Welcome to Athea, “the Giant’s Village”.
Athea (Áth an tSléibhe from the Gaelic words áth – ford and sliabh – mountain ) is a village in West Limerick nestling in the rolling hills between Listowel, Abbeyfeale, Newcastle West and Glin. It has seven public houses (two with function rooms and one with B&B facilities and full restaurant), two shops (both are newsagents), a pharmacy, doctor’s surgery, veterinary surgery, garage, post office, printing works and several small businesses mostly associated with the building trade.
The river Galey runs through the village, separating the main housing and shopping area from the National School and a state of the art Con Colbert Community sports and recreation hall.
The Giant’s Garden, a reminder that Athea owes its origins to the mythical era of giants, stands on the Newcastle West road.
The Goold Monument on the Listowel road is dedicated to the Goold family who were benevolent Landlords at the time of the Famine. The old graveyard in Templeathea dates back to the 14th century. The ruins of the original church with walls intact remain in the graveyard.
The parish of Athea is made up of farmland and bogland much of it now in forestry. Dairy farming is the main activity on the land with little or no tillage due to the nature of the soil. In recent years there has been a great decline in the numbers farming with most of the workforce employed in the large supermarkets and factories in nearby towns which are all within ten to fifteen minutes by car.
Athea is a vibrant community due to the many hard-working voluntary organisations in the parish. The umbrella body is Athea Community Council Ltd., elected by the whole parish and responsible for the development of the community.
The G.A.A. and Soccer clubs both have their own pitches with modern dressing rooms. Other organisations include, Ladies Football Club, Basketball Club, Golf Society, Tidy Towns Committee, Voluntary Housing, St. Vincent de Paul, Going Strong, Fishing Club, Gun Club, Motorcycle Road Racing , Horse and Pony Race Committee, Community Games, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Foróige Youth Club, Athea Drama Group and many more charitable organisations.
Because it is situated slightly off the main routes, Athea is an ideal place in which to live and raise families. The Shannon is just 8 miles away, Ballybunion 18 , Tralee 25 , Limerick 36, Killarney 32 , Shannon Airport 48 and Kerry Airport 27 all within an hour’s driving due to the new Shannon tunnell.
Athea people are noted for their music, dancing, songs, sporting prowess but most of all for their hospitality. There is a ” Céad Míle Fáilte” waiting for each and every visitor to this peaceful, picturesque village.
There are many festival weekends throughout the year. Athea now hosts a heat of the All-Ireland Motorcycle Racing Championship which takes place in late June/early July. This attracts a huge following. A couple of weeks later the Vintage Sunday takes place with enthusiasts coming from all over the country.
First weekend in August sees the staging of TradFéile, a weekend of traditional music, song and dance organised by the local Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann branch. A special feature of this weekend is the All-Ireland Traditional Spoon-playing Competition and then to round off the year the annual Fair Day occurs in Nocvember. Something for everyone.