Dick Woulfe, Gortnagross who celebrated his 80th birthday at the Devon Inn with his wife Peg and family

Dick Woulfe, Gortnagross who celebrated his 80th birthday at the Devon Inn with his wife Peg and family

Senior Citizens Afternoon Tea Party 

A senior citizens afternoon tea party will take place in the Top of the Town on Thursday, July 30th from 3 to 6pm sponsored by the Athea Village Festival Committee. This party is free of charge but if you wish to attend you must give your name to Rose at Brouder’s Shop, The Top of the Town or Peggy Casey on or before Sunday, July 26th as there will be food provided and the caterers need to know how many will attend. There will be music by Blue Rhythm and spot prizes plus a surprise.

Knock Annual Pilgrimage

Our annual pilgrimage to Knock, which had been much appreciated in the past, will leave Parochial Hall, Athea at 7.30am on Thursday, July 30th. Usual breakfast at Mother Hubbards on the way. Arriving home around 10pm. Book in at Brouder’s Shop as soon as possible. Spread the word, bring a friend. Adults €20 Juveniles €5.

Athea the launch of Athea GAA Gone to the Dogs

Athea the launch of Athea GAA Gone to the Dogs

Athea GAA Gone To The Dogs

 Saturday, August 15th 2015  

Athea GAA are holding a Night at the Dogs in August to raise funds for the upcoming Pitch Improvement Works. A great night out is anticipated at the Greyhound Track in Tralee. They are asking for sponsorship and tickets at €10 each will also be on sale which will include admission on the night and entry into the buster draw. More details on page 7.

Athea Village Festival

The festival will take place from30th July to Monday, 3rd August.

There will be something for everyone in the programme. Posters are going up shortly with all the details. It should be a great weekend.


Following a hugely successful run of Athea Drama Group’s Production of  the hilarious comedy ‘It’s the Real McCoy’ by Tommy Marren last spring and due to many requests for  repeat performances,  it has been decided to perform the play for two final nights during the Athea Village Festival on August 1st and 2nd at Con Colbert Hall, Athea at 8pm.

Set in rural Ireland in the 1960s, lady of the house Madge Molloy welcomes us into the Molloy household to share in the hilarious mishaps and surprising events that centre around Madge and her life over a two day period. With glimpses of John B. Keane and the characterisations of the Fr. Ted and Mrs Doyle genre, it will have the audiences in tears of laughter.

The cast features Angeline O’Donnell, Louise Ahern, Damien Ahern, Annette O Donnell, Edwina Sheehen, Michael O Connor and Oliver McGrath  under the direction of Annette O’ Donnell.

A combination of high drama and amazing Irish wit – ‘It’s The Real McCoy’ is not to be missed!

John Joe Barrett R.I.P.

JOHN JOE BARRETTA fairly sombre atmosphere pervades the Athea Credit Union office these days with the passing of John Joe Barrett. No wonder : it was  a death in the family of the Credit Union, someone who, above all others, was revered for nearly a half century of prudent management.

The story of the Credit Union began in a bitterly cold National School sometime in the Winter of 1968. No heat to keep warm : everybody in overcoats ! Indirectly the meeting, which was addressed by a Dublin group, was thought to raise funds to build the original Memorial Hall and was the brain-child of John O Connell.

It didn’t take long for our visitors to dissuade us from such a false notion; instead they persuaded us to form a study group with the intention of becoming  fully-fledged members of the Irish League of Credit Unions. John Joe Barrett was elected assistant treasurer to Garda Gerry Carey but he became Treasurer shortly afterwards when Gerry was transferred from Athea.

John Joe, at the time, was as wise as the rest of us about financial management. The only skill would have been obtained in Knocknagorna School, which was soon followed by emigration to England and, later the USA. He had the misfortune to be there at the time of the Korean War and to be conscripted into the National army. Little is known about his term in Korea and I heard him, just once, make mention of it but only in passing.

He and Kitty married in the USA and a few years later returned to live in the Woulfe’s house in Lower Athea where they were blessed with an exceptionally talented family of ten. The house looks very different nowadays due to John Joe’s skilled workmanship and imagination, and he turned his hand to several other trades which made him one of the most-admired tradesmen around.

These talents hardly equipped him to manage large sums of money, though, by present standards they were fairly modest.
John Joe was the front of house man, having most communication with the public and his pleasant manner and general rapport with the public helped greatly to gain the confidence of the customers and to convince them we were not just a passing fancy which soon disappeared. That we are there forty seven years later is largely due to John Joe and his staff through the years.

As the years passed and the Credit Union grew and grew and the Central Bank began to bring pressure on Credit Unions to operate by the highest standards so did the spirit and close relationship within our branch solidify and ensure we can meet all the challenges thrown at us in the years ahead. John Joe would be in the thick of whatever it took to survive in the times ahead.

But times move on and Athea Credit Union, even with the old guard moving on, has a team of outstanding young and highly qualified members to carry on the good work. At a time when banks are averse to lending freely Athea will continue to serve our customers as John Joe was always committed to do.

Kitty, who in her time served in the Credit Union and the family will greatly miss  a husband and father, who was first and foremost a family man and the region he served will miss and appreciate one of the most influential people, whose contribution to the community contributed so much to its advancement .

A hearty céad míle buíochas to you, John Joe, you were a force for good in your time !

                                                                                                                        Timmy Woulfe

On the Lighter Side

Things have been pretty serious over the past few weeks so for once let’s have a look on the brighter side of life. We all need to have a laugh now and again and no two people view comedy in the same way. As a nation, we are known throughout the world for our ready wit  and the ability to turn most situations into a joke. Some people take it very seriously and have a store of ready jokes  to impart at the drop of a hat and are always on the lookout for new ones. “Did you hear the one about” is the usual opening line. Fine if you haven’t heard it before but, if you have, you are duty bound to listen right to the punch line and laugh like it was the first time you heard the joke.

I think we are at our best when we do not intend to be funny at all. It’s the way we say things like the man from Abbeyfeale who found himself in a group discussing the weather. It was in the middle of the harvest season and after a few lovely days the heavens opened and continued to pour for the rest of the week.  They agreed that turf was “swimming”, the very image makes me laugh, and our man declared “any hay that’s cut now will stay cut”.

Then there was another man who lived with his elderly mother. She had been poorly so a kind neighbour brought her some chicken broth. The man was very grateful and when the lady was going home he said to her, “ I thank you from the bottom of my heart and my mother’s bottom too”  –  true story!.

A soldier was wounded in the war and ended up in hospital.  He had been shot in the private parts, a sore dose !  One day a lady member of the royal household decided to visit the wounded and give them a lift. She chatted with each patient and when she came to the soldier’s bed she asked him what had happened to him. “ I was shot” he replied. “where were you shot” she asked. He was now in a bit of a  “pucker” as the late Eamon Kelly used to say, since he did not have the vocabulary to describe  the region affected. After a little thought he said. “Let’s put it this way  Ma’am,; if you were shot where I was shot , you wouldn’t have been shot at all”. She got the message and moved on.

A farmer from Athea took cows to sell at a fair in Newcastle West. The following day at the creamery he was asked how he got on. “Well”, he said, “we didn’t get the price we expected but then again we didn’t expect to get the price we expected.” Work it out.

A man from Tournafulla was reported by a neighbour for killing a goat to make a bodhrán for the wren. The guards investigated and he found himself at Abbeyfeale court charged with the offence. The neighbour who reported him was called to give evidence, which he was reluctant to do in front of all the neighbours. He had, however, to take the stand. The judge asked him what he saw and his reply was, “I never said I never saw Con Gorman kill no goat”.  After attempting to make sense of what was said without any success, the judge ordered him removed from the witness box and dismissed the case.

A Brosna man by the name of Con wanted to get repairs to his cottage so he went to the local T.D’s office for help. The T.D. said he would look after it for him but forgot all about it until the next time he saw Con at a funeral  so he told him that his repairs would be done and that there was two men going for sand and gravel that very morning. As soon as he could he rang the Council office to be told that there was a backlog of work and there would be no chance of doing Con’s house for about a month. The following week he had a clinic in the village and when he saw Con approaching he said, “ I suppose Con you are worried about your house”, to which Con replied, “no, its not the house I’m worried about but the two misfortunes that went for the sand and gravel. Was anything ever again heard of them?”

All these yarns are true and the people are real. I have not used their proper names but I’m sure some of you will recognise one or two of them. Keep smiling.

Domhnall de Barra