by Pat Brosnan


Cool Water

Back in the 1950’s there was a popular song doing the rounds on radio programmes and in the dance halls at the time called “Clear Cool Water”. So far as we are aware it was a song of American origin which some of our Irish singers adapted and made their own and like more songs and times of that period it had a lively and catchy beat to it and the words fitted in with the air. Who would ever have dreamed in those now far off days that the time would come when water would be charged for in this country and where the cost of supplying it from a public service would become an issue. Even in those far more difficult times there never was a question of residents in cities, towns or villages having to pay for their water supply.  The same of course applied to the dust bin waste disposal service, the Fire Service and so forth all provided free for householders by the local Authorities. Of course in those days there were rates on every holding but people paid up without any question because they knew that they were getting good value in the services which the County Councils provided. It was also the source of many different forms of employment such as rate collectors, office workers and of course many road workers and Council machinery operators such as steamrollers, stone crushers, drivers and their assistant stokers. These jobs provided some of us with our first worthwhile employment and the late Dan (Monie) Keane was also employed as a stoker around the same time as well.  But to get back to the question of water charges there should be no need whatsoever for these, as this is a country in which there is an abundant supply of water because of  all the rain we get and in which there is seldom if ever a prolonged drought. We are surely one of the most advantaged areas in Europe as far as the supply and distribution of water is concerned.  In the old days every village and town had its own Water Station. We remember those in Knocknagoshel, Glin, Castleisland and of course there was one in Athea where the late Sean Liston was in charge. As well as that there was a good supply of pumps in each town and village of good clean and fresh water from which people could draw as much water as they needed. We well remember the fountain in Castleisland where local people used to bring their buckets regularly to take it home for domestic use, as perhaps they considered it better than the tap water for making tea, cooking and other household purposes. There was also a lovely freshwater fountain alongside the Church in Adare where anybody could slake their thirst or take home the water for drinking and all for free.  Unfortunately these great local facilities have been dismantled in recent years by the local Councils even long before there was any signs of a recession. Then of course many people buy the bottled water because they do not like the tap water they are getting because of the strong taste of fluoride which is added to the water apparently to prevent tooth decay.  So far anyway people in rural areas where there is a gravity flow of water coming into their homes from a shallow spring well as well as those of us who have bored artisan wells and a pure clean and reliable source of domestic water coming into our houses are fortunate in having our own supply and not having to depend on the County Councils.  It is well known that in the big majority of where the private wells are situated the quality of the water is far superior to that which comes out of the taps. All credit to the manufacturers of the various brands of bottled water for which there is obviously a big demand and provides employment for a limited number of people in the production and distribution of the product.  Nevertheless it is my belief as well as that of many other people that the water that comes out of our own wells in rural areas is far better than the public supply, or even that of the manufactured product.  And probably the best part of it all is that the only meter that we have to watch is the electricity one, so that we can take stock of the small amount of power that it takes to operate our water pumps and bring it into our bathrooms and sculleries.  In the meantime my firm belief is that water  which is such a plentiful resource in this country should be made freely available to everyone in the same way that it has been in far poorer and more difficult times. The plain fact is that the population of the country has not greatly increased since former times apart from the influx of foreign nationals, but this again is balanced by emigration of so many of our own young talented people to other lands.  So why then outside of Dublin and its surrounding towns should there be such a big demand and warning of shortages that the powers that be are telling us about resources. Basically there is plenty water in this country so long as the supply is properly utilised. That is a matter for the Government and the Local Authorities to deal with and is something for which the population should not be asked to pay for. Now after writing on the subject for the past few hours it is time for me to go and have a drink of Knocknagorna “clear cool water” of which, thank God, there is no shortage here and which we all hope it will remain that way.  My younger brother Ando was in charge of the Kerry County Council Water Station in Lyreacrompane for several years before he retired. Water from the Smearla River was processed there and supplied the needs of several areas of North Kerry. At one stage there was a proposal to build a dam to harness the water from the Smearla into a reservoir but after a great deal of discussion, inspections and planning the idea did not go ahead for various reasons. This seemed to be a wrong decision as a reservoir in the Smearla Valley would have been a great asset to the region of North Kerry both for private and industrial purposes. But like many another hopeful project in North Kerry it all fell through, just like all the hopes and false promises of bringing major industries at the time of the purchase of the Shannonside Landbank, all of which eventually came to nothing. By all accounts there is now a proposal and plans in the pipeline to bring a Gas Terminal to the Tarbert area. Will this become a reality or will it become another myth like many of the previous pie in the sky projects. It is only time will tell, but people will still  have to live in hope.


Late Kathleen Reidy

The death of Kathleen Reidy (nee Coffey), Upper Athea, which occurred during the week, was widely regretted throughout the parish; other parts of Limerick and Kerry and further afield. Deceased who was a native of Muckross near Killarney had lived in Upper Athea for several years and was a highly regarded member of the local community. She was pre deceased by her husband Tommy in 2009 and had been ill for some time prior to her passing. Kathleen and Tommy raised a lovely family who took part in many local cultural and sporting activities and who were very well liked.  Large numbers of people called to the Reidy homestead to pay their respects and condolences to the family on Wednesday evening. The removal to St Bartholomew’s Church for Requiem Mass on Thursday morning and the funeral afterwards to Holy Cross Cemetery were also well attended. Sympathy is extended to her sons, daughters, grandchildren, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brother-in-law, her own family members in Muckross and other relatives. ‘May her soul rest in peace’.


High Heels and Jewellery

One of the latest restrictions coming from the European Union relates to Hairdressers who in future are forbidden to wear high heeled shoes or jewellery while on duty. Naturally this would apply to female hairdressers as it is unlikely that men who are employed at hairdressing would be wearing these kinds of shoes or jewellery, but then who knows? One wonders if ear rings and other rings are specified in the ban. Anyway it all reminded us of that famous song by the late and great Thade Gowran who composed “High Heeled Shoes” which was not complementary to the ladies who wore them. Perhaps Thade would have agreed with the EU Ban on this kind of footwear if it was in his time.