Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Limerick Federation ICA Notes Week ending May 3rd

Basketmakingat An Grianán by Ronan Russell of Newgrange Willow Design


On Tuesday April 22nd

enjoyed a wonderful cultural experience.

Our first stop was Newbridge Silverwear and would you believe it we met KITT the talking car. With

lunch shopping and a visit to the museum over we were on the road again to Farmleigh House. Here

we had a guided tour of the main rooms once used by the Guinness Family and now used by The

State when entertaining ‘guests of the nation’. However still wondering what seven star bedrooms

looked like!

Arriving at An Grianán in time for evening lunch and that wonderful An Grianán welcome we quickly

settled in and we were treated to a surprise demonstration of Willow Work by Ronan Russell and

his partner Elaine. Ronan who is a basket maker and willow designer set up his own company –

Newgrange Willow Designs – and grows willow for his beautiful willow products.

Elaine does sculpture work, making small items such as Love Knots right up to large animals some of

which are on display in Moynalty , winner of The Tidy Towns.

On Wednesday everyone was up early for breakfast and we set out for the visit to The North.

Our first stop was the delightful Ballyrobert Cottage and Gardens. Do you know that before you

enter the gardens you must stop at the gate and salute the Fairy Tree? The Fairies are part of the

folklore here and this is where Maurice began his guided tour and told us the history of this unique

Ulster Cottage Garden which was developed from a traditional small farm. His wife Joy met us at the

house where we enjoyed tea and scones. We left with a bus full ofr plants and great plans for our

own gardens.

We travelled on to Belfast City for shopping in Victoria Square and a guided tour of Belfast City Hall.

We were met on arrival by our guide Sindy who led us up the carpeted stairway on a most

interesting tour of the building. All the carpets here were made in Galway and a feature of the

Council Meeting Rooms is the beautifully carved Irish Oak. Anne donned the hand made councillors

robe and we sat for a while taking photos in that historic building.

On the third day our bags were packed and in brilliant spring sunshine we set off on our journey

home. Drogheda was our first stop in search of the last minute bargains. We took a detour into The

Wicklow Hills with a short stop in Glendalough and Powerscourt.

A special word of thanks to the organiser Anne Rowlands and our driver Tadgh for a safe trip.

 thirty six ICA ladies from many parts of Limerick travelled to An Grianán and

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