Celebrating both Seachtain na Gaeilge and International Women's Day we had a really lovely afternoon with music, songs, dances, really delicious food, chat and fun. We were blessed with guests from Spain, Germany and Zimbabwe who so graciuosly agreed to talk to us about their countries and their experience of living in Ireland. Our guest from Lithuania helped to judge our seana waltz competition and the songs from the Ladies from Zimbabwe helped make a wonderful afternoon even more special.
We were treated to a performance of a one-woman play ‘Beezie’. Written by Shiela and David Flitton and performed by actress Shiela Flitton, it told the amazing true story of Beezie Gallagher, born in the 1870s, who was the sole resident on an island off Sligo for over 60 years. Beezie talked about her youth, her friendship with WB Yeats,a rejected marriage proposal, her brief later marriage, her rescue during the great freeze of 1947 and her escape from a County Home. Some photos of "Beezie" below. Watch out for Beezie's old boots! Repair and re-use was a way of life then.
Our monthly Competition was for a Saint Patrick's Day Badge or Brooch. You can see some of the lovely creations below.
Huge thanks to Ann from Ann's Beeswax Products* who demonstrated the making of soap and facecream at our February meeting. Ann also brought a great range of her own produce for members to see, smell and sample. Congratulations to all the members who entered a wonderful array of decorated candleholders for ♥ ♥ ♥ Valentine's Day ♥ ♥ ♥. Photos below.*Ann can be contacted at 086 3798303.
The February Winners are:
Just a quick shot showing a few the many ICA Wicklow Town Guild members who attended over the three night festival. These lovely ladies (below) were spotted on Friday 18th. Also pictured are ICA South East Regional President Margot Brennan and ICA WIcklow Federation President Hilda Roche. Congratulations to all the talented companies who trod the Boards, directed, organised hair, make-up and props and of course the many ICA Wicklow Federation members who did administration, manned the door, made the tea and helped in a myriad of ways to mount another wonderful ICA Drama Festival.
Many thanks to Verna McGeachin for telling us about her experience of helping migrants and assylum seekers. Not only is Verna part of a group collecting clothing and items as needed by those arriving at Lesbos, but she also recycles fabric from unusable clothing to make a range of bags and purses which are sold to raise money to buy supplies for the appeal. Thanks to all the many members who responded to the appeal for ladies undies!
A lovely night at The Bridge Tavern ended with an impromptu sing along of popular Christmas songs!
What a night! Attended by over half the Guild and supported by others who could not come but lent items for the display, this was one fun night. ICA never looked so well...stoned, sloshed and a few other colourful adjectives come to mind as members of Guilds across the county became unrecognisable under extensive wigs and costuming, taking up the dressing in sixties style challenge! To be fair there were also those expressing the more elegant attire of the sixties, recalling designer Mary Quant and style icon Jackie Kennedy. Our Guild's display of authentic sixties items evoked a few memories and sounds of "oh remember Buntus Cainte!" and "Look at the tupperware!" were heard. There was a wealth of imaginative interpretation of the Sixties brief from across the ten Guilds who entered. We were delighted when Betty took first place for her beautiful flower-power pill box crochet hat, and when Liz and Margaret (O'T) were awarded a perfect score of 100% for their Volkswagon cake! Despite a momentary CD gremlin, who crept in unannounced, our Hucklebuck had everyone on their feet dancing! Thanks to the team work and combined talents of all at ICA Wicklow Town, we were truly delighted that our combined score led us to take home Second Prize.
Grateful thanks to Denise Rice who led us through a most enjoyable craft session of Découpage, a really simple and effective way to decorate almost any item. Starting out with a plain decoration, everyone applied découpage under Denise's expert eye and each of us went home with our own piece.
Sincere thanks to Sinéad Finlay for a wonderful illustrated talk on her visit to Malawi as a volunteer observer. Sinéad told us about being a "mzungu" (White Person or Wanderer) and her experience of a community which always meets in the shade of a tree and where women run the local bank.
A great weekend at An Grianán saw some of our ladies photographed with handcrafts teacher Josephine Helly, who was soon to be elected ICA National President. Josephine, who is a highly accomplished crafts instructor and who has been organising handcrafts week at An Grianán for almost two decades, was teaching Advanced Mixed Crafts at the weekend. Some of our clever members won Second Place in a pretty challenging (and great fun) Table Quiz. You can see them below with ICA Wicklow Federation President Hilda Roche. Wonder woman Liz Dowling was not going to let a little matter of a broken arm stop her enjoying the weekend, and have a look at the beautiful work produced by the members who undertook the oil painting course.
There was a definite buzz at our first meeting back after the summer when Wicklow beekeeper and honey farmer Dermot Fanning came to share some of his expertise and his delicious honey. Sincere thanks to Dermot for so generously sharing his wealth of knowledge and showing us some of the actual frames from his beehives.
We had a beautiful day for a fabulous outing. Starting at the Ros Tapestry Exhibition in New Rooss we had a chance to admire the stunning pieces, which included work by our own Sylvia! After a lovely tea break it was onboard to imagine a life of poverty driving desperate people to board the Dunbrody Famine Ship. Folowing lunch a wonderful guided tour of some of the trees in the JFK Arboretum, finishing up with dinner in the Ferrycarrig Hotel. We were spoiled!
What lovely scrundidlyumptious cakes for our June Competition. Does that "Pig Wand" really work? Thanks to our delightful tea ladies Fionnuala and Kay for serving up the delicious treats. A lovely end to the year's meetings.
The June Winners are:
The annual Wicklow Federation Dinner was attended by both our past president Mary Finlay and our current president Betty Teahan. Here they are with Carmel, Deirdre and Wanda from Delgany.
Many thanks to Pat Kealy Craft Butcher from Supervalu Wicklow Town who generously took time to talk and give us his best tips. Thanks also to Pat for judging our Dress a Wooden Spoon competition. Some of the happy spoons are below.
The May Winners are:
Federation Arts and Crafts Night 2018 took place at the Woodenbridge Hotel. The Guild was represented in the contests for Public Speaking, Decorate a Bottle, 3-D Découpage, Comórtas Gaeilge and Flower Arranging. Uachtarán na hÉireann was particularly well represented in the tea cosy contest(see below). There were a large number of entries from across the county. It was also an evening of farewells and welcomes. We said good bye to retiring Federation President Madge Kenny and her committee and welcomed incoming Federation President Hilda Roche. Susanna was the winner of the Comórtas Gaeilge
Congratulations to Mary Finlay and Christina Murley Joint winners of ICA WIcklow Town Guild Member of the Year 2018. Christina and Mary were the overall winners of our monthly competitions. A big thank you to everyone who entered the monthly challenges during the year. Mary and Christina each win their Guild Membership for the year ahead.
Many thanks to Statia Ivers for taking time to visit our Guild and show us some of her work, and to demonstrate macramé, or the art of knotting string in patterns to make useful and decorative articles. See below for pictures.
Congratulations to Mary Finlay and Susanna Braswell. Mary Finlay has won first place in the National Black and White Photography Competition. The Black and White Topic was "A Person at Work". Mary's beautiful image captures a lacemaker at work in Bruges, Belgium. Mary took the photo during a trip with Wicklow Historical Society. Susanna Braswell has won first place in the National Colour Photography Competition. The Colour Topic was "Fun in the Sun". Susanna's picture shows three young ladies from Northern Ireland who she met during a sunny afternoon at the Bridges of Ross in County Clare. Susanna also placed third in the Black and White and received two Highly Commended in Colour. The Inter-Federation Trophy for Art (Photography) comes to Wicklow. You can see Mary and Susanna's photos below.
Many thanks to all who entered the Easter Bonnet challenge. Once again proving the variety of ideas that can be created on a simple theme. The colour yellow was everywhere, but there were no two the same. From big, bonny bunnies to fabulous florals and sophisticated fascinators. Only days after the snow, spring has well and truly sprung at ICA Wicklow Town.
The March Winners are:
Many thanks to artists, expert quilters, teachers and quilt shop owners Marie and Trina O'Mahoney from Apple Tree Crafts Newtownmountkennedy. Apple Tree Crafts is a working quilt shop and studio and the O'Mahoney family also run quilting classes at the studio. Marie and Trina brought some of their beautiful quilts to show us. Marie and Trina talked about the origins of the Log Cabin design and how quilts can provide a wonderful repository for scraps of fabric as well as memories. Thank you also to Marie for judging our needlework competition.
The February Winners are:
For a bright and bracing start to the New Year we were treated to a wonderful talk on the history of Wicklow RNLI by Ciarán Doyle. Ciarán is a longserving RNLI volunteer and author of "All Clear, Let 'er Go", a history of Wicklow RNLI. Ciarán had a wealth of historic and more recent photographs to illustrate his talk. All proceeds from Ciarán's meticulously researched book go to the RNLI. Many thanks to Ciarán also for the highly informative Respect the Water campaign souvineers which he kindly brought.
Thanks to everyone for a wonderful and varied selection of top tips.
The Competition Winners for Your Best Tip were:
ICA Wicklow Town Guild spent a lovely evening at The Jailer's Rest, Wicklow Gaol. Kris kindle Gifts were exchanged and the delicious food and delightful company were enjoyed by all. Many thanks to Mary Finlay for capturing some lovely images of the evening.
Massive Congratulations to our President Betty on her 80th Birthday. Betty celebrated by completing a sponsored horse ride through Wicklow Town. Betty and her horse Rosie did two laps of Main Street and looked very happy together. Betty's chosen charities the Irish Pilgrimage Trust and Suicide or Survive will benefit from Betty's endeavour. Can't wait to see what Betty does for her 90th!
Members displayed hidden talents for visual communication, mime and guesswork at our Pictionary Board Game Night. Team spirit and a good sense of fun were very evident. Hardest Word of the Night Award was unquestionably taken by Liz Dowling who drew (and then had to draw) Israel! Congratulations to all.
Well done to all who rose to the November challenge - Compose an Original Limerick
By popular vote, the November Winners (Joint Firsts and Joint Seconds) are:
Sincere thanks to Greystones-based herbalist and naturopath, Isobel Jordan Keeling, who gave us a packed talk on herbs for health and demonstrated a delicious fresh pesto and a sweet smelling facecream.
A beautiful display of Autumn fruit and foliage, black and orange , candles, and one very scary cake!! Thank you to Isobel Jordan Keeling for judging!
Many thanks to Wicklow Town First Responders who so generously gave their time and expertise to us. Valuable lessons were learned such as "Place your Eircode on your fridge or in another prominent place", and "Dial 112 for prompt emergency service". We learned how the defibrillator is programmed to assess heart activity and determine whether a shock is necessary, and how the machine will talk the user through the process. We were also witnesses to the valuable service provided by First Responders when Kevin, a member of the team, had to leave to attend an emergency.
What a beautiful array of fancy hats. A great response to the challenge and such a variety of themes. Hats for gardening, mad cows, stylish occasions and general sunning and looking good! Unfortunately the evening was so busy that no photographs were taken, which is a real shame, but for those who saw them they will linger long in the memory! Many thanks to Myrtle from First Responders for judging.
The May Winners are:
A great night was had at the Woodenbridge Hotel. Federation President Madge Kenny welcomed attendees from Guilds across the county. The number of entries was up significantly on last year and the standard of the entries was very high. A wonderfully entertaining competition in Public Speaking (topic drawn at random directly before speaking) saw speeches on, among others: “When I get up in the morning”, “Turning a Negative into a Positive”, “Miracle Drugs”, “Be Thankful” and “Emotional Boost”. Christina represented our Guild superbly at flower arranging. This competition was done live at the hotel. The brief was a modern flower arrangement using only 5 flowers and any foliage. Christina's beautiful piece saw her awarded the Tinahely Show Cup, the first time the cup has come to Wicklow Town. Mary and Susanna entered the lions den of Public Speaking and Susanna was awarded the Annie Holt Trophy for Public Speaking, retaining the trophy for Wicklow Town as Mary won it last year. The Guild was also represented in the Crochet, Irish Soda Bread, Comortas Gaeilge and Handmade Jewellery competitions. The jewellery contest was for two pieces of handmade jewellery. Susanna was awarded the Sadie Ryan Trophy for her quilled peacock pendant and earrings. This is the Guild's second year winning the Sadie Ryan Trophy, which was awarded last year for creative writing. In addition to those who participated in the contests, a big thank you to members of our own and of other Guilds who came to watch and support the contestants.
A huge thank you to Master Baker Jennifer Doyle who came all the way from Clonmel to give us a wonderful demonstration on icing an Easter cake. Along the way Jennifer shared her favourite recipe for chocolate biscuit cake and gave tips on best practice and hygiene. After Jennifer had finished the beautiful cake she gave it to the Guild and it was decided to give it to Guild member Mary DeCourcy to raffle in aid of the Wicklow Branch of Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland.
Congratulations to Maura Cregg, Guild Member of the Year 2017. Maura was the overall winner of our monthly competitions. A big thank you to everyone who entered the monthly challenges during the year. Maura receives free ICA membership for the year ahead. We look forward to more monthly competitions for the 2017/18 year.
Welcome to Betty Teahan, who has been elected Guild President. Betty is a long time ICA member, past president of Ashford Guild and founding member of Wicklow Town Guild. Betty takes over the Guild Presidency from Mary Finlay who retires by rotation after three years service. Many thanks Betty. Also a big thank you to Mary for her hard work, encouragement and enthusiasm, which have all been hallmarks of her Presidency from the very first meeting at which our Guild was formed.
Many thanks to artist Hilary Fitzgerald, from Kilmantin Arts, who gave us a live demonstration of encaustic art, the art of painting with wax. Hilary demonstrated different methods, and tools. She showed us that ordinary wax crayons can be used, as well as special wax blocks. Hilary recommended buffing a finished piece with a lint free cloth, and repeating this about a week later, for a perfect finish. She also told us about some of her own mixed media encaustic art pieces involving incorporating other elements, such as coins, jewellery, dried leaves and even photographs.
Thank you to Hilary Fitzgerald from Kilmantin Arts for taking the time to judge our March competition, a colour photo on the theme of Spring.
The March Winners are:
Wicklow Town Guild, put forward two teams for the final Lions Club Quiz night. As always, the night proved to be lots of fun and our team members learned a few surprising facts along the way! Guild President Mary Finlay was delighted to accept a cheque for proceeds from our Quiz Night in February. This generous donation will be split between two local charities: Wicklow Town First responders and Wicklow Town RNLI.
Wicklow Guild are sending a Table Quiz team to the National Final. Twenty seven teams wracked their brains and pitted their wits at the Federation Table Quiz in Glenealy on Monday 27th of February. Wicklow Town Guild fielded two teams. Team one, Betty Teahan, Christinal Murley and Mary Finlay, took the title "The Gaol Birds" (Christina might have had a hand in that) and team two, Margaret Jones, Catherine Wynne and Susanna Braswell, became "The Three Musketeers". It proved that All for One and One for All was a good motto as, to their surprise and delight, "The Three Musketeers" proved top scorers on the night. Who would have guessed that knowledge of such diverse topics as goat breeding, the location of the Rio Grande and the name of Hiawatha’s bride would come in so handy! So with valiant hearts and derring do the three will set off to represent Wicklow Federation at the National Final at An Grianán on Saturday 8th April.
Susanna Braswell took third place in the National Creative Writing Competition. The final took place at An Grianán on Saturday 25th February where the six shortlisted writers read their stories. There was double delight for Wicklow Federation as Mary Manley from Donard Guild took second place.
Many thanks to Wendy Nairn who gave us an inspirational introduction to Organic Gardening on a very special day for her family. Wendy and her husband Richard had the joy of their first grandchild's birth a few hours before the talk. Thank you also to Wendy for judging the February Competition. The challenge was ‘Tell a Story in Six Words’. This challenge was originally issued to the American writer and journalist Ernest Hemingway, who responded with "For sale: baby shoes, never worn".
The February Winners are:
Many thanks to Ashleigh Tobin IS Hom, Lic ISH, RGN, from Natural Health Solutions. Ashleigh gave us a great start to the New Year with a talk on Women's Health and Well Being. Taking just 10 minutes a day to do something you love, something that makes your heart sing, can be the start of a happier, healthier life. Thank you also to Ashleigh for judging the January Competition. The challenge was ‘Do something with a glove(s) or scarf’, see photos below. Thanks also to those who brought socks, hats, scarves or gloves for migrants and refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos, which is currently in the grip of a severe winter. Please keep these coming as Margaret Jones sends a parcel each time she has collected 80kg. Men’s winter accessories and small handwarmers are particularly needed at present.
The January Winners are:
Due to building work the venue for the January, February and March meetings will be The Boathouse, Seafront, Wicklow Town(beside the Leitrim Lounge). If you need any assistance with directions or transport please contact a committee member.
Many thanks to all helped to who made our Christmas Dinner 2016 a lovely night. Thanks ladies for the great wit and conversation. Thank you to Christina for organising the Kriskindle gifts. To Mary DeCourcy for menu and venue research and Mary our President for booking the venue and to Anna for getting us the ICA magazine in time.
ICA Wicklow Town had fun coming together to compete for the title of Wicklow Federation ICA Guild of the Year 2016 at the Woodenbridge Hotel. Many thanks to all of those whose generosity, hard work and cooperation made this possible and to those members who supported the team by lending items or coming to watch. The competition had five sections (Writing, Table for Two, Cookery, Craft, Entertainment) and Wicklow Town had an entry in all five. The competition really showed the strength of team work and the variety of creative ideas and different talents that a group can produce. After a fun evening the title, based on aggregated marks from all five sections of the competition, was awarded to Delgany Guild. Well done Delgany! However ICA Wicklow Town did not return entirely empty-handed as Mary Finlay and Catherine Higgins took home raffle prizes! Comhghairdeas don fhoireann go léir.
Despite the threat of snow ICA Wicklow Town headed for Dublin. We enjoyed a lovely lunch in the Dáil restaurant and spotted a few well known faces around the corridors of power! Our local TD Andrew Doyle, through whose office the lunch and tour were arranged, met us and told us about life as a public representative in Leinster House and about some of the repair and refurbishment currently taking place in the historic building. We sat in the Public Gallery for some of Minister's Question Time and were brought on a tour of the building by Dáil Usher Shane O'Neill. There is an original copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic in the hall of Leinster House. Shane told us that in the past schoolchildren often had no idea what the Proclamation was, but since the 1916 commemorations they never fail to recognise it. At the end of the tour we were given a gift of copies of the Proclamation. Tar éis sin d'fhágamar slán le príomhchathair na hÉireann.
The Winners are:
Many thanks to all who came along to the Shoebox for Team Hope night. Your shoeboxes now are at a local collection point waiting for Team Hope and Rudolf to arrive. For anyone who didn't make it to the night but would like to do a shoebox the deadline is Monday Night's Meeting 14th Nov. Any shoeboxes brought in on the night will be delivered to the Team Hope Collection point the following morning.
Many thanks to all who entered October's jam making competition. What a variety of flavours packed into those jars! They included Gooseberry and elderflower, bramble jelly, blueberry, blackberry, pear, apple and plum! One of the winning entries packed a punch with just a little Creme De Cassis. Delicious! Many of the entries were also beautifully presented. Top marks to everyone for effort. Our lovely judge was very impressed.
The Winners are:
Huge thanks to Betty Teahan who took time to show us some of her fabulous range of handmade cards and who demonstrated the art of card making at the October meeting. We look forward to putting some of her suggestions to work at the Card-Making Session in November.
Bowlers, who include several members of ICA Wicklow Town, are making good use of the new bowls equipment which was part funded by money from the ‘Go For Life’ grant received by ICA Wicklow Town.
Many thanks to Sr. Julie OP and Sr. Jeanette OP who brought ICA members on a wonderful Guided Walk at An Tairseach. We started with a tour of the gardens, animals and vegetables at the Ecology Centre and then travelled up to the scenic carpark on Greenhill Road from where we continued the walk and tour of the 70 acre organic farm. We saw native Irish hedgerows, wild and cultivated plants side by side and diversity encouraged and celebrated. Despite an unpromising forecast we had perfect walking weather and only a very light shower during the picnic lunch at the Ecology Centre. A browse in the organic farm shop among lots of organic fruit and veg, natural soaps and tempting local jams and honeys made a lovely finish to the afternoon. For any members who were unable to make the day and would like to go another time: Guided Farm walks take place from the Farm Shop at 11am on the first Saturday of each month March to Sept. There are two more walks this year - Saturday 6 August and Saturday 3 September 2016.
Many thanks to John Finlay who once again gave his time and wealth of expertise so generously. We were delighted to have members of ICA Ashford Guild join us, as well as some lovely ICA husbands and ICA pets as we journeyed through the upper half of Wicklow Town with our knowledgeable guide.
Many thanks to all who entered beautiful wildflower arrangements. What a variety of creative approaches!
The Winners are:
What a night - not only did the room look like a page out of a lifestyle magazine with all the fabulous flower arrangements but we were treated to a Laughter Yoga Session lead by Mary DeCourcy. Mary introduced us to breathing and gentle stretching exercises punctuated by gales or maybe hurricanes of laughter. Thank you Mary! Mary complimented the Guild members for their enthusiasm and participation.
Many thanks to all the members of ICA Wicklow Federation for a great evening in the Woodenbridge Hotel, Avoca.
Madge Kenny, Wicklow Federation President, welcomed Guild members from across the county to Woodenbridge. Federation Prizes were awarded.
Statia Ivers, Ballycoog Guild, was placed first for a perfect brown bread. Statia has been a Federation Champion for baking on many occasions and has previously been a brown bread baking National Finalist. Statia will go forward to represent Wicklow Federation at the next round of the Aldi-sponsored competition. Good Luck Statia!
Wicklow Town's Susanna Braswell was awarded the Sadie Ryan trophy for short story writing and read her comic story "It Happened That Way".
Guild members were then treated to a packed evening of entertainment. Ballycoog Guild brought the house down with two hilarious short plays. Ashford Guild's prizewinning choir performed some happy jazz music. Wicklow Town Guild's prizewinning set dancers performed two sets and the Wicklow Town Line Dancers donned their checked shirts and brought a touch of Texas to Avoca.
After refreshments the evening took a surprise turn when it was discovered that a choir from Iceland were staying in the hotel and were performing in the lounge. In an impromptu cultural exchange Wicklow Town's Line Dancers and Set Dancers again took to the floor to entertain the Icelandic visitors.
The ICA AGM was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Athlone. Our own Anna Sinnott manned the ICA stand and Susanna Braswell represented the Wicklow Guild as Voting Delegate.
The National Contests Committee made a special presentation to Anna Sinnott. Breda Banville National Contests Secretary thanked her for unfailing kindness and helpfulness with all their queries big and small. Anna's valuable work in ICA Central Office was also mentioned by Mary MacNamara, ICA National Treasurer and Marie O'Toole, ICA National President
Susanna Braswell won second place in the Inter Federation Cup for Art - Photography (Colour). The photography brief was Family Pet.
Many thanks to Anne O'Connor, an expert on women in Irish history, who travelled to Wicklow to give ICA Wicklow Town Guild a fascinating talk on Forgotten Women in Irish History. Concentrating on the area of education, Anne outlined how the work of four women, Anne Jellicoe, Margaret Byers, Isabella Tod and Alice Oldham changed the educational opportunities of women in nineteenth and twentieth century Ireland.
Wicklow Federation Arts and Crafts 2016 was held at the Woodenbridge Hotel on 11 April 2016. Despite a foggy and rainy night the Wicklow Guild members in attendance had an enjoyable evening and were delighted to win two trophies.
Guild President Mary Finlay was awarded the Annie Holt Trophy for Public Speaking. In a close contest, adjudicated by a judge from Wexford Toastmasters, Mary spoke on a topic drawn at random directly before speaking. She drew the theme "Sad". As there was a tie for 1st place the two winners were required to speak for a further 2 minutes about ICA. Mary was awarded top place, winning the trophy.
Susanna Braswell won the Lilian Dempsey Cup for photography. The photography brief was The Garden of Ireland.