A Quiet Halloween

This year, for a somewhat welcome change, the Halloween Festival appears to have passed off quietly enough in the towns and villages of West Limerick. We have not heard on this occasion thankfully of any major incidents of vandalism or anti-social behaviour that was in evidence a few years ago in Newcastle West and even usually quiet villages such as Athea and Carrigkerry, when it became commonplace for teenage lawbreakers to celebrate Halloween by all kinds of rowdyism designed to intimidate and create terror and panic among ordinary decent law-abiding people when teenagers and even younger gang members roamed the streets of West Limerick towns and villages disguised in their hoodies, throwing stones, eggs and other kinds of dangerous missiles at passing motorists with the intention of causing a crash. As well as that it was not unusual to see burning bangers thrown into shops, bars and even private houses in local towns and villages and also under cars with the intention of setting these vehicles on fire. This year however most of the celebrations appear to have been low key, so whether this was due to greater vigilance by the Gardaí, Community Alert, Neighbourhood Watch and the County Council it appears to have had a neutralising effect in preventing much of the blackguardism that occurred in previous years. Apparently a ten foot high bonfire which had been prepared for lighting on Halloween in Askeaton was dismantled by Council workers in alliance with the Gardaí as it was estimated that much of the bonfire material consisted of a lot of motor tyres which if burned in such a large quantity would be likely to cause toxic fumes to spread around the town and cause harm particularly to those suffering from asthma, cystic fibrosis or other respiratory conditions.

While the Gardaí and the County Council are to be complimented on removing this obnoxious material from the streets of Askeaton before it was set on fire it certainly does not mean that all bonfires consisting of far less harmful material should be banned because it is part of our tradition to celebrate having won football victories by lighting bonfires and the same was also true after political victories. In the old days St John’s Eve on June 23rd was often known as bonfire night and when we were growing up in North Kerry it was always a night to look forward to. The same was also true when we came to live in West Limerick when we would light bonfires in Knocknagorna and we would see others in Templeathea. It was a lovely sight in the twilight of a June evening to see the flames of these fires rising and the materials used were relatively harmless to the environment mostly a base of turf sods and withered bushes. Our own children and the other local children were fascinated with these bonfires when they were young and it was a pity that this fine old custom practically died out after it was supplanted by the Halloween bonfires.

In England Guy Fawkes night is celebrated on November 5th each year and the annual bonfires are all very much a part of it. Of course we all know that even the burning of rubbish in our own back yards is now strictly forbidden by our European masters. But by what we have heard in recent times this restriction is being widely ignored in England and people are lighting their bonfires in the back gardens in the same way that they have always done if what we have heard is true. Fair play to the English they have never allowed their people to become slaves to the European dictators ever since they joined the so-called Common Market all those years ago.  They have held onto their miles and their furlongs and more important still their currency at a time when our own Government recklessly joined the Euro zone and adopted the Euro currency which is now falling apart and is likely to go into liquidation if the present crises in so many Euro zone countries is not quickly resolved. In the meantime the Government here should be making preparations to find an alternative currency if the Euro will collapse.

Now that Halloween has, for the most part, passed quietly this year without any reports of serious incidents in the towns and villages of West Limerick all those people out there who helped to keep things peaceful and within the law deserve thanks for their efforts in keeping things under control. Halloween can be a lovely time of the year when people can celebrate and enjoy themselves in the company of family and friends just like we used to do when we were young with neighbours getting together for a party with snap apple, finding the ring in slices of Barm Brack and other harmless pastimes. Those were the days of which we of an older generation have many happy memories. Even now there is no harm in having an organised fireworks display provided that it is well supervised and controlled so that accidents would be prevented. What they do each year in Knocknagoshel is a prime example of how the Halloween Festival ought to be enjoyed. There they have a ghost walk, a fancy dress display and many other seasonal attractions where big numbers of people attend each year from all over Kerry as well as Cork, Limerick and beyond. This is an annual event in the hillside village which is well enjoyed by both adults and children and is something to look forward to each year.

November Masses

Big congregations attended the November Masses and devotions for the dead in the Parish at St Bartholomew’s Church during the past week. November is the special month of the Holy Souls during which we remember family members and our relatives, friends and neighbours who have gone before us and also to remember and pray for those who have died in our Parish during the past year.

Céilí Dancing

West Limerick Set Dancing Club will hold a Céilí at The Devon Inn Hotel on this Sunday afternoon at 4pm. Music by Striolán CéilíBand. Fáilte go léir

Late Michael Reidy

The unexpected death of Michael (Mick) Reidy of Glenagore, which occurred on October 21st at his home, was deeply regretted not alone by his immediate family and extended family but also by his other relatives, friends and neighbours in other areas of West Limerick, North Kerry and beyond. Mick and his late wife Peg (nee Sheehy) who pre deceased him in 2004 ran a thriving shop and petrol station at their home in Glenagore for many years. They also raised a lovely family who all did well for themselves. A big number of people from far and near attended the Reidy Home to pay their respects and offer their sympathy to the family. There was also a big congregation at the Requiem Mass in St Bartholomew’s Church and the funeral afterwards to Holy Cross Cemetery.

Sympathy is extended to his family and relatives on their bereavement. Mick had just turned 90 earlier this year. ‘May his soul rest in peace’.