“Man of the Match” in the West Intermediate Football Final, Shane Mulvihill being presented  with his prize by Davy Mann of Mann’s Hotel, Rathkeale

“Man of the Match” in the West Intermediate Football Final, Shane Mulvihill being presented
with his prize by Davy Mann of Mann’s Hotel, Rathkeale

Athea Sewerage Scheme Update
Fine Gael TD for Limerick, Patrick O’Donovan, has been in contact with Irish Water regarding the status of the upgrade of the Athea Sewerage Scheme. He has been advised by Irish Water that the Consultants for the project have now been appointed. Tenders for contractors will issue in next 6 weeks with construction due to begin in March 2016.

Comhaltas A.G.M.

The A.G.M. of Athea Comhaltas Branch will take place at the Top of the Town on Monday next, October 19th at 7.30 pm. The branch desperately needs new members if it is to survive. We need an input from any parents who would like to see music, dancing and singing classes in the parish so if you are interested in the preservation of our native culture, please come along to the meeting on Monday night.



Athea Tidy Towns

Are looking for volunteers over the next few Saturdays from 10am to 1pm to help remove the ivy from the old Church in Templeathea cemetery. If anyone out there could spare a couple of hours to come along and help with this project it would be much appreciated.

The Hills of Old Kilcolman

‘The Hills of Old Kicolman’ CD featuring Jacki and John O’Connor is  now available at Collins’ and Brouder’s Shops. All proceeds are in aid of Milford Hospice.

 Athea Parish Journal

It’s that time of the year again to start preparing the Journal. We ask that material be sent in as soon as possible, whether it be articles or photos. Where at all possible the articles should be typed up and be sent via email or dropped in on a USB key.  Every year at this time we make the same request but for some reason  many of our contributors wait until the last minute. This makes the publication very late and puts extra pressure on us  at a very busy time of the year so, if you have an article, photos or any other material you would like published, please, please do get in contact with us straight away. We need to have all material in by Friday October 23rd at the latest so that will give us a chance to have the journal ready for the Christmas post.

The Way We Were

I was just thinking the other day about how much things have changed in our world in a very short time. I am now 70 years old but in the relatively short time since I started going to school, I have experienced the greatest changes since the world began. In the late 1940s/early 50s there was no electricity, no running water, no telephone, no toilets,  no TV, very few radios and a couple of cars in the parish. The roads were mainly stone and pencil with just the main routes tarred. If somebody who was born in recent times was somehow transported back to those days, they would not have a hope of surviving but we had no problem and took all the changes in our stride as they occurred. There were jobs to be done in those days that have been mostly forgotten about now. Even the terms used to describe them will be foreign to the younger generations. “Spreading top dress” was one of those. Cows were kept in the shed over the winter months and they were provided with a fresh bed of rushes every day. Of course the old stuff had to be piked out onto the dung heap outside the door. This heap grew over the months so when spring came and the weather improved it was filled into a horse drawn cart with a four prong pike and dumped in heaps in the meadows. When the time was right the farmer, or his servant boy, spread the manure, again with a four prong pike. This was known as spreading top dress and it was a very natural way of ensuring a good growth of grass. The four prong pike was one of three that were in use in those days. It was used mainly for rushes, cut briars and the like. The three prong was used for piking turf in the bog and the two prong was reserved for hay in the meadow. Different types of spades were also in use. An old worn one was used to dig the spuds while a good sharp one was used   for “turning taobh fhóds”. This was getting the garden ready to sow spuds. A line of string was stretched along the ground and a line cut with a hay knife along it.  Another line was cut paralleled to this one about four feet apart. Then a spade was used to turn sods from each side to meet in the middle. This was hard work and required precision with the depth and length of cut. This was left until the “seeds” were ready to be sown. Seed potatoes had little “eyes” from which sprouts appeared. Sometimes the potato could be cut in two, as long as there were enough eyes. The sods that had been turned were now folded back and farm yard manure was spread along the ridge. The seeds were then placed on top of the manure and the sods turned back again. To complete the operation the space between the ridges was dug up and the earth placed on top of the ridge, enough to prevent the frost from getting at the seeds but not too much to keep the sun’s heat from them.

“Scouring the dyke” was another spring activity.  The dyke (which was really a ditch) carried water from the land drains and had to be cleaned out every year to ensure the “run of the water” as it was called. This was done with a spade, shovel and four prong pike. At the same time a briar hook or “slasher” was used to cut bushes and briars that grew on the ditch (which was really a dyke!). Most people in those days had a garden. The farmers had plenty of ground to till and cottages were built on an acre so that a garden was possible. Spuds were the main crop as well as cabbage, turnips, carrots, parsnips, mangolds, lettuce, peas, beans, beetroot etc.  Farmers also sat oats for the horses who pulled all the carts and machinery. The oats required a lot of work, cutting, binding, putting into sheafs and eventually being threshed to separate the ears from the straw. Before machines arrived on the scene the threshing was done with a flail. The flail consisted of two sticks connected by a short chain. One stick was wielded by hand and the other stick would come down on the oats which was placed on a concrete floor and sever the head from the body. Hard work indeed but very rewarding and necessary for survival before the arrival of Tescos, Aldi and the likes. I might return to this later but it is no harm for people to be grateful for the sacrifices our forefathers made so that we would have an easier life.

Domhnall de Barra