Thursday, 8 October 2015

I've joined the Womens Institue!

This year I made myself a promise to get more engaged with other worlds outside of my own network of friends and family. After all its all too easy for us to continue in the comfortable cycle of the familiar and predictable and I felt in need of some new perspectives and fresh thinking.

On the lookout for something a little different, this week I attended a meeting of the ICA. For those uninitiated this is the Irish Country womens Association (think of this as the Irish W.I. or Womens institute).
I am neither Irish nor live in the Country but being a woman I guessed two out of three wasn't a bad fit.
My head was filled with preconceived ideas, largely put there by friends and family who were convinced I'd go and find it wasn't for me.
The Irish Countrywomen's Association
My inability to bake, lack of an Irish passport, strong English accent, and as my husband puts it ' you particular way of thinking' were all cited as excellent reasons why this particular foray would not end well.

Undeterred I arrived early to a small Parish hall in South Dublin to be met warmly by the guilds president, Press officer and various other lady members. I donned my visitor badge, paid my money and settled in for the evening.
After the usual (well for them) prayer in Irish (I mumbled through this bit) and ICA song (I stayed mute through this bit) we were introduced to our speaker for the evening.

What ensued was an hour that simply flew by, enthralled as I was by the wonderful  Lorna Siggins,  print journalist from the Irish Times. She regaled us with stories of her career from her early days in the Newsroom to her reporting on many National and International news items. We heard about her trip to Nepal to accompany the first Irish team to climb Mount Everest, her work on the Corrib pipeline story, Piper Alpha, Chanel tunnel migrants and so much more.
I learnt about the world of journalism and how its transformed in the digital age and how Lorna has had to adapt and learn new skills and habits.

As if this wasn't enough I met with some of the most interesting women I've met in a long time. From the lady who'd recently retired from running her own company and like me was looking for new interests to another very glamorous lady (well over 70) who was leaving the ICA meeting at 10pm to go dancing!

Next week a member of the Royal college of Surgeons in Ireland will be visiting to talk about Irish Doctors in WW1. While the topic may not press all my buttons I'm ready for some  freshness and to meet some more amazing women.

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