Death of Liam Murphy 

The unexpected death of Liam Murphy of Gortnagross, which occurred in the Regional Hospital, Limerick recently, was widely regretted throughout the parish, other areas of West Limerick, North Kerry and further afield.  For the Murphy family it was a very sad double  bereavement as their mother Hannah had also been laid to rest only a couple of weeks prior to Liam’s death. Liam was a member of the highly regarded Murphy family of Athea most of whom have now gone to their eternal reward. Two of his brothers, who also lived in Athea, died within the last few years. His late sister Margaret was married to John Geoghegan a local man who was killed in the Congo in the early 1960’s when serving with the Irish soldiers of the United Nations Forces in that far off country.  Liam was a well liked member of the local community and he and Hannah raised a large and lovely family in their home in Gortnagross where there was always a welcome and hospitality for friends and neighbours who called to visit. We also remember Liamie calling to our place in Knocknagorna with the Wrenboys and doing a bit of step-dancing.  Before the removal to St Bartholomew’s Church on Monday evening March 4th a large crowd assembled at Kelly’s Funeral Home, Athea to pay their respects and sympathise with the family. There was also a big attendance at the Requiem Mass on Tuesday and at the funeral in the afternoon to Holy Cross Cemetery.  Sympathy is extended to Liam’s sons, daughters, grandchildren, sisters, his in-laws, nieces, nephews, other relatives. ‘May his soul rest in peace’.

Athea Drama Group

By all accounts Athea Drama Group are now rehearsing for their next production “Many Young Men of Twenty” by John B. Keane. It will be recalled that this was the first play performed by the local drama group after it was revived several years ago. But of course like most of John B. Keane’s plays “Many Young Men of Twenty” is timeless and can generate the same interest this time around as it did last time it was performed in Athea all those years ago.  For those of us who took part with Athea Drama Group in the staging of this particular production it will revive many memories, some happy others sad. A number of people who were associated with the production on that occasion have since gone to their eternal reward Late John Joe O’Connor and Jimmy and Mary Dee who both died at such a young age. Best wishes to the Drama Group on the staging of this great production and much success with it. No doubt there will be the usual interest by the many people who always enjoy a well acted stage play.

Lenten Practices

With Lent 2013 now coming to an end in a couple of weeks time the minority of people who gave up something for Lent can now look forward to having a bit of a splurge as soon as Easter comes around. For instance if there is somebody who has abstained from alcohol during Lent would he be inclined to take a couple of extra drinks on Easter Sunday, that is of course if he is not driving.  Anyone who gives up smoking for Lent and can do without his daily cigarettes for seven weeks should by then be well aware that it is not alone possible to conquer the habit but that it is in fact easier than he thought it might be.  It might seem a bit foolish to go back smoking again after doing without for a whole seven weeks, but to be honest was not that what we all used to do until the time that we gave up smoking for good.  While the drink and the smokes were usually the things that adults talked about giving up for Lent it was also a time that children were encouraged to abstain from sweets, chocolates and so forth. Of course all the voluntary fasting and self-denial were in addition to the laws of fast and abstinence imposed by the Church which all Catholics were expected to obey unless they were sick, old or feeble. When these laws were relaxed a comparatively short time ago a lot of the voluntary acts of penance seemed also to go as well. So while there are still many Catholics young and older who give up drinking alcohol and smoking during Lent there are others who prefer to do works of charity such as visiting the sick or contributing to Third World Charities such as Trocaire and others. While there was a certain degree of sham about giving up smoking and alcohol for Lent we all have known those who expected admiration for their bravery, they would go into a bar and order an orange or lemonade so that everyone would know and admire their commitment in having given up their usual number of pints per night during Lent. Others wanted the whole world to know that they had given up smoking. Not indeed that there was anything bad about such people they were just being a bit childish.  One can still hear an occasional silly tale about what people give up for Lent. We read recently in a newspaper article where a young  girl student had given up “Facebook” for the whole seven weeks. It might have been all a joke but if not we hope that this lonely young girl will be rewarded for such good example.

Late Billy Casey

The death of William (Billy) Casey of Lower Athea which occurred during the weekend was widely regretted by people all over Athea area and other parts of the county as well as in Kerry.  Billy, who was a farmer, was a member of a highly respected local family some of whom had emigrated in their earlier years. He had been ill for some time prior to his death and had been cared for in a Tralee hospital during recent weeks. Billy was pre-deceased by his late wife Kathleen some years ago after they had raised a lovely family together. Many people from Athea Parish and several other areas of West Limerick, Kerry and beyond called to the Casey home over the weekend to pay their respects and express sympathy with the family. The removal to St Bartholomew’s Church, Athea took place on Sunday morning prior to the Requiem Mass at which there was a big attendance. The funeral on Sunday afternoon to Holy Cross cemetery was also well attended. Sympathy is extended to his son, daughters, grandchildren, his sister, nephews, nieces, his in-laws and other relatives. ‘May his soul rest in peace’.