By Peg Prendeville

The very best of luck to Tom and Marcella O’Grady and family who opened up Brown Joe’s in Athea on Monday night last. Many of his neighbours from the Knockdown area were with him on his first night to wish him well.

We said Goodbye to Neidín on Wednesday last. His nephew Séamus Ahern spoke lovingly of him at the Mass in Carrigkerry and I hope Séamus does not mind me telling you of one of his favourite memories of his uncle Ned. When Séamus was about ten Ned was drafted in one night to mind him while his parents were going out. As soon as they were gone Ned asked “Have you a light on your bike/”. “I have”. “Come on so. We’ll go to Carrig.” So the two of them cycled to Stacks in Carrig where young Séamus was put up on a high stool and fed chocolates and orange juice for the night while Ned had his few pints. They cycled home again and were in bed when the parents came home. “But of course I ratted on Ned” said Séamus and told his mother where they had been. That was the end of babysitting for Neidín! But it is a cherished memory for Séamus. He was a free spirit, Séamus said, and enjoyed life and he had a good one. We hope the afterlife is just as much fun for Ned. I alternate between Ned and Neidín. I knew him as Neidín but some people knew him as Ned. Either way he left lovely memories to all. May he rest in peace.

It was good to read in last week’s papers that the bridge in Clounleharde may be getting attention at last. It is such a nuisance and puts miles on to all of us going to the village. Likewise those in the village coming to this side of the parish have to go all around Turraree. The school buses too have to detour. Like I said it is good to see that our new TD’s are putting on the pressure.

Eleanora Gibbon was an ICA member from Waterford. She introduced the Montessori teaching to Ireland having studied it in London in 1919. On returning to her native Waterford she taught in several local schools and this teaching method later spread throughout the country. Today the ICA remembers Eleanora Gibbon through a bequest which funds a drama related competition, marking the importance of the creative arts in Maria Montessori’s educational philosophy. This year the competition, which is open to all guilds, was to present a 15 minute show with one of the four seasons as the theme. The presentation might have music, singing, dancing, poetry, verse speaking, prose or  sketch but must include three of these. So the Ballyhahill Loughill ICA ladies put a show together called “Summertime”. The guild members did not hold out any great expectations as they knew they had to beat Cappamore which is like Limerick having to beat Kerry in football. But to their delight they came out on top and are now heading to the National final in Mullingar Arts Centre on Sunday 12th June. The guild has the distinction of winning the National prize in 1997 for their entry “as Gaeilge” on the theme of the famine in Ireland. Geraldine Cahillane is always the brains behind the ideas and all the members enjoy getting involved. So Mullingar, here we come!

Any children interested in taking part in community Games Swimming competitions please come to the Parish Hall on Thursday 7th April between 7 and 7.30 for registration

The Parish Annual will be on sale for Easter. It contains 72 pages of very interesting reading, including poems and photographs. All profits go to the Parish Hall fund and will be appreciated by the Parish Hall committee who has put in a lot of work putting this publication together.

Glin Library has lots of new paperback titles and has a welcome for both new and committed readers. Just come in and browse anyway even if you are not a reader.

The Lenten Stations Masses for this year will be held on Wednesday 13th April in Ballyhahill @ 8pm for all Ballyhahill townslands and on Thursday 14th April @ 8pm in Loughill for all Loughill townslands.

Easter Ceremonies for the parish of Loughill/Ballyhahill are arranged as follows: Confessions on Apr 19th in Loughill @ 8pm. Mass of the Lord’s Supper Ballyhahill Church at 8pm on Holy Thursday. Passion of Our Lord in Ballyhahill @ 3pm on Good Friday. Stations of the Cross in Loughill @ 8pm on Good Friday. The Easter Vigil will be in Loughill @ 9pm on Holy Saturday. (No Mass in Ballyhahill that night.) Mass on Easter Sunday in Loughill @ 10 am and in Ballyhahill at 11 am.