Christmas Celebrations 

While there was nothing unusual happening in Athea Parish over the Christmas period it was all more or less celebrated in the ordinary traditional spirit. On the run-up to the Festival the local post office and the postmen had a busy time dealing with the huge volume of mail to be delivered. Despite the recession and all the cut-backs most things associated with Christmas seemed to proceed as normal. The few shops that are still left in Athea appeared to do a good trade prior to the final day for shopping and the local bars were also reported to have a busy time.  There was a packed congregation in St Bartholomew’s Church for the Vigil Mass including many of the exiles who were home from other parts of the country where they live. Hundreds received the Sacraments both at the Vigil Mass and the Christmas morning Masses. The choir also performed well. Apart from the main group of Athea Wren Boys and girls who were out on the evening of Christmas day and again on St Stephens Day, other than these the Wren boys throughout the rural areas of the local district were virtually non-existent. It certainly looks as if this great tradition has sadly faded out in this part of West Limerick where once it was so strong and such an integral part of the Christmas festivities.  Even the children and young teenagers who were operating this fine old custom up to a few years ago now appear to have left the scene and the roll of bodhrán and the music of the accordion are no longer echoing throughout the rural country side on St Stephen’s Day. It looks as if the Wren has now been replaced among the younger generation by the American inflicted Trick or Treat custom which has taken on here in recent years. This custom may be fine for young people in its own environment throughout the United States, but here it is an alien custom and has none of the magic, glamour and excitement of the Wren Boys. Many people in the locality were down with colds and chest infections during the Christmas period, but thankfully the weather has been mild unlike the last two Christmas times when snow, ice and frozen roads were such a hazard. At least we will now be looking forward to the lengthening days again.


 Best Wishes

Congratulations and best wishes for every good luck and happiness to Timmy Ahern, Gale Bridge and Joanne Murphy, Upper Athea who were married before Christmas.

World Debating Finals

Ordhlaith Sheehy, daughter of Kieran and Hannah Sheehy (nee Roche) of Dublin and both natives of Athea, was this week competing in Manilla, the Philippines, in the World University Debating Championships representing Trinity College Dublin Philosophical Society.

An Unusual Sunday

This past Sunday, which was also of course New Year’s Day, was rather unusual in the fact that it was not only a new day, but it was also the first day of a new week, the first day of a new month and of a new year, something which does not occur all that often.


New Driving Regulations

While drink driving regulations and over speeding are understandable in the interests of road safety and provided the Gardaí are instructed to use their discretion and common sense in each individual case, most of these will be welcomed by the general public if they can be seen to save lives and prevent road accidents. however the Authorities would also do well to ensure that some of these new regulations are not perceived as petty and niggling and are not being used needlessly as a sly means of generating income for the Exchequer by way of fines rather than the purpose of road safety. In the meantime we will have to wait and see how the situation develops.

Recent Deaths

The death occurred before Christmas of Philomena Cusack, Cratloe West. Deceased, who was a retired teacher, was in failing health for some time prior to her passing. Phil was a highly esteemed member of the local community and her death has been widely regretted by her family members, relatives, friends and neighbours.  She had been pre-deceased by her husband Donie only a short time ago. The removal took place to the Church of the Assumption, Abbeyfeale and the funeral from there after Requiem Mass on Christmas Eve was attended by a large number of people from near and far who had come to pay their respects.  Sympathy is extended to her family members and other relatives. ‘May her soul rest in peace’.

The death also occurred over Christmas of Patrick (Paddy) Dalton, Glenagragra. Deceased, who had been a member of the local farming community, was a well-liked resident of the area and his death has been regretted. The removal took place from his home to Glin Church and his funeral after Requiem Mass there was well attended. Sympathy is extended to his wife, family and other relatives.  ‘May his soul rest in peace’

The tragic death of Brendan Shine of Finnoe, Ballyhahill which occurred a few days prior to Christmas was widely regretted. Brendan, who was a single man living alone, was related to a number of people in this locality. Sympathy is extended to his near family members and other relatives. ‘May his soul rest in peace’ 

Ceol Luimnigh Night

On the Wednesday night before Christmas some members of the Ceol Luimnigh Traditional Group entertained the patients of St Ita’s Hospital, Newcastle West with music, songs, poetry recitals and dancing which also included the customary visit from Santa and Mrs.  Claus. The event was as usual sponsored by Newcastle West Red Cross Society Branch represented by Pat Dalton, Chairman and Josie O’Keeffe. The Ceol Luimnigh performers visited all the various wards where the entertainment provided was much appreciated by both patients and staff. The following members performed on the night- Tom O’Donoghue, Martin Enright, Mary O’Keeffe, Irene Quaid, Con Warren, Con Fitzgerald, Con Herbert, Brian Murphy, Pat Dalton, and Josie O’Keeffe. MC – Pat Brosnan. 


West Limerick Set Dancing Club will hold a Céilí at the Devon Inn Hotel on this Sunday afternoon January 8th starting at 4pm. Music by Mountain Road and everybody welcome.

Old Moore’s

Old Moore’s Almanac which is now on sale has predicted Donegal to win this year’s All-Ireland Football and Tipperary to win the Hurling. Last year it predicted Kilkenny’s win in Hurling but missed out on Cork for the football which of course Dublin won.


Happy New Year

A Happy New Year to all readers and friends.