Athea Utd, Limerick Desmond Schoolboys League  U14 Div 3 Champions 2015

Athea Utd, Limerick Desmond Schoolboys League
U14 Div 3 Champions 2015

Afternoon Tea Dance 

The monthly afternoon tea dance takes place in Fr. Casey’s on Sunday, April 12 with dancing to the Seamus Sheehy Band.  Dancing 3-6pm, teas served, raffle. Proceeds to the O’Neill Lane Memorial Fund.

Children’s Drama Classes 

Children’s Drama Classes will resume on Friday, April 17th at the Top of the Town. 5 to 8 year olds from 7-8 pm and 9 to 13 year olds from 8-9pm.

Volunteers Wanted

Got a spare a couple of hours a week? Do you want to Learn New Skills, Improve your English, Get your Leg on the first rung of the Retail Ladder, Make new Friends, Want to give something back to your local community? Why not get in touch and find out more about volunteering with us, drop in to our store for details.
Sue Ryder Store, Maiden St., Newcastle West.

Changes in rural Ireland

Getting older has a kind of sobering effect on me. The mad rush of life has slowed to a walk, or at least a modest trot, as the need to do everything at once diminishes. It is nice to be at a stage in life when the children are reared, the mortgage is paid off and you no longer dread the sight of an official looking letter in the hallway. There is more time to appreciate the good things in life and look with fresh eyes on the beauty of our countryside which for years was taken for granted. There is no doubt that Ireland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world with breathtaking scenery from one coast to the other. To really appreciate it one has to live somewhere else for a while. It is no wonder that so many songs and poems in praise of Ireland were written by exiles who yearned for there own land while living in concrete jungles. Driving through the country, one finds beautiful small towns and villages populated by close-knit communities who have a great pride in their own place but for how long is this going to be the case?

There are great changes taking place that threaten the very existence of small towns and villages as we know them. Until a few years ago all these were self sufficient. There were all kinds of shops selling whatever was needed whether it be the basic groceries, clothing or hardware. There was also an abundance of public houses where people relaxed with a drink or two at the weekend or after a hard day’s work. There was usually a creamery which brought farmers from the locality to town every day and, apart from the social interaction, they seldom left without buying a paper or a loaf of bread or some other item in the local shops.  Not any more.

The creamery was one of the first to go. “Progress” meant the big co-ops taking over the milk collection and farmers no longer needed to leave their homes to deliver the milk. This hit local shops in a big way but there was worse to come. The arrival of the big supermarkets in nearby bigger towns made it very difficult for the small shops to compete and one by one most of them closed down. A few remain as convenience stores but there are now some villages who have no shop at all. The Garda Stations closed or are only manned for an hour a day. The next under threat were the post offices. Most of the smaller ones are closed and many more are under threat. The loss of a post office is a big blow to a small community. When people came to town to collect their pensions, dole or other monies they spent it locally. Now they have to travel to the bigger towns to do their business, another blow to the economy. The number of pubs has been whittled down as well due to the downturn in the number of people attending, even at weekends. So, where once we had streets full of shops, the butchers, drapers, hardware merchants etc. are all closing down, never again to open.

We have been lucky in Athea. Yes, we have lost a lot but we still have a couple of shops, a few pubs, a hairdresser, a garage, a post office, credit union, a doctor’s surgery and a chemist. Compare this with Mountcollins or Tournafulla where there are no shops whatsoever, no post office and just the one pub. We must fight to keep what we have and make sure the services that we need and enjoy remain. This means supporting local enterprise wherever possible. Things may be cheaper in the big supermarket but when you factor in the cost of travelling and the things you buy that you had no intention of buying when leaving the house there might not be such a difference. Try it!

Domhnall de Barra