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Guiding Ireland

Catholic Guides of Ireland logo

Who or What is CGI?

The Catholic Guides of Ireland (CGI) is a nationwide uniformed Association open to all women and girls. CGI is one of three Guide Associations on the island of Ireland. The other two are the Irish Girl Guides (IGG) and The Guide Association - Province of Ulster. CGI has members both in the Republic and Northern Ireland.

The Mission Statement & Vision of the Catholic Guides of Ireland

Mission Statement
To provide a challenging Guiding Programme in a safe environment to enable girls and young women to develop their full potential.

We are a positive all inclusive community movement on the island of Ireland empowering girls and women to recognise the contribution they make to society.

CGI History

CIGA logo

In July 1993, at the 28th World Conference in Denmark, the Council of Irish Guiding Associations (CIGA) was ratified as a full member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, and was recognised as continuing the full membership gained by the Irish Girl Guides in 1932. The Council consists of the Irish Girl Guides and the Catholic Guides of Ireland on behalf of their members resident in the Republic of Ireland.

We are members of CGI as part of the Eastern Region (formerly the Diocese of Dublin).

The Story of the Handclasp

The handclasp is given with the left hand. This true story tells why.

Robert Baden-Powell, an officer in the English Army, founded the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides. He was in Africa once with his soldiers. The Chieftains there always carried a spear in their right hand and a shield to protect themselves in their left.

One day a particular African Chief had to surrender to Baden-Powell who put out his right hand to the Chieftain as a sign of friendship. But the Chieftain flung down his shield insisting on using his left hand: "The bravest of the brave," he said, "shake with their left hand, because in order to do so they must throw away their shield." The Chieftain did not mind leaving himself unprotected because he trusted Baden-Powell completely.

Ever since, Scouts and Guides use their left hand as a sign of their trust and friendliness.

WAGGGS History

Delegates at the 1934 World Conference at Our Chalet in Switzerland

Girl Guiding evolved in 1909 from girls wishing to take part in the boy-only Scout movement founded by Robert Baden-Powell. Initially Agnes Baden-Powell assisted her brother with Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting, and after his marriage in 1912, his wife Olave Baden-Powell took a leading role in the development of the movement.

As Guiding spread, independent national Guiding associations were set up. Many members felt a need for international cooperation, and Lady Baden-Powell held an informal International Council in 1918 in London.

Over time, representatives from several countries suggested the formation of a World Association to take the place of the informal International Council. So, in 1928, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) was founded.

The photo to the left shows delegates at one of the early conferences, held in 1934 at Our Chalet in Switzerland.

The member organizations continue to meet every three years at World Conferences, which are an opportunity to foster international friendship and mutual understanding. The conference delegates vote on policies and programmes that promote education, empowerment, and support for girls and young women to develop to their full potential as responsible citizens of the world.

Read more about the history of WAGGGS at the official site.