A very happy New Year to all our readers at home and abroad and best wishes for 2012. Christmas passed peacefully around the locality with no incidents or accidents of note to record. The mild weather was an extra bonus after the frost and snow of the previous two. The village

Christmas trees and the many well lit up houses, helped to add a festive cheer to proceedings. The many Church ceremonies were well attended and our thanks to Fr Madden, and the many people who helped to bring the word of God to all. The children of the area were delighted to welcome Santa into their homes and he managed to satisfy all despite the cut backs and the down turn in the economy.

Thanks to all who volunteered their time and talents to help out their neighbours and friends, to make it a more enjoyable time for all. The Carrigkerry, Glensharrold and other Wrenboy Groups were out in force and they brought a lot of Christmas cheer and enjoyment to people who

look forward so much to their annual visits. The Glensharrold group celebrated their 55th year hunting the wren with founding members Johnny Kennelly Tom Kennelly and Tony Geoghegan participating with youthful enthusiasm once again. We listened with interest to Fr Tony Mullins’ Christmas message broadcast on Limerick 95 Live Radio. Fr Tony from Glenville is the present Administrator of the Limerick Diocese and if offered the position of Bishop would advance the position to new heights. John Keily from Ardagh presented a very interesting Sacred Space programme on West Limerick Community Radio on Christmas morning. Our thanks to all who supported the Carrigkerry/Old Mill Development Association Church gate collection in Ardagh and

Carrigkerry on the week-end before Christmas. We hope and pray for good leadership and vision from our Government to put measures in place to help create jobs  in the year ahead.  A reduction in our Euro debt, to help struggling home owners who played no part in our downfall, and the courts to finally take action against the people responsible for our plight. We would welcome lots of warm and sunny weather, which would help lift the spirits of the nation. We also have the Eucharistic Congress, and a parish Mission to look forward to.

Congratulations and best wishes to Chris Lawlor, Knocknagun, Carrigkerry who celebrated her 94th birthday with family and friends on Thursday 22nd December.  We are all delighted to hear she is in good health and keeping interested in current happenings around the cross.

Congratulations to Breda Stokes from Cappagh G.A.A. Club who received the Gerard Mc Donnell Overall Contribution to Sport Award 2011 in Limerick County Hall on Tuesday 20th December. Breda’s mother, Mary Hennessy, is a native of Ballyloughane, Carrigkerry and comes from a sporting family also. Breda has given 18 years of dedicated service to the sport in her role as secretary and chairperson. She helped to establish Bórd na nÓg, and has given huge commitment to the club and is a deserving recipient of the Award.

We note the progress of James Magner with Melbourne F.C. in the Australian Football League. He is the son of John Magner from Killeedy and the former Breda O’Connell from Glensharrold, Carrigkerry. John comes from a great hurling family and Breda is a niece of the late poet and novelist Eithne Strong.  The family emigrated to Australia, in 1986 and apart from a period of time spent back in Ireland has made Australia their home. Continued success to James in his sporting career.

The annual Christmas Raffle, in aid of Coolcappa Community Centre, took place on Wednesday 14th December. Thanks to everyone who supported the draw and congratulations to the lucky winners.

1st Prize-€200 Estuary Fuel Voucher:         Karen Broderick, Kilcolman.

2nd Prize-Christmas Hamper:                          Anne Larkin, Coolcappa.

3rd Prize-Brandy + Christmas Cake:               Eoghan O’Grady, Coolcappa.

4th Prize-Whiskey+Biscuits:                            Chrissie Roche, Tournafulla.

Additional prizes of wine and sweets were won by Fr. Mullane, Ben Hough, Coolcappa, Anne Dunne, Newcastle West and Mary Smyth, Cooltomin.

Congratulations to two local winners in the Saint Mary’s/ Sean Finns G.A.A. Club Christmas Draw. Paddy Molyneaux, Ardagh won Turkey +Ham, and Michael Barry, Rathgonan  won 10 Lottery Tickets.

The death has taken place of Tom McCarthy, Newcastle West, and late of Rooskagh, Carrigkerry at Beechwood Nursing Home, Newcastle West, on Saturday 17th December. He had been in declining health for the past 18 months or so and he was only 60 years old. He was a very well known figure in the entertainment circuit and was a noted guitar player and singer who specialized in country and Irish music. He was a character of renown who could mix with young and old and time went very quickly when you were in his company. He was a gentleman who was kind and courteous to all and gave freely of his time and talents at various fundraising events over the years. Tom packed a lot of living into his cut short life, and left his mark on the music industry which was very close to his heart. His death one day after the passing of legendary fiddle player and singer, Johnny Donegan from Dromcollogher, has robbed West Limerick of two of its leading singers and musicians who would have performed together on stage on occasions. His music and songs included in his cassette tape will live on as a lasting legacy to Tom affectionately known as the Rooskagh Cowboy. Tom was born and reared at the top of Rooskagh, at one of the highest points above sea level in County Limerick. He was the eldest in a family of six to the late Joe and Margaret, and he attended Ballyloughane National School sadly closed since 1969. He grew up in this lovely scenic part of West Limerick and enjoyed the freedom of the wide open spaces with his brothers, sisters and friends. He enjoyed hunting and fishing and playing football and soccer, as outdoor pursuits, and the game of pool,  the deck of cards, and his beloved music. He played with Villa Rovers soccer club in Ardagh and was on the very first team that played in the Desmond League, in 1978. He was a Liverpool supporter and enjoyed the goal scoring skills of Kenny Daglish, Ian Rush and John Aldridge. Tom spent a while in England in the early eighties and told some wonderful tales of his time there. On his return to his native shore he went working in Aughinish Alumina in Askeaton. He got married to Rose and he settled in Newcastle West and they were blessed with the birth of their son Martin.

His music career saw him perform on stage with many of the leading artists and he was a very popular entertainer around the West Limerick venues and especially in his own Carrigkerry. His songs were played on a regular basis on West Limerick Community Radio by the late Mike Enright and Murt Downes, amongst others. We will fondly recall The Old School Yard, My Old Sligo Home, In My Father’s House and Lovely Glenagowen. It was a pity Tom was not recorded by Pat O’Donovan for his programme “A Story and a Song” on West Limerick Radio, as it would be most interesting to hear about his lifetime exploits. At the height of his popularity Tom had the misfortune to suffer a stroke and to lose his independence. His friend George Langan, who resides in Dublin, composed and recorded a song “Rooskagh’s Travelling Man” about Tom last summer. His friends also rallied around and organized a fundraising Concert at The Courtney Lodge, earlier this year, which he attended and enjoyed and which was a great success.

His remains were removed from Reidy’s Funeral Home, Newcastle West, to Saint Mary’s Church, Carrigkerry on Tuesday evening the 20th. Fr Larry Madden P.P. Ardagh/Carrigkerry and Fr Richard Keane P.P. Newcastle West Concelebrated his Funeral Mass on Wednesday morning in front of a large attendance. Family members assisted in the Celebration of Tom’s life and the ceremony was enriched by the music and song performed by the many entertainers present. Family friend John paid him a moving tribute and Donie sang Tom’s most requested song

“Lovely Glenagowan” as his coffin awaited its final journey from the Church to the waiting hearse.  He was laid to musical rest in Ardagh Cemetery with his native Rooskagh hill in the background on Wednesday 21st December.

We extend our sympathy to his son Martin, brothers Jody, Jeremiah, John, sisters Anne and Mary, Rose, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and friends. Tom will be sadly missed by his family and friends and by all who were lucky to have known him and like the Liverpool Anthem “May he never walk alone”.  Rest in Peace.

From Ashgrove road to sweet Old Mill, steep valleys can be seen,

You have Rooskagh east and Rooskagh west, and Corkscrew hill between,

From Barrett’s yard you can stand and hear the music thrilling down,

It brings back the scenes of bygone days, to lovely Glenagowan.

The death has taken place of Mike Cosgrave, Birmingham and late of Doncaha, Kilcolman. Interment took place in Birmingham. Sympathy to his sons and daughters and their extended families, relatives and friends May he rest in Peace.

The death has also taken place of Mary O’Connor (nee O’Dea) wife of the late Jim, at her residence Glenastar, Ardagh. She had been in declining health in recent years, but was well cared for by family and the nursing staff which enabled her to remain in her own home. She was a native of Knocklong, and one of five in family to the late Peter and Cissie. The family moved to Rathkeale to live and Mary was educated there. She was employed in various jobs over her working life. She married her husband Jim from Glenastar in 1972 and they set up home in Ballingarry. They moved to Glenastar in the eighties and they were blessed with three daughters and a son. Jim, who suffered from ill health, sadly passed away in 1996 and Mary was left on her own to raise her family. She passed this test with flying colours and her family are a credit to her efforts. Her positive outlook and her sense of fun was much admired and spoken about. Her house was made welcome to all callers and it became a second home to many over the years. She was a most enthusiastic card player and many stories were told about her exploits. She was a regular Church attender while able and welcomed Fr Madden and Holy Communion when she became house bound. Mary liked a simple lifestyle and appreciated very much any turn or favour done for her. She will be sadly missed by her family, relatives, neighbours and friends, and the large attendance at her removal, and burial was testament to her popularity.

Her remains reposed at Reidy’s Funeral Home, Newcastle West, before removal to Saint Molua’s Church, Ardagh, on Wednesday night last. The Requiem Mass was concelebrated by Fr Larry Madden P. P. assisted by Fr Phonsie Cullinane P.P. Rathkeale . Family members assisted in the ceremony and Peter paid Mary a lovely tribute before the closing prayers. Ann-Marie’s hymns were uplifting and the Church was full to pay their final respects to the family. We extend our sympathy to her daughters Suzanne, Denise, and Grainne, son Paul, brothers, sisters, extended family members, relative’s neighbours and friends.  May she rest in Peace.

We extend our sympathy also to Dick Woulfe and family Dunganville, Ardagh, on the death of his sister-in-law Margaret Cahill,  Clouniskehane, Cork Road, Newcastle West on Thursday 22nd December. Margaret was a very interesting and popular lady who will be sadly missed. May she rest in Peace.

We were also saddened to hear of the death of Joe Downes, Newcastle West, the former owner of the Olympic Ballroom and The River Room Motel. He was a true gentleman  and a friend to all who provided an outlet for people to enjoy themselves and to see and meet the top Showband stars of the time. May he rest in Peace.

Sympathy also to Joan Mulvihill and family, Monamohill, on the death of her father Paddy Power in Askeaton. May he rest in Peace.