Clonakilty stories brought to life in community quilt

A wall hanging created by members of the Community Participation Through Textiles class at the Further Education and Training Centre in Clonakilty, depicting ten areas of interest in the locality including the landing of the Flying Fortress ‘Taint a Bird’ in White’s Marsh in 1943, the Old Linen Hall, the Model Railway Village and Inchydoney Beach, was unveiled at the FET Centre on Western Road in Clonakilty on May 30. A full colour brochure has been produced to accompany the quilt.

Under the mentorship of their tutor Catherine Foley, for the past four months the class has produced a work of art that involves a variety of needlework and crafting skills. Techniques used include knitting, crochet, embroidery, Trapunto quilting, weaving, appliqué, wet and dry felting.

Good friends and retirees, Mary Heaton and Anne Brennan, travel down from Cork on the bus every Thursday morning availing of the Free Travel Scheme. “We both enjoy crochet and knitting and have learned so much on the course, from felting to appliqué and weaving,” they share.

Retired primary school teacher, Kay Ryan, from Ardfield, says the course was the best thing she ever did. “I absolutely loved it. It was all new to me but I learned so much and have met such lovely people. Catherine is a great teacher.”

Yamira from Chile has been living in Ireland for 13 years, moving to Clonakilty four years ago. She has been attending the FET Centre in Clonakilty since before the pandemic and loves it. She hopes to use the skills she has learned to set up her own craft business.

Mary Leahy is a Clonakilty native now living in Crookstown. She loves coming back to Clonakilty and this is her fourth year attending the centre. With a farming husband and a family to feed, the retired primary school teacher is up early every Thursday morning to prepare the dinners and check the calves before leaving to make the trip to Clonakilty. “It’s a wonderful facility, tutor and group,” she says.

Bríd Murphy, who runs the FET Centre in Clonakilty, explains that the project has been transformative for all of those who have taken part. “Ranging in age, ethnicity and skill level, the groups have really formed an amazing community of learning to achieve this wonderful piece of work. Equally they have formed friendships far beyond the classroom and showed that returning to learning as an adult can be a fun and fulfilling experience.  We are so proud of what they have achieved.”

There was a real sense of achievement and pride in the centre when the wall-hanging was completed and finally unveiled and, with great interest from the local community, in the following months the quilt will begin its travels around the town, visiting Clonakilty Library and other local venues. It will feature at Clonakilty Agricultural Show, the Clonakilty Old Time Fair and in shop windows in the town.

In gifting their work to the people of Clonakilty, the creators of the quilt hope that it will become part of the archival history of the town for many years to come. Maith sibh go léir!

The Cork College of FET Clonakilty Centre is part of the Cork Education and Training Board Further Education and Training service. More information about the courses that they run can be found on their Facebook page @ClonakiltyFET or drop into the centre on Western Road.

WCP Staff

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