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Portlaoise roundabout renamed on honour of legendary figure from Irish Country Women’s Association

Lucy Franks Roundabout at Fairgreen on the N80 Portlaoise (2)

Laois County Council and the Laois Federation ICA have officially named the roundabout on N80 at Fairgreen.

It has been named in honour of Lucy Franks of the Irish Country Women Association (ICA) and the renaming was attended by Councillor Marie Touhy.

Ms Franks was born in Laois in 1878 and educated at Alexandra College, Dublin. She founded a local United Irishwomen’s branch in Castletown circa 1917.

She spent some time abroad before returning to Ireland after the civil war.

It was during this time, in the late 1920’s, that Ms Franks reenergised the United Irishwomen’s UI by making it useful to Irish women, equipping them with a life skill to enhance their lives.

She encouraged United Irishwomen’s UI members to sell their produce and opened the Country Shop at St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin to do just that.

Much of Ms Franks’ work was arranging shows to sell the UI members’ work, at the annual Spring Fair in the RDS, in turn helped to establish the annual summer school, which still takes place today.

As founding member of the Association of Country Women of the World, Ms Franks had a huge impact on rural women’s associations both nationally and internationally.

In later years, Ms Franks was the national president of the ICA and under her direction ICA craft workers were made into a guild and plans were made for a permanent residential ICA college in Termonfeckin, Louth, where a garden house is dedicated to her memory.

A spokesperson said: “It is only fitting that the ICA Laois Federation and Laois County Council, commemorates Ms Franks dedication to the women of Ireland and the ICA at home and abroad, by naming the roundabout on N80 at Fairgreen in her honour.”