By Nora Ryan
(North Tipperary PRO)
Where does one start when explaining Macra na Feirme, and what is really means to its thousands of members across the country that are involved in it.
Macra is like one big family. You experience so many different adventures with them and you try new areas that are totally out of your comfort zone, as well as making lifelong friends.
Macra is an organisation for young people aged 17-35. Through Macra, members take part in various competitions such as sports, performing arts, public speaking, agriculture, travel opportunities and community based projects (There really is something for everyone). For most people that join, Macra is so much more than those 6 core aspects.
The social calendar is jam packed with festivals and parties right across the country each year. Many of these festivals are organised and run by different clubs and counties. Queen of the Land, International Miss Macra, Blue Jean Country Queen and Mr Personality are examples of such festivals which sees a member of each Macra region descend on hosted counties for the weekend. Many say they are like a culchie version of the Rose of Tralee. For participants that take part in these events, they are pampered and treated like royalty.
Although these festivals are full of glitz and glamour they are fantastic in the way they encourage participation and help confidence building.
As I said before Macra focuses on community. Clubs across the country raise much needed funds for charities in fun filled ways. In North Tipperary last year clubs raised money in table quizzes, Shave or Dye, 24hr Relays, coffee mornings and church gate collections. The charities that these clubs raise money for are so grateful to the volunteers in these clubs. These events build skills such as teamwork and encourage leadership.
In North Tipperary there are 5 different and unique clubs that offer something special to members. Ballinahinch/Killosully, Clodagh, Devilsbit, Nenagh and Newport organise weekly outings in clubs, from meetings, sports nights and club nights out. Don’t be amazed if you were called at 8pm in the evening for a mug of tea!
Personally one of the highlights of Macra in North Tipperary had to be the National Macra na Feirme AGM which our region hosted in May 2016. 7 months of work and planning went into the event, and we were amazed by the support and goodwill of local businesses in their support to us.
Members of the 5 clubs came together to make the weekend such a success. All the hard work and late nights paid off, 200 people descended on the Abbey Court Hotel for a spectacular 4 course meal, followed by a late night of dancing by Outa Diesel and DJ Liam Murphy.
It’s hard to put Macra into words, until you go and sample what is really is all about. Go to your nearest clubs next night out, go to that first meeting, or bring a friend to one of the many festivals and you won’t look back!
All the 5 clubs have a busy summer planned and an even busier winter so be sure to check out the Macra website at www.macra.ie or check out any of the clubs Facebook pages for more details.