Athea Utd U10 Division 4 League Champions 2015

Athea Utd U10 Division 4 League Champions 2015

Athea Fishing Club A.G.M.

The Club will hold their AGM on next Friday night at the Top of the Town at 9.30pm sharp. All interested anglers are requested to attend. Permits will be on sale shortly in our usual outlets.

Reminding anglers:- A new fishing tackle shop has opened in Glin. It is situated at the bottom of the town where the AIB Bank used to be. Tight lines and all the very best for the 2015/2016 season.


Athea St. Joseph’s Young Priest’s Society A.G.M. 

Next meeting on Monday, 20th April A.G.M.  All promoters are requested to attend if possible. And new members very welcome.

A touch of Spring

The weather over the holidays took a sudden turn for the better with some lovely sunshine and a feeling of Spring in the air. Though the mornings were frosty it didn’t interfere with the dawn chorus as all the birds seemed to all sing at once. It is a fantastic time of the year with everything coming to life and signs of rebirth everywhere. One night I looked out my back window and saw a fire over on the “cnockeens”. It reminded me of long ago when mountains were always set on fire at this time of year to get rid of the old growth and make way for the green grass that would grow afterwards. The burning was always controlled and of course there was no forestry in the area to worry about. Hardy Kerry cows loved the grass that grew after the fire and I am told that there was a higher butter yield from the milk. A couple of days after I saw the fire I walked up the mountain to see what damage it had done. Thankfully it seemed to have avoided the forests and just burned the turf banks.  Any turf left in the bogs was in ashes but  while looking at the ground I realised what harm has been done by the use of turf-cutting machines over the years. Where the bog has been cut out there is only what can be described as wasteland in very uneven small mounds.  When the turf was cut with the sleán the bog was stripped first and the stripping sods were laid, exactly as they came off the bank, in the bog hole. By doing this, the turf cutters left the surface of the bog as they found it with no damage to the plant life. When the area was all finally cut away the bogland  looked exactly as it did before the first sod was removed. The old people knew how to look after the mountain and leave it for the use and enjoyment of future generations. Peatlands contain a variety of plants including; Bilberry, Foxglove, Bog Cotton, Forget-Me-Nots, Gorse, Hawkweed, Sorrel, Sage, Sundew, Violet, Thistle, Heath, Vetch, Crowfoot, Speedwell, Skulcap, Bedstraw, Bog Asphodel, Cushweed, Dodder and Giant Rhubarb to name but  few. There are also some carnivorous plants that attract and swallow flies and insects. These include Sundews, Butterworts and Bladderworts. The Bladderworts float on the surface of bog holes while the other two grow among the moss and heather. They all attract their prey by the beauty of their colours.

Imagine destroying all this beauty. It is happening as I write these few lines and it is such a pity.  Many bogs have been preserved but nobody wants to see this happen as people need to harvest the turf for winter firing. Perhaps there could be some pressure brought to bear on the machine owners to do as the people before them did and take a little care with the surface of the bogs and leave them as they found them. It is not good enough to dig holes with diggers and destroy plants that have evolved over the centuries. I have come to love the boglands in recent years having hated them as a youth. The reason I did not like them was that, due to the fact that my father had a lorry and sold turf, we spent our entire summers footing, re-footing, heaping, drawing out and filling turf into the lorry. It was backbreaking work, especially footing. I didn’t notice much beauty in those days I can tell you but as the years  flew by I came to appreciate the sounds smell and sights of the bog. There is no finer place to be on a sunny day in spring or early summer and now, thanks to the windmills, we have fine roadways from Knocknaboul to Keale through the heart of the mountain. If you haven’t already done so, take a stroll there one day. You won’t regret it.

Domhnall de Barra