Proud Grandad Thomas O’Connor, Hillside Drive, with his little grandson Daniel

Proud Grandad Thomas O’Connor, Hillside Drive, with his little grandson Daniel

Sarah Prendeville holding the Visual Journal which she created for her Art project in college.

Sarah Prendeville holding the Visual Journal which she created for her Art project in college.

















Con Colbert Memorial Service

“Remember – Remember”

May 8th, Sunday week, Anniversary of the death of Con Colbert.

Memorial Service in Athea Church at 11.45am.

Let’s be united in praying together for the happy repose of his soul.

Knockdown Vintage Club and Estuary Macra

Knockdown Vintage Club and Estuary Macra would like to thank everyone that sponsored prizes, gave donations, provided music, bought or sold raffle tickets, donated home baking, served food, supervised parking or helped out in any way during our recent Charity Vintage/Modern Road Run and Raffle. Many thanks to Ta and Ita of The Knockdown Arms for the use of their premised. A special word of thanks to the huge crowd that turned up on the day despite the dreadful weather conditions, some even braving the elements with a cab on their tractors. A lively and enjoyable day was had by all.

As a result of this fundraising event €4,085.76 has been raised. This will be presented to a representative of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation on Saturday night, April 30th at The Knockdown Arms and all are welcome.

Athea Fianna Fáil Cumann

Seamus Ahern, on behalf of Athea Fianna Fáil Cumann, thanks sincerely all who gave so willingly to the Church gate collection last weekend. It was very much appreciated.

Too much too Fast

I might have mentioned here before that I consider  myself and my generation very lucky to have been born when we were because we have lived through the biggest change the world has ever seen. We were born into a world that hadn’t changed much in hundreds of years and witnessed the transition to today’s world that might be a planet light years away such is the difference. Most of the changes that have taken place have been good and have made people’s lives a little easier. The back-breaking work that was once done by hand  is now capable of being done by machines. Electricity has made many things possible and the development of IT has revolutionised how we communicate and do business.  Where once the only way to communicate with somebody far away was by letter, we can now not only talk to them whenever we like but see them on screen as well. The world of entertainment has changed as well and here I am not so sure what is happening is such a good development. There is no need to leave the home for entertainment with hundreds of channels on TV to satisfy all tastes and it is easy to pick up a few bottles at a supermarket or off licence at a fraction of what it would cost in the pub so people are not going out as much.

This is a pity because I think it was great therapy to get dressed up on  Saturday night and  go to somewhere to meet the neighbours and have a good time. Going back a few years this was the norm and it wasn’t all about drink. There was a very strong organisation called the Pioneer Abstinence Association  whose members didn’t drink alcohol but that did not stop them from going out and enjoying the fun. Back in the ‘60s roughly half the young men were Pioneers and in those days most of the women didn’t drink anyway. There was a great buzz in the village with pubs doing a lively trade. The Gardaí used to come around at closing time to “clear the house” and if any publican was caught serving drink after hours they were brought to court and fined heavily. Those “found on” were also fined. It was a regular occurrence and it was great to be in court to hear the excuses. I happened to be in the court house in Abbeyfeale once when eight publicans from the town were up for serving after hours. There had been a big raid a couple of weeks before and they were all caught. One by one they were called to the stand and each one gave a reason for their transgression. One was trying to clear the house but his customers were trying to finish a card game which had reached a very delicate stage. Another had people who were coming from a funeral and he hadn’t the heart to cause them further grief by refusing to serve them. The next one said his clock was running an hour slow as he had forgotten to change it for the summer time. One excuse was better than the next but the justice was not too impressed and fined each one in turn until it came to Jim Lane. Jim took the stand and when asked what excuse he had he replied. “None , your honour, I was caught fair and square”.  The justice looked over his glasses and said  “the only honest publican before me today. Case dismissed”.

The truth pays sometimes. Over the years publicans have tried many methods to get and keep customers. First pub game I knew was rings. Rings were thrown at a board with hooks numbered from 1 to 13. first to reach 101 was the winner. There were two main methods of throwing. One was the underhand method and the other was over hand. Both took great skill and there eventually was a ring board in most establishments. They were replaced in the ‘60s by darts. Some pubs still have dart boards but they are not as popular now as they once were. Then came the pool table. They were fine in big establishments where there was plenty of room but  all the pubs wanted to get into the act and tables were stuffed into the smallest spaces. You’d be in danger of getting a pool cue stuck up your nose  while trying to enjoy a pint. Some fellows spent hours on the tables which prompted Jimmy McCarthy to write a song about it. One line goes “their arses protrude in a manner most lewd from being hoisted aloft in the air”. Not a pretty sight!. They ran their course and now can only be found in certain houses. The slot machines made a brief appearance before they were banned. They were bad news as they encouraged gambling especially by those who couldn’t really afford it. Then we had the dancing lounge and  they gave great employment to bands for a couple of decades. They have now almost disappeared except for a few big establishments. Some places have music on a Saturday night but the number of people attending is declining all the while.

The way things are going more and more pubs will be closing their doors. One might say that is a good thing but I think they provided  a great service to people who were able to have a few drinks and a chat with the locals and forget their worries for a while. Confining oneself to one’s own home can only lead to  isolation and loneliness and that is not a good thing. 

Domhnall de Barra