Margaret O’Connor & Connie O’Sullivan, Lower Athea, casting their vote in Athea N.S. on Friday last

Margaret O’Connor & Connie O’Sullivan, Lower Athea, casting their vote in Athea N.S. on Friday last

CFRs say Thanks

The Community First Responders want to say a very big Thank You to everyone who gave so generously to our church gate collection last weekend.  Amount collected was €630.47.  This money will be used to maintain / purchase equipment and train new volunteers.  Everyone Is very welcome to our AGM which is always held in Oct/Nov of every year where you can view all our equipment and find out more about the group’s activities.  A reminder that our number is 087 2737077, 6pm – 8am Mon to Fri and all weekend.

Traditional Concert

Traditional fundraising variety concert by West Limerick traditional singing club on Saturday March 12 in Fr Casey’s GAA club, Abbeyfeale. The concert will include a variety of Traditional Musicians, Singers, Storytellers and dancers all for just €10. Please support. West Limerick singing club are also hosting a night of songs in remembrance of 1916 on Friday April 1st in the Ramble Inn, Abbeyfeale at our monthly singing session which takes place on the 1st Friday of every month.

Thank You

Helen and Paul Hickey would like to say a huge thank you to Colm Leahy Mike, Catherine, Niamh and Diarmuid Healy, Ann and Willie Flavin, Ian Sheehy and Nicole Doyle who were part of the St Stephen’s Day Wren Party and whom very generously gave all the proceeds that they made to Crumlin Hospital Heart Clinic where Helen and Paul’s son Cian has been a patient and had successful surgery before Christmas. The money collected €755 will go towards the new Heart day unit which is currently under construction and which Cian will benefit from in the future.

Roots of the Rising:

The Family History of Con Colbert 

As part of Ireland 2016 Centenary Year, Limerick Genealogy is researching the family of Con Colbert. Cornelius Francis Colbert was one of the two Limerick men executed for his involvement in the Easter Rising 1916. Our research is to culminate in a public exhibition in Newcastle West Library, Newcastle West to be launched on Thursday 10th March 2016 at 8.00pm. Some more details can be found here –

Our planned exhibition, entitled Roots of the Rising: the Family History of Con Colbert, aims to illustrate the rich genealogy of the Colbert family, in co-operation with descendants of the extended family. We are still looking for family photographs, records and other memorabilia to incorporate into the research and public exhibition and we would love to invite to our launch any descendants of the extended family or indeed members of the local community who might be interested in attending. Guest speaker on the night is John O’Callaghan, author of 16 Lives: Con Colbert.

If you would like further details or have any questions about the above, you can contact myself or my colleague Aoife Ryan by email,

at [email protected], or by phone, at +353 61 496542. We look forward to hearing from you.

Catriona Crowe

The Gift of Musiccontinued

In the mid 1950s, things were very different to what they are today. There was very little transport, walking and cycling took us everywhere, so it was important to find a music teacher not too far away from home. The only one at the time was Liam Moloney who lived on the main Abbeyfeale /Newcastle road between Devon Road and Templeglantine. Liam was one of the Moloney family who had their own  ceili band and also their own dance hall. He agreed to take me on at 6.30 pm on Saturday evenings so I got my bicycle ready, put the accordion on the carrier and headed off. It was about a nine mile journey if I went by Abbeyfeale but by going over Ballaugh I could save about four miles. That was the way to go but it was a steep hill so it was a matter of walking up to the top and freewheeling down the other side.

When I started it was in the Winter so it was very dark at times unless there was a good moon. The only source of light available to us at the time was a flash lamp.  The battery didn’t last very long and as we didn’t have much money we made it last as long as we could. I was coming home one night , a night as black as the hobs of hell, when the battery was on its last legs. You would get more light from the butt of a fag. I knew the road like the back of my hand so there was no problem navigating. I cycled up the hill at the back of Ballaugh as far as I could until I wasn’t able any more and eventually threw my leg over the saddle and stood for a minute to get my breath. As I stood in the pitch dark, I heard the sound of heavy breathing coming from over my left shoulder. It was deep and rasping and I could even feel the heat from it. I had been out at all times of the night before this and never encountered any ghosts or spirits of any kind but this rooted me to the spot. The hairs stood on the back of my head and I could feel the blood draining from my face. What kind of being had me so paralysed?  All sorts of images passed through my head as I waited for the worst to happen. Nothing happened and as the breathing continued I plucked up enough courage to turn around and have a look. In the black gloom I could barely see the outlines of an ass! He had been grazing contentedly on the long acre until I arrived beside him. I regret that I gave him a hefty kick up the backside and sent him galloping away down the road. A night to remember.

I stayed with Liam for a while. He was an excellent teacher and insisted on me learning all about the theory of music, which I thought was a waste of time, I only wanted to play tunes, but I was so grateful to him in later years.  I got my first job playing in Peter O’Connor’s “Abbey Dance Band”. Peter lived in Tournafulla and the band was mostly made up of his own family. While with Peter I learned to play the trumpet, saxophone and clarinet, indeed during this time I dabbled with any instrument I could lay my hands on. The only instrument I could never master was the Jews Harp. My buck teeth prevented me from making the sound.

I eventually went to England, played with many bands and groups there, formed my own musical groups before returning to Ireland to work full time for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. The gift of music had given me great pleasure, a job, and an opportunity  to see parts of the world I never would have otherwise and get paid for it into the bargain. I have had the privilege of playing in such famous places as Carnegie Hall in America, The Royal Albert Hall, Peking University Hall, a 20,000 seater stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea and many, many more. It has made me many good friends all over the world that I am in contact with to this day. In 1976 I couldn’t find someone to teach music in the area so I gave up the job and started teaching full time.

Over many years I had the pleasure of passing on my knowledge of music to hundreds of young musicians, some of whom are household names. The gift of music should never be wasted. It is given to us, not solely for ourselves but to share with others and if, through my music, I have brought a little happiness and pleasure into peoples lives, I am happy to have done so.


 Domhnall de Barra