Archive for December, 2016



Remembering Gerry Griffin

Now and then I take the pen to write a verse or two

But this time Gerry it is especially for you

You were our friend and neighbour

who resided on the hill

Now the years have come and gone

and the “wheel of life” stands still.

Always there to lend or share to either big or small

And if we ever needed all we had to do was call

A man of taste and talents though no means not a few

Even the tricky things in life were no trouble onto you.

So with your passing comes the end of another era

No more we’ll see you driving by

in your green Almera

May God be with you Gerry,

your likes are hard to find

You’ll be missed in Glenagragra

by those you left behind.

Patrick Langan

18th December 2016


Tom O'Keeffe, Angeline O'Donnell & Nora Hunt

Tom O’Keeffe, Angeline O’Donnell & Nora Hunt at the Drama Group Christmas Party in the Devon Inn Hotel

Declan O'Carroll, Roger Ryan & Lal Browne

Declan O’Carroll, Roger Ryan & Lal Browne at the Drama Group Christmas Party

Lal Browne, Amina Parkes & Tom O'Keeffe at the Drama Group Christmas Party

Lal Browne, Amina Parkes & Tom O’Keeffe at the Drama Group Christmas Party

Ellen Quille, Annette O'Donnell & Damien Ahern

Ellen Quille, Annette O’Donnell & Damien Ahern at the Drama Group Christmas Party

Christmas Eve Mass

Christmas Eve Mass will be at 7.30pm on this Saturday night preceded by some lovely carol singing by both the adults and schoolchildren’s choirs, so come early.

Noonan’s Lights

Congratulations to Tony, Hannah and Siobhan who won the countrywide Energia competition top prize of €4,000 to add to their charities collection.

The Monthly Ladies Night Out

The first New Year Monthly night out will fall on January 6th, Women’s Little Christmas, with lots of food and drink, fun and games.

Athea & District Credit Union

The office will close at 12.30pm as normal on Friday 23rd December. We will re-open again on Tuesday 3rd January at 6.30pm.

Winner of the first draw was John Paul Stack, Park.

Winner of the second draw was Mike & Joan Kennelly, Kilmorna.

We would like to wish all our members and staff a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

Coming Home for Christmas

I took a walk along the old railway line in Abbeyfeale lately and as I walked upon the track I couldn’t help thinking about all the people who had travelled on the same line in the days when the steam train chugged its way to Limerick and back. I remembered my own journeys on that train, going to and coming from England. There was something special about steam trains. You could hear them coming for miles and then the beats of the engine became less frequent until the train pulled up in a cloud of steam and smoke. The smoke had a really strong, but not unpleasant, smell and it enveloped the whole station. One of the best times was coming home for Christmas. Back in the middle of the last century almost every home in the parish had a family member or more working in England. Most of them came home once a year, the married ones in the summer time but the single ones usually opted for Christmas. The Christmas mood started about the end of October when minds were made up to go home for Christmas. The lads who frequented the pubs every night  gave up the beer on the first of November to put a bit of money together. You couldn’t arrive home if you hadn’t a wad of money to spend. It was vital to give the impression that you were doing well. New clothes, in the latest fashion, were purchased and shoes with a shine that could blind. As soon as work broke up, a couple of days before Christmas people could be seen, in all the major towns in Britain, heading for the train station with brown suitcases in their hands. There was no such thing as fancy luggage in those days. The brown case was the only one available. Some of them were a bit the worse for wear and had to be held together with a piece of rope or a leather strap. Anyway, they did the job and carried the essentials for the travellers. I used to leave  from Coventry station and take the train to Rugby where we had to wait for an hour or so to catch the northern train from London. This took us to Crewe where we boarded the boat train to Hollyhead. The train pulled right up to the ship for Dunlaoghaire so it was just a matter of walking up the gangway and finding a place to sit. This was no luxury liner. It was used mainly for transporting cattle so the accommodation was very primitive. There was a bar though and as the Christmas spirit kicked in it did a lively trade. That was great for a while but when the seas were choppy, drinking wasn’t a very good idea. It was not uncommon to see people getting sick all over the place. God, I hated that boat and couldn’t wait to arrive in Ireland to get the train to Kingsbridge (now called Heuston) station.  The Cork train was boarded which took us to Ballybrophy or Limerick Junction where we changed for Limerick. Then came the last leg of the journey, the train to Abbeyfeale. By this time we would have been travelling for almost 24 hours, some with hangovers and others recovering from the sea sickness but the nearer we got to home the better we felt. As the train struggled to climb Barna hill, a sense of anticipation took over and everybody perked up. Having crawled over the top of the hill, through the tunnel, the train began to gather speed and flew along to Devon Road. This was the last stop so we gathered our belongings and were waiting at the doors as the train chugged into Abbeyfeale. The platform was usually full of people eagerly waiting to welcome sons, daughters, husbands, fathers  they hadn’t seen for at least a year. There was a lot of tears and fond embraces but it was a most joyous scene. It was the custom at the time to have a drink at the Railway Bar before heading for home. Sean Sullivan might be playing a few tunes on the melodeon and when we had our first sip from a frothy pint of real Guinness it was like heaven. The road home brought back memories of the people who lived in the houses and the days passing them on the way to school. It was a great feeling to be back in Ireland and at home. There was a great welcome from the family and the eyes of the little ones lit up when the old suitcase was opened and the presents were given out. For a while at least the world was a nice place to live in as peace and goodwill prevailed. Before too long it was time for midnight Mass  where everyone met outside the door and wished each other a merry Christmas. It was all over too soon and we had to take the train back again feeling very empty and lonely at the thought of being away for another year. But we had our memories and they kept us going in the factories, tunnels and building sites. Roll on next Christmas when we will take that train again

Domhnall de Barra

















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Kathleen’s Corner-20/12/2016

By Kathleen Mullane

‘Happy Christmas’ 

Firstly can I take this opportunity in wishing each and every reader (both at home and abroad) of the Athea Newsletter, along with Donal and Lillian and fellow correspondents a very happy and peaceful Christmas and above all enjoy precious time with family.

Well its been a busy week to say the least, with Christmas day almost upon us. ‘Grandparents Day’ on Friday began with a beautiful mass here in the church. The school choir, led by Margaret Carroll on guitar and Tara Finucane on accordion were a joy to listen to. Fr. Duggan said the importance of grandparents in children’s lives was very special, and a huge bonus with more children being collected at schools by grandparents, due to the fact that most parents have to go out to work now. After mass it was down to the school for a tour and what great work has been done there with the addition now of a new ‘sensitivity room’ which helps to bring a calmness to children, it’s fabulous! Teas and all kinds of cakes etc were served by the parents to the huge crowd that attended. Well done to all those who organized yet another great Grandparents Day.

Thanks to all who gave so willingly to the Concern collection at the weekend. A total of €585 was collected.

Congrats to Donal and Lillian on yet another great Journal – an ideal Christmas present for our emigrants.

Sincere congrats and good wishes are extended to David and Michelle Hayes of Templeathea on the birth of their new baby, a little girl they are calling Aoibheann – a new sister for Patrick and Conor. Congrats also to the proud grandparents Rose and Mike Hayes.

A great crowd attended the AGM of the Athea Credit Union on Friday night last in their office. Liz O’Sullivan, Chairperson, addressed the meeting and Eibhlís Geoghegan read last year’s minutes. Des O’Donnell (accountant) complimented the entire staff – front of counter and backroom people who so such great work. Athea Credit Union, he said, was in a very good position and where some Credit Unions have amalgamated Athea is very happy to stay as it is. They are offering loans at good rates and this is what keeps them in such a good position – so give them a call. A dividend of a ¼ of 1% will be paid this year. The Credit Union thanks the support of the Athea community and its surrounds and long may it be with us. Congrats and well done to all those involved.

Teresa O’Halloran had the Athea children’s drama show at the hall on Sunday which was thoroughly enjoyed by parents and all those who attended. Well done to all the kids, they were great and to all those who helped out.

Christmas Eve Mass will be at 7.30pm on this Saturday night preceded by some lovely carol singing by both the adults and schoolchildren’s choirs, so come early

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Knockdown News-20/12/2016

By Peg Prendeville

It was lovely to see the Athea journal on the shelves last week; it is full of interesting articles and will make lovely Christmas reading. Well done to Domhnall and Lillian on the production.

A lovely part of these pre-Christmas days are the childrens’ plays produced in many schools. It is great to watch the little children get so involved in the drama of nativity plays and musicals etc.  The teachers in the schools put in so much work in the preparation of these events that it would be unmannerly not to thank them for their efforts, so well done to all.

I cannot think of Christmas without thinking of my aunt Mary Falahee so I want to honour her memory with the following poem.

Memories of Aunty Mary

Driving past Knocknagorna cross brings pleasant memories

Of when we were just little girls going to visit Falahees

There we would spend a week each year with lovely Auntie Mary

Who was always nice and pleasant even when we were quite contrary.


It would start off on a Sunday morn when we’d see her in the church

If she wasn’t in her usual seat, for her our eyes would search

And then she’d smile across at us as she prayed on her rosary beads

We knew then that the world was good and she’d tend to all our needs.

To lie in bed each morning listening to the kitchen noises

Of Auntie Mary baking bread and hearing other voices

Of Peter and Tommy Danaher or Johnny Moran from next door

It was so soothing to our ears and made us wish for more.

Her humour was always good until she took out the sewing machine

For then she could get cranky so we were never keen

To see her with material to make pinafores for all of us.

Even though we loved the finished garments we didn’t like the fuss.


She became our second mother when our own Mam died too soon

We were so grateful to her as she helped dispel the gloom

Now as Christmas time approaches we think of her with love

She holds a place within our hearts as warm as a glove.


Wishing all readers, fellow correspondents and Domhnall and Lillian and all your families a very Happy Christmas and an exciting and safe New Year in 2017. Shhhh, are those sleighbells I am hearing?

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