing, singing, walking, day trips, activity weekends, golf, cards and fundraising events for local causes, including Tallaght University Hospital.
Tallaght members also take part in various competitions through the year.
According to Carmel, members set the agenda, with all activities, talks and events tailored by those involved in the Tallaght guild.
On Friday, June 30, members gathered in St Aengus Community Centre to celebrate the local guild’s 41st anniversary, as they were unable to mark their 40th due to Covid-19 guidelines.
“It was lovely to be able to get together,” Carmel said. “We had a great night of fish and chips, cake and karaoke.”
Taking a break for the summer months, the guild will re-open on Thursday, September 8 at 8pm, with new members of all ages invited to drop by.
For further information on the Tallaght guild contact the community centre or the Castletymon Library.
Information is also provided at ICA.