Monday, 19 September 2011

Visiting Hannie Leahy 15/09/2011

Last Thursday I visited Hannie at her home in Annsgift, Fethard, Co Tipperary. Hannie recently celebrated her 93rd birthday (born 01/09/1919) and continues to be an active producer in her local Country Market in Fethard. Over tea and some of her freshly baked scones she told me a little of her life story and her involvement in Country Markets.

She was the youngest of three children born and raised a short distance from where she lives today. Her father worked as a gardener for Major and Mrs Hughes of Annsgift Estate now part of Coolmore Stud. In 1947 Mrs Hughes encouraged the women of the area to join with her and start up Ireland’s first Country Market. The market was to be run along the lines of The Womens Institute Markets in England.

Hannie remembers those early days with many members from a large catchment area, and the variety of produce. There was homebaking, eggs, jams, vegetables, shrubs, cut flowers, fruit and honey. Produce was wrapped in newspaper and eggs in paper bags.

Hannie is a living link with the very first Country Market. She still feels passionate about Country Markets and believes we are more relevant now than ever. I am delighted to have met her as she has made such a great contribution to our organisation and continues to be an inspiration for the future.

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