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Feakle ladies to introduce ICA to pole dancing

LADIES in Feakle are doing it for themselves as a new ICA guild has been formed, with modern and exciting plans already underway for demonstrations, classes, groups and even pole dancing lessons.
The ladies of the newly established ICA guild in Feakle are pushing the boundaries to modernise and expand the traditional image of the Irish Countrywoman’s Association in their community and among their fun plans for exercise classes is pole dancing.
President of the new guild, Breda Collins, is behind the endeavour and together with likeminded women in the community and members of the former Feakle ICA, the group aims to bring people closer, forging new friendships and improving life locally through its proposed community initiatives.
“Since we started this a few ladies have said they know no-one in the area, even though they might be living in the area for between three and five years and they are so excited about having a social group,” Breda said.
She explained there was a general contingent intent on setting up a ladies’ group and when the idea of doing it as part of the ICA was put forward, Breda said they were initially a bit nervous, as they didn’t want to be restricted.
“I did a bit of research and contacted the head office and the Clare Federation, who said they would be quite happy to have a new guild and they were really encouraging of new ideas and there were no restrictions. I even mentioned the pole dancing, as an exercise class, because I wanted to test the water and we were told it was ok, the wackier the better. The ICA has changed its constitution to modernise it. They want the organisation to live into the future and are happy for women to come up with new ideas,” Breda added.
An informal meeting took place on September 27 in Feakle, which offered up plenty of ideas and activities for over the winter months. From that, the first official meeting of the Feakle ICA was held on Tuesday, October 4 and was officially launched by two members of the Clare Federation.
The guild will now hold a business meeting once a month, with the next meeting taking place on Tuesday, November 1 in Feakle Community Hall and after these short meetings, they aim to have a demonstration, a talk or a presentation.
Outside of the business meetings there will be other events happening and already the ladies have set up a walking group, which started on Monday night. This group will meet each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the church in Feakle at 8pm and on Sundays at 6pm and is open to anyone.
“A lot of people have said they want to go walking for the winter but they don’t want to walk on their own in the dark, from a safety point of view, so it’s just good to have others around. It’s not a structured walking group. It’s basically just an opportunity to have a similar meeting point, people walk at their own pace and their own distance. There will be no-one leading the group so there’s no format to it. The only thing we recommend is that people wear high-visibility jackets,” Breda said.
A Monday night craft group has also started in the community hall for ladies only, with each person bringing along whatever craft and materials they wish to use, whether it is knitting, decoupage, art or card making.
Breda explained this group would be more of a skills-sharing opportunity and while there are currently no plans to teachers at these sessions, if there is a particular craft skill that the group would like to learn, it may be organised from time to time.
The Feakle ICA aims to develop a number of activities across different areas, including forming groups for walking, cycling, running or book clubs; holding demonstrations from flower arranging to defibrillator training or crafts from rug making to quilting, as well as classes such as photography, pilates, drama and pole dancing. They also hope to have guest speakers, who would discuss a range of topics from traditional cures to nutritional advice.
Furthermore, the group is interested in taking on community projects like forming a cafe or den for young people, clean-up operations or swap shops and hopes to form bonds with other community organisations, such as the local GAA and local councils. With such a mix of ages in the ICA grouping, members will be able to pick and choose what activities they would like to do.
“We don’t want to do away with the traditional ICA activities because we do want to keep it traditional but we also want to have the modern side of things included,” Breda concluded.
The ICA welcomes members from the age of 16 to 110 and the Feakle guild currently has members from their 20s to ladies in their 70s, with plenty in between. The group is encouraging ladies from other parishes in East Clare to get involved also, as they are not restricting it to Feakle and ladies from Tulla, Scariff and O’Callaghan’s Mills are already involved.
For more information or to get involved, visit the Feakle ICA Facebook page, email feakleica@hotmail.com or call 087 7804042.

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