The small rural area of Spink in south Laois is punching well above its weight this year with a host of Laois community leaders.
With just a pub, a shop, a hall and Spink Creamery making up the village, the parish is home to the current Chairman of Laois County Council Cllr Padraig Fleming, the chairman and vice chairman of Laois IFA Francie Gorman and John Fitzpatrick, and the chairperson of Laois Farm Families Noreen Cahill.
It is also the parish of Anne Cass, who will hand over her chain as President of Laois ICA in a fortnight after a successful three year term.
The retired nurse manager, whose husband Joe is a farmer, believes that a strong community and a farming spirit of co-operation is behind Spink's success rate.
“it is a unique time for Spink. There is quite a strong community spirit. No matter what organisation people are from, they put their shoulder to the wheel,” she said.
“We have a terrific St Patrick's Day parade too, and that is quite unique for a small area,” she said.
The extreme weather this winter again brought out the best in the community.
“The weather brought everything to a standstill but farmers were out with their tractors to help everyone out,” she said.
The Laois ICA president had a busy three year term, with events including their 1916 commemmoration, and a civic reception to honour their work by Laois County Council.
There was also county meetings and guild meetings to attend, craft days and Laois Week in the ICA headquarters of An Grianán.
Last week was another proud day for Spink ICA when their table quiz team, representing Laois, competed in the national final in An Grianán.
“It has been a very busy enjoyable term,” she said.
There are 19 ICA guilds in Laois and Spink despite being so small has 19 members, among them jam manufacturer Helen Gee.
“We are very proud Helen is a member,” Ms Cass said.
ICA guilds are losing members however she said.
“Unfortunately fewer younger women are joining, when I started over 30 years ago there were about 30 guilds in Laois,. But there are a few new guilds opening across the country ” she said.