“A Quiet Christmas”

Christmas in Athea was celebrated in the traditional manner and while the shops, local Post Office and the postmen had a busy time prior to Christmas things were generally quiet over the holiday period. The only Wrenboys who were active on St. Stephen’s Day we the local batch who went out as usual with their captain Jack Quaid. The time seems to be gone when children no longer go hunting the wren. The ‘trick or treat’ custom on Halloween seems to have replaced the Wren as far as children are concerned and that seems to be a pity that this fine old custom has practically died out.

There was a big congregation at the local Church on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas morning, when many received the sacraments over the festive period. It is believed that the number returning from abroad for Christmas was not quite as many as in former years. Nevertheless there was still a good gathering of the exiles who returned to the parish during Christmas.

While the local public houses were reported to have done a reasonably good trade, the recession still seems to be affecting the number of people who came out drinking because of the fact that many people now prefer home drinking. While this perhaps is due mainly to the driving restrictions or because of the austerity regime, people do not have as much money to spend as they did in former days. In spite of all this, the Christmas atmosphere and spirit in Athea parish and surrounding areas was still as much in evidence as ever.

The St. Stephen’s Day Storm

As in all other parts of the country on the evening of St. Stephen’s Day and throughout that night, Athea was of course affected, though not to the same extent as in other areas. Thankfully no accidents have been reported here and much praise is due to those who had to travel, some a long distance, to work to keep the public services going over the holiday period. A number of tees were blown down throughout the parish but other than that no great damage is reported. There was a power outage in the early hours of Friday morning but power was quickly restored.


Our sympathy is extended to all those local people and throughout the extended area during the course of the year who lost their loved ones. May their souls rest in peace.

 New Year Wishes

Best wishes for 2014 to all the readers of this column. To Domhnall and Lillian for their help and co-operation throughout the year. Also to all the other people who helped in compiling this column, without their co-operation it would not have been possible. Wishing everybody a happy and peaceful New Year.

2013 was a year when, once again, thankfully we got a good summer, when work on the farm and in the bogs was much more possible than in previous years. The weather this year, which held up fine and mild all the way up to Christmas and made up for a lot of the weather during previous years when we got frost, snow, rain and storms. In the previous two years we got everything possible in the way of bad weather which caused awful hardship and expense to the farming community. At least 2013 brought a change for the better in spite of the austerity which has been imposed on the people of the country. There is no doubt that the weather plays an important role in the lives of the rural community in particular.

In the international scene as usual there were some horrific wars particularly the war in Syria which has caused awful hardship and many deaths to the people of that troubled land. It was a good job that the Americans and the British did not intervene because of the opposition by the Chinese and Russian people against them doing so. As in every other country, it is only the people of Syria that can settle their own affairs.

In our own country as already stated the austerity and harsh budgeting continued but perhaps it could have been worse but for the fact that the local elections and European elections are being held early this coming summer.

Hurling dominated the sporting scene in Limerick this past summer and autumn, but it was very disappointing when they lost to Clare n the All-Ireland semi-final after beating Tipperary and Cork in the Munster Championship. The footballers on the other hand showed little enthusiasm in the Munster Championship and were beaten in every game.

In our own parish things went on as usual and there was rejoicing at the success of the Tidy Towns in the competition.

In sporting circles as well there was a lot of success particularly in football, soccer and basketball as well as in the Community Games. It was good to see some of the local footballers reach County standard. It is expected that hopefully during the coming year there will be further success in the sporting arena. Congratulations to all the people who helped to achieve success during the past year and to all who passed examinations and particularly those who graduated in their chosen fields.


Congratulations to Shane Sullivan, Knocknagorn, son of Johnny and Margaret Sullivan, who was recently engaged to Lisa O’Connor, daughter of Tom and Teresa O’Connor, Hillside Drive, Athea. Best wishes for the future to both of them.

Gun Club

Athea Gun Club members have extended thanks to everybody who supported their Christmas fundraising draw. The money will be invested in re-stocking and providing food for the pheasants who are being looked after by the Club.

Credit Union

By all accounts the Annual General Meeting of the local Credit Union attracted a good attendance. Sorry that some of us were unable to attend. The Credit Union has been one of the most successful organisations in the parish since its foundation in 1968. Timmy Woulfe presided, as usual, and stated that even though the past year was quite difficult in aspects of changes, internal Audits and the qualifications needed to become an officer of the local Credit Union, which was stated to be  very sound financially. John O’Connell and John Joe Barrett who retired recently after several years of service were a great loss to the organisation. Des O’Donnell, Auditor, dealt with the financial report and stated that Athea Credit Union was doing very well and was compliant in comparison to other Credit Unions. He thanked Timmy Woulfe and the other officers for all their hard work during the year, but regretted that Timmy Woulfe, unfortunately, has to move on now due to new rules concerning the years spent in a position.

The Journals

Both the Athea and Ballyguiltenane Rural Journals are still on sale in all the usual outlets in Athea and elsewhere. The Athea Journal  in its 25th edition is better than ever with many interesting articles including the GAA, Soccer Club, Comhaltas, Athea Coiste na nÓg, Athea Golfing Society, Community Games, Tidy Towns, Knockdown Vintage Club, Athea Community Council and many more items of local and general interest and also a wide range of beautiful photographs in full colour.

The Ballyguiltenane Journal too is up to its usual high quality with many writers from various parts of the county and beyond. Both Journals contain an obituary of the late Mickey Kiely who is a native of Knocknagorna and who died in early September of last year. Mickey had left Knocknagorna in his early youth and had worked in England for several years before returning and settling in Clonmel where he and his late wife Sheila raised a lovely family.