Congratulations to Athea/Mountcollins U21 team who were crowned West U21 A football Champions on Saturday night last in Mick Neville Park

Congratulations to Athea/Mountcollins U21 team who were crowned West U21 A football Champions on Saturday night last in Mick Neville Park

Special Mass

A special Mass for the anointing of the sick will take place in Athea Church on Saturday morning next, December 10th at 11 am. All are welcome.

Christmas Car Boot Sale

The final car boot sale and Indoor Market for 2016 takes place in NCW at the Community Centre, beside Aldi, on Sunday next, December 11th.  This is a fundraiser for WL102fm.

Afternoon Tea Dance

There will be an Afternoon Tea Dance in Fr. Casey’s Clubhouse with dancing to Noel Cronin on Sunday, December 11th from 3-6pm.  Raffle and Teas served.

Athea & District Credit Union AGM

Will take place on Friday, December 16th at 7pm in the Credit Union Office. All members are invited to attend.

Athea Vixens Basketball Calendar

To commemorate a great league win for U14 girls and U16 boys and the success of the U16 girls taking silver in Munster community games we have launched a calendar on sale now at training.  Only €6 or €10 for 2, with pictures of all the teams and kids playing this year. It will make a great Christmas present, hurry they are selling quick. Thank-you for your support.

Remarkable People

It has been my privilege over the years to come across some very clever, witty and artistic people who did not have the benefit of any except the most rudimentary education. Some got there education through reading while others learned from the university of life. They had a wisdom that sometimes is missing in some who have  the highest honours from the finest universities. Some of the knowledge they gained was very necessary in an era before weather forecasts on the radio or television. They had to rely on nature’s signs to foretell what the weather would be like. This was vital before they cut the hay  because, in those days, everything was done by hand and silage hadn’t been invented. One great judge of the weather was my neighbour Mick “Phil” Woulfe. There were nine families of Woulfe in Cratloe so we knew them all by nick names. Mick was an older man when I was a boy but that didn’t stop him talking to me  as he passed the way to the fields up the road. If I asked him about the weather he would stick his thumbs into his braces, examine the sky and would then say something like, “we’ll get rain tomorrow but not ‘till after dinner time”.  He was right more often than not. He also gave me one of the best answers I ever got from any question. As a young lad I was mad about football and spent most of my leisure time kicking a ball against the gable end of the house and trying to field it as it rebounded.  Mick often stopped to watch me for a few minutes and we would end up discussing football. More than once his daughter Nora would have to come for the cows as they were all waiting for Mick to bring them home for milking. Football was more important to a man who was a gifted footballer himself in his day. An ex footballer called Eamon Mongey wrote a book on Gaelic football and how it should be played. I asked Mick what he thought of it and he replied: “do you know, you can read forever how to ride a bicycle”.  Of course he was right. There is no substitute for learning and honing skills by endless hours of practice. There are too many “gurus” around today. I see it especially in the golfing world where young golfers ape the pros they see on television while neglecting to put in the time on the range and the putting green.

Another very interesting man was the great Sliabh Luachra fiddle player, Pádraig O’Keeffe. He was a schoolmaster in a small rural school outside Castleisland. Like many another musicians he was ”fond of the drop” and of course the music gave him plenty opportunities to visit the local hostelries in Castleisland and Scartaglen especially. Eventually, he began to lose time at school and the inspector gave him an ultimatum: the school or the fiddle. Patrick chose the fiddle. He was a great teacher of music and developed his own method of writing for the fiddle. It was based on the four strings with numbers for the fingers. It was simple but effective. One day while working with a group in the bog he was whistling a tune he was composing. One of the men with him, who was also a fiddle player, said he would like to get the tune. There was no pen or paper to hand and Pádraig was afraid he might forget the tune if he waited ‘til the end of the day so he got the four prong pike and drew four lines along the bank of turf and then filled in the notes with his finger. The tune became known as “the bank of turf” and is played to this day. On another occasion he was in Mrs Lyons’ pub in Scartaglen. He hadn’t eaten for a good while and the drink was getting to him. He felt weak and eventually toppled over. Mrs. Lyons came from behind the bar with a fine glass of brandy to revive him. It was doing the trick and he was coming back to himself when one of the lads asked him for a sup. Spirits were much more expensive than porter in those days and would only be consumed on very rare occasions. That is why our man wanted “a sup”. Pádraig looked at him for a minute and turning his head away said, “ If you want brandy, go away and get your own weakness”.  Pádraig, through his classes, left a great musical legacy that is unique to Sliabh Luachra to this present day.

I have nothing but admiration for the people who lived long ago and had to use their ingenuity to survive. We have many valuable lessons to learn from them as some of their lessons are relevant to us today.  You won’t find as good on twitter or facebook!

Domhnall de Barra