History of Suncroft Guild
Following the publicity of the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the ICA in 1960 there was a huge upsurge in membership and the formation of the new guilds. In 1961 the then Curate in Suncroft Fr. Michael Gleeson and Mr Pat Dempsey, a well-known community activist, organised in an inaugural meeting in the Old School on the 17th May. Seventeen women attended. From this meeting it was decided to form a guild in the village and a further meeting was arranged for June 14th. There were 32 women present. Three of those women are still members, Nan Howard, Lily Fleming and Madge Fleming. Mrs Helena Connolly was elected President, Mrs M Fitzpatrick-Secretary, Miss Peg Flanagan-Treasurer, and Mrs M McDonnell-Vice President.
At the 21st Birthday Party for the Guild in 1982, Mr Dempsey was asked why he had become involved. He replied that over time he had often noticed groups of two or three women chatting together in the village and the thought struck him, that where two or three women were gathered for any length of times nothing but good could come from it. Prosperous and Kill Guilds were also formed in 1961.
From the start the guild has been a great success, becoming involved with several activities in the community, organising collections for Conquer Cancer Campaign, Cerebral/ Palsy and Rehabilitation.
During her time in office as Guild President Mrs Bridget McDonagh, now deceased proposed the running of Bingo and an Old Folks Party. These projects were later undertaken by Parish Committees, The Guild Committees also began the practise of providing refreshments for the 1st Communion families, they also co-operated with the Parent Teacher Management Committee of the local school to raise funds for the school programme.
According to the 1971 Parish Magazine, the guild also sponsored events in Annual Sports Day and Community Centre Field Days. The Annual Sale of Work that year had been a great success; a sum of 30 was donated to Church Funds and a further 30 to the Community Funds.
A new Altar Bell was purchased from the Church Funds and a great praise resulted from the Parish Priest. Interestingly some years later when the members dared to question the venue of the Old Folks Party we were severely rapped over the knuckles by the same Parish Priest.
During all this time the annual outing was a major event with members. There are many stories to be told, which will be covered in another article.
At County and Inter-County level the guild has achieved much success in Table Quizzes, winning the Nellie Dillon and Odlum Cups and presently holding the Kitty McCarthy Cup for the second year in a succession.
At National level we represented Kildare in the Canderel Competition Finals in 1990, in the National Concert Hall. We have also won the Inter-Federation Cup for Crafts for Doll Making.
The late Mrs Jordan’s song about the guild and the late Mrs Maureen Reid’s banner and 21st Birthday Picture – which hangs in An Grianan – ensure that they will always be remembered.
Phyllis Brown served as Convenor for three years, organising group meetings. Eileen Bateson served as Federation President 2004-07 during which time, the Federation hosted a council meeting. While there was a Community Centre in Suncroft, the ICA supported all events from Drama Competitions to Sales of Work.
In recent years we have been to the forefront in trying to a get a new community centre for the community and lead the campaign to reopen the Parochial House, which in turn will lead to a new centre.
At the first meeting in 1961, there were 17 women present and we now have 17 members in the guild. The Association has just celebrated its 100th Anniversary and we hope the same surge in membership, which occurred following the 50th anniversary, will be repeated in the coming years.
The most important success of our guild over the years has been the friendships formed and the loyalty and support of the members for each other in bad times and good.