Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA), the largest organisation for women in Ireland, has experienced a striking resurgence in interest over the past number of years.
This is according to National President, Liz Wall, who will be on hand in the ICA tent at the National Ploughing Championship to meet members from around Ireland.
Early this morning the ICA were gearing up for another hectic day, with butter making, flower demos and basket making taking place in the tent.
“It seemed that for a while people may have forgotten that ICA was still around, as it has been on the scene since 1910. But we have since noticed that people are eager to learn the skills that we teach. I suppose like the ICA itself people want to get ‘back to basics’,” said Wall.
The President also highlighted the crucial role events like the National Ploughing Championships, “It’s important that members from all parts of the country can come in, meet other members, and meet with me because there is a great sense of camaraderie in here”.
Another possible reason for the reignited awareness in the organisation was the popular RTE show ICA Bootcamp that saw a number of pampered urbanites tackle cooking, farming and craft challenges.
Brida McDonnell, ICA member and one of the stars of the hit show, is holding a butter making demo and appears to be unfazed by the celebrity attention.
“It was a lovely experience but I pay no heed to all the fuss. I have noticed that young people are more likely to know who and what the ICA are about,” said McDonnell.
It’s not all about skills for house, home and farm but also those needed for life. Recent years have brought unprecedented stress to the doors of many rural households and Wall is keen to highlight a number of mental health initiatives that the ICA is heavily involved in. “Along with other rural representative organisations we are part of the ‘See Change’ movement which is celebrated with a green ribbon. This offers support service in the form of a helpline and also provides information on support services located around the country”, detailed Wall.
‘Mind your Men’ is a fantastic programme whereby Pieta House will be training an ICA member in each county to spot the signs of someone suffering from depression and in need to help and will also provide them with the skills and knowledge to reach out and offer assistance and support. ICA members are also teaching crafts to young people in St.Patrick’s Mental Health Foundation and taking part in ‘Walk in my Shoes’ on the 10th of October, the event is part of a fundraising and awareness campaign led by the foundation.
The ICA will be bringing out a book in October called ‘Pearls of Wisdom; from our house to yours” a publication that will encompass tips on homecare and general lifestyle.