Athea On TV
Highlights of the unveiling of the Con Colbert Memorial and Athea Horse and Pony Races will feature on Limerick County Matters on Irish TV – SKY Channel 191 – on Wednesday 19th October at 5.30 pm. Watch live worldwide at www.irishtv.ie/broadcast. Also available on Freeview Boxes. Please pass on the message!
Athea Tidy Towns Church Gate Collection
Athea Tidy Towns church gate collection will take place this weekend before all masses. This is one of our main fundraisers for the year and your support, as always, would be greatly appreciated.
Athea Community Games AGM
We are holding our AGM on this Wednesday, October 19th in the Hall (Kitchen) at 8pm. We urgently require some new people to get involved. It is not a huge commitment. Community games have a long list of different events that children can take part in and we would like to be able to facilitate entries into some more of these events. Anyone who can help out in any way would be greatly appreciated.
Great Southern Trail
There will be a walk to the Kerry border on Sunday 23rd October at 2pm from the car park at the Railway Station in Abbeyfeale. This is a 3km each way return walk and suitable for everybody. Fáilte roimh gach éinne
Garry McMahon Weekend
The 8th annual Garry McMahon traditional singing festival takes place from Friday, October 21st to Sunday 23rd in Abbeyfeale. Next Friday, October 21st at 8pm the festival will be officially opened by the one and only Mick O’Connell from Valentia who apart from being a personal friend of Garry McMahon’s played football with him on the Kerry team. This will be followed by a singing session in The Ramble Inn Bar.
Men’s Shed For Athea?
We have been asked to find out if there is interest in the parish in forming a “men’s shed”. There are sheds already in many neighbouring towns and villages and what they do is give men who may have time on their hands or are feeling isolated an opportunity to meet at regular intervals and by communicating with each other develop shared hobbies, skills, enterprises etc or just talk and have a cup of tea or coffee. There is a national organisation for men’s sheds and the following is taken from their web site menssheds.ie.
“Members of Men’s Sheds can come from all walks of life – the bond that unites them is that they are men with time on their hands and they would like something meaningful to do with that time.
Because men don’t often make a fuss about their problems, these problems have consistently been either ignored or swept under the mat by both our health system and our modern society. It’s time for a change and the Men’s Shed movement is a powerful tool in helping men to once again become valued and valuable members of our community” A meeting place would be available and there is a bit of land also that could be used. If interested call 068 42533.
Changes in our lifetime
The other day I saw a woman wearing a headscarf and it just dawned on me that, something that was worn by almost every woman at one time is now a rare sight. In my young days all the older women wore shawls. Some were very nicely woven with different colours and patterns but most were plain. Widows always wore a black shawl. It covered the head and the upper body and provided warmth and privacy. As time went by younger women threw away the shawl and bared their heads. At the time a woman could not enter the church with her head uncovered so some headwear had to be used for the Sunday ritual. The headscarf made its appearance and was the most popular by far. It was a simple triangle of cloth that was thrown over the head and tied in a bow under the chin. Like the shawls they replaced, the scarves could be very decorative or quite plain depending on the choice of the wearer. Some, maybe thought they were a little more religious than others, wore a special black one called a “mantilla”. The scarf reigned supreme for a long time but eventually a new generation of women cast it aside and, for the most part, wore nothing at all on their heads except when they were going to the races or attending a wedding when the fancy hat was the preferred covering.
As I mentioned, women could not enter a church with the head uncovered but the opposite was the case for men. Everyone wore some kind of a hat or cap except when in church or eating a meal at the table. Most of the working classes wore a cloth cap while the more affluent favoured the hat. Hats came in all shapes and sizes and could be costly depending on the quality and the brand. Milliners did a good trade supplying hats to all the upper classes.
The clergy mostly wore black hats while some younger priests might be seen in a black beret. The beret hat no peak and was pulled slightly to the side of the head. They were made for the lads in the army and found their way into general use both for men and women. Nowadays very few wear any headgear except for the American baseball cap.
The overcoat is another item of clothing that is disappearing from the scene. Long ago nobody would undertake an outing, no matter how short, without taking the overcoat or “top coat” as some called it. There was a variety of coats available and they had two main functions; to keep the wearer warm in cold weather and dry in the rain. They covered from the shoulders down to below the knees and they could be quite weighty. Some had a belt around the waist and some had not. The “gabardine” was very popular, due I’m sure to the fact that it was worn by all the detectives and spies in the movies. Worn with the collar turned up, they gave the wearer an air of mystery. Again as time went by there were changes. First, the coats got shorter and just reached the top of the thighs. When the first one made its appearance it was christened the “bum freezer” for obvious reasons. Eventually the overcoat was seen less and less but there are still a few about, worn mainly by the older generation.
Pockets were very important for people long ago. They had to carry a variety of stuff that was necessary for their survival (or at least their happiness!). Every man carried a penknife. This had many uses including cutting tobacco for the pipe which was also carried in the pocket, cutting pieces of “foxy hemp” (also in the pocket) and prying stones from the hooves of horses. I suppose it is an offence to carry a penknife today. A special pocket was reserved for the watch (if you were lucky enough to have one). The “pocket watch” was fairly big, by today’s standards. It was round like the bottom of a cup and was usually in a case to keep it safe. It was often attached to a chain that would be secured in a buttonhole to prevent the watch being lost or dislodged from the pocket and getting damaged in a fall.
The “hob-nailed boot” has also disappeared. This was a leather boot that laced up over the ankle with a thick sole that was covered in metal studs or nails. They were extremely heavy to wear but were very effective for working. If you were following somebody wearing hobnails on the road at night you could see the sparks flying from the contact between the nails and the road surface. The arrival of the wellington boot, which was much lighter and dryer sounded the death knell for the hob nailed boot and not many people will mourn its passing. Now even the shoe has almost disappeared with runners or sneakers being the preferred footwear of the modern generation. This started with the sight of one headscarf but I could go on for a long time about all the things that used to be but are no more. Yes, times certainly change.
Domhnall de Barra