Mike Hayes, John Cotter, Pa Chawke, Matthew Tierney, Brian McKenna & Brian Ahern supporting the Athea GAA ‘Night at the Dogs’

Mike Hayes, John Cotter, Pa Chawke, Matthew Tierney, Brian McKenna & Brian Ahern supporting the Athea GAA ‘Night at the Dogs’

Farm Safety Seminar

A Farm Safety Seminar will take place at the Devon Inn Hotel, Templeglantine on Thursday, October 15th at 7pm. Admission Free. Speakers: Maura Canning, National Chairperson of IFA Social & Family Affairs, Diarmuid Cronin, Community Alert Development Officer with Muinter na Tire for South Region – Cork, Kerry & Limerick and James Clarke, farm accident survivor, from Adare. Chairperson will be Marian Harnett, co-ordinator of The Farmers Market. Question and Answer session, various exhibitions on the night and refreshments will be served.


The comedy thriller Audacity by Simon Mawdsley and directed by Merce Hobson opens at the Glórach Community Theatre in Abbeyfeale on Wednesday, September 30th at 8 pm with further shows on Friday 2nd, Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th October.  Don’t miss this play with lots of humour, taut dialogue and some great twists.  Tickets can be booked at 0871383940. Beidh fáilte roimh gach éinne.

The Joys of Fishing

Athea has a very good fishing club that has created hours of enjoyment and good sport for many of our young people. Fishing is an age old pastime and was once necessary to provide food for the family.  That is still the case in seaside areas and along the bigger rivers but it is mainly for pleasure on the smaller tributaries like our own Gale. For years the local rivers had been neglected with pollution almost wiping out all the fish but the fishing club, to their great credit, have succeeded in breathing new live into them by re-stocking and looking after the environment. I used to fish along the banks of the Ulach, which separates Cratloe and Ballaugh, and one time it was teaming with fish. Eventually they disappeared but lately, as I gazed into the waters over the metal bridge, I saw small fish taking flies from the surface. I was delighted and it brought to mind my early days fishing and the first ventures I had almost on the spot where I was standing. In those days money was very scarce so the fishing rod was cut of the sally trees that grew at the bottom of the garden. A nice slender shoot with the branches pared off and a slight spring at the top was ideal. A length of fishing line, a piece of gut and a couple of hooks were bought at Ryan’s in Abbeyfeale. The line was tied to the top of the pole (no reels for us back then) and this was attached to about a foot of gut with the hook tied on the end. A jar of worms completed the necessities and I was ready for my first trip to the river accompanied by my mother who wouldn’t contemplate me going on my own for fear of falling in and getting drowned. Unfortunately my mother knew as much about fishing as I did so my first adventure was a disaster; no fish and lost the hook! My next outing was different.

The O’Hallorans, who lived down the road from me, were great fishermen as the river ran behind their house so I was allowed to go with them, safety in numbers and all that. I cast my hook with a bluehead worm on it into the head of a fairly swift moving pool and followed it down the bank to the end. I repeated this a few times until my line suddenly stopped half way down. Thinking I was caught in some debris in the river I gave a strong pull on the line and to my amazement a small fish came flying through the air to land at my feet. I had caught my first sprat. The feeling was unreal and like the poor fish, I was hooked!. We never used more than a few casts in each pool and followed the riverbank along behind Cratloe creamery and towards Knocknasna. Soon the O’Hallorans went home but by this time I had four more fish so I continued on my own. Engrossed in the fishing I totally lost track of time until it suddenly began to get dark. I was in unfamiliar surroundings but I eventually made my way up to the Abbeyfeale/Athea road. What I didn’t know was that there was a search party out looking for me with my mother out of her mind since no sign of me had been seen since early afternoon. They eventually found me and as they say I thought I was going to be killed but my mother was so relieved to find me OK that she forgot to get angry with me. Needless to say fishing was banned for a time but gradually I wore her down with my pleading and eventually she relented and I was allowed back to the river but this time there were strict rules to be observed. I complied as the alternative was to miss out on the fishing and that was a fate worse than death or so I thought.

That was the beginning and as time went by I got better equipment, bamboo rods with reels attached and waders for the water etc. The excitement was still there especially when catching my first white trout which weighed almost a pound. I caught five of those on the same day and felt about ten feet tall coming home with my magnificent catch. As I grew older other things took precedence and the fishing rod was put on the rafters of the shed. When I returned from England I lived in Duagh for a while and took up salmon fishing. This was a whole new adventure and I well remember the first time I played a salmon. It took me a good fifteen minutes to get the better of him, a very active ten pounder. I was in seventh heaven. After a few years the fish grew scarce and you could fish for days without getting a bite. Work took up most of my time so the fishing rod again rested on the rafters where it lies to this very day (different rafters of course). I will never forget my days fishing and my fervent hope is that I will return to the river banks when I finally retire if God spares me the health. As they say in the fishing world, tight lines!.

 Domhnall de Barra