The annual Church gate collection for the upkeep of the graveyards will take place this weekend, Sat. 29th/Sun. 30th October at all Masses. Envelopes have been distributed to all households. Your support, as always would be greatly appreciated
Athea Parish Journal
We are appealing to all organisations and people who wish to submit material (including people that may be living abroad) to please start doing so now and where possible to email all material to us at email@example.com. Photos can be dropped in to the office for scanning and will be returned safely.
Continuing the theme of last week’s ramblings, I couldn’t leave the subject without mention of a couple of more items that have almost, if not completely, disappeared. The bicycle was a great invention and, because it was relatively inexpensive, provided a much needed mode of transport to the general public. Bikes were heavy and sturdy in those days, not a bit like the streamlined, lightweight models of today. The basic ones didn’t have any gear changes or covering for the chain. This was a problem for men whose trouser legs at the time were quite wide and could get dirty or, worse still, get got up in the chain causing the bike to stall and the rider to take a tumble. A device was created called the “bicycle clip”. There were two main types; one which was a bit like a clothes peg and the other a round clip that fitted around the ankle with the trouser leg folded inside it. The clothes peg type trapped the trouser leg when it was pulled outwards leaving a good bit of cloth on the outside flapping away in the breeze but safe from the workings of the machine. Unlike today, when there is a uniform for everything and cycling clothes are tailor made for the job, people had only two sets of clothing; the working clothes and the Sunday clothes. The working clothes were often once the Sunday clothes that had passed their best.
Ladies also had a problem with their clothing on bicycles but it hadn’t anything to do with trousers. If they were wearing their good overcoats there was a danger, because they were long, that the tail of the coat would get dirty with the spray from the back wheel of the bicycle so they turned up the hem of the coat and pinned it around the waist. It saved the overcoat but, on a windy day, there could be more exposure of thighs than they wanted, much to the amusement of the young bucks around the place..
It was also necessary to have a means of lighting during the dark hours. The “flash lamp” was the most popular before the invention of the dynamo that worked through contact with the rotating wheel. The flash lamp was especially designed for the bicycle and fitted on the front of the bike. It was powered by a battery that had to be changed every so often. You wouldn’t see many flash lamps now.
There is a line in one of John B. Keane’s plays, The Buds of Ballybunion, where country women are on their annual holidays at the beach which goes: “Oh, the merciful release of a loosened corset”. Up to the ‘sixties all women wore corsets. When a young girl reached a certain age she was harnessed into one and condemned to suffer it for the rest of her life, except when she got pregnant of course. I remember my mother’s one well. They were hideous instruments of torture; cloth wrapped around the body from the buttocks to the breasts reinforced with strips of whale bone and laced tightly up the back. I suppose they were designed to give ladies an “hour glass” figure but they must have been most uncomfortable to wear. The only corset you will see now is in the sexy underwear department of a dress shop but they bear no resemblance to the monstrosities that went before. Women’s lib got that one right!.
Another item that has gone by the wayside is the “tea chest”. Tea did not always come in a packet as it is today. Like many other commodities like sugar, it came in bulk to the shop and had to be weighed for the customer in pounds or half pounds. The tea came in a box about two and a half feet square and three feet high (a guess!). It was made of a light wood frame with hardboard sides lined with silver paper. It was put to many uses in the kitchens of old but was mostly used as the play pen for small children. Mothers lived a very busy life and there was much work to be done around the house and the farm. The child in the tea chest was safe from harm and could be left for a while on its own. There was a slight problem with tiny tots who were teething. They would bite at the wood around the top and there was a danger that they could bite off a splinter that could do them great harm. The problem was solved by fixing an old bicycle tyre around the rim of the tea chest. Now the baby could chew away to its heart’s content. The hard rubber would not tear and was very good at breaking down resistance in the gums making way for new teeth. We all saw a term in the tea chest and it didn’t do us any harm.
Another useful item was the “butter box”. This box came from the creamery and was used to hold 56 pounds of butter. When empty it could be put to many uses including a receptacle for turf by the fire. It was also very handy for conversion into a small chair for a child. All that needed to be done was remove half of one side and make a seat of it. The rest of the box could be left as it was.
There are many other things and customs that were commonplace when I was young that are now either gone completely or are very scarce. It just shows how quickly the world is changing. Will we be able to keep up with the pace?
Domhnall de Barra
Athea Gun Club
We recently held our AGM at the Top of the Town. We would like to thank the outgoing committee for the great work they have done over the past couple of years and the new officers are as follows. Chairman: Paddy Michael Griffin. Secretary: Raymond Brouder. Treasurer: Colm Leahy.
It’s that time of year again and with the pheasant season approaching we would like to encourage people to clean and check their guns thoroughly before use. On Tuesday, November 1st we will hold our annual long tail competition in the Top of the Town. Last entries will be taken at 7.15 and measurements start at 7.30.
I would like to thank farmers and land owners for allowing us to hunt on their lands. I would urge all members to be respectful of landowner’s property and close gates and fences while passing through. Keep membership and insurance with you at all times as you may be asked to produce. On that note, safe shooting and happy hunting.
The following tribute was composed by former Mungret College student, Johnny Perrem
Axel, where have you gone?
Your place with us was immense
Absent without leave
Our penalty and our price to pay
You left your position on the field of life
A gaping hole – in fact bigger than that
Our defences weakened
Perhaps not critically
Our attack without its thrust for now
Our faith in life jarred and shaken
Your sudden departure
Through that great door
We are down a man
A great great man
Rest as you have earned the prize
Our love travels with you
Now and always
Thanks for the memories
Thank you for being you
You were bigger than life itself
That’s how it feels
Rest in Peace