Congratulations to Tony O'Sullivan, Hillside Drive, Athea, pictured with his parents Sandra and Noel, at his graduation from Birmingham City University with a B.SC in Adult Nursing

Congratulations to Tony O’Sullivan, Hillside Drive, Athea, pictured with his parents Sandra and Noel, at his graduation from Birmingham City University with a B.SC in Adult Nursing

Athea Ladies Football Club

Would like to thank everyone who gave so generously to our church gate collection .

Our A.G.M. will take place on Saturday  night January 21st at the club house at 8.15pm after mass. It is very important that players and parents attend. All new members welcome and anyone interested in getting involved with the girls.


Our A.G.M. will take place on Saturday night January 28th in the club house at 9pm. All are welcome to attend.

Duck Race in Athea

As part of the fundraising tactics for the Lip Sync Act – Top of the Town Zombies featuring Roger RyanDerek CurtinMike Flynn & Mike Buckley, a duck race will take place at the bridge Athea at 12pm (after mass!) on Sunday, January 29th. This is the first of its kind for the parish and promises to be a whole lot of fun. Ducks will be on sale (from January  18th) at Shops & Pubs in Athea or from any member of the group. Ducks are priced at €2 or 3 ducks for €5. Prizes for the first ducks home!

Athea Community Games

Wishes to thank everyone who supported there “gallon of porter” fundraiser,  and thanks to pubs who facilitated this.

“The Play is the Thing”

This is the time of year when amateur drama groups all over the country are putting the final touches to the plays they are staging for this season. We are lucky to have an excellent drama group in Athea and two in nearby Abbeyfeale. There is a good crossover of actors between the groups which is a healthy development and brings new talent to the locality. Listowel, and Ardagh also have very experienced groups.

The history of drama begins as far back as records are kept. Acting is a natural gift that most people have, even if they are not aware of it. We, in Ireland, are particularly good at it because we spend most of our time acting anyway. How often do we meet somebody we can’t stand on the street and though we are fit to choke them, we put on a happy face and  inform them of the latest weather changes as if they were our best friend.  We may look into a baby’s pram at a very ordinary, wrinkled little mite and declare “isn’t she gorgeous and the spit of her mother” even though she is just the same as any other newly born baby. We are born with this ability inherited from our forebears who had to put up with being ruled by a foreign power for eight hundred years. Over the centuries, the people of Ireland learned to say one thing and mean another simply to survive. They had to plot in secret and pretend to the authorities and the landlords that they were happy with their lot. Whatever the reason, there is a rich vein of acting talent in the country and especially in this locality. West Limerick and North Kerry have produced some marvellous poets and playwrights over the years and without them there wouldn’t be any plays to produce. Thankfully there is plenty of material to choose from and the process of selecting a play begins in the early Autumn. Having made a choice of play the next order of business is to cast the parts. Most of the time the director has somebody in mind for each part, or at least the main roles,  and the play may even be chosen to suit a particular actor. Now the rehearsals begin. When first you read the script it can be intimidating. “How am I going to learn all these lines” is one of the first thoughts but you are committed now so, on with the readings. This continues for a few weeks and gradually you get to have a feel for the part and you are able to get into the mind of the character. The cast begin to use movement on a mock stage and, even though you still have to look at the script, some of the lines are off by heart already. Gradually, week by week it gets easier to remember and finally you are able to throw away the script. Not only do you know your own lines but you discover that you know most of the other actors’ lines as well. Finally the dress rehearsal comes and you put on the greasepaint and powder, get into the period costume and take to the stage. Now for the real thing – opening night.  You get to the theatre early. There is a buzz in the dressing room which is a hive of activity with people coming and going, getting make-up, donning costumes, drinking cups of tea , coffee and even stronger liquid. You have a last glance at the lines and say a quick prayer that you won’t forget them on stage. “Five minutes” shouts the director and the butterflies are doing somersaults in your tummy. You suddenly have an urge to go to the toilet but it is too late. Last minute countdown and the curtains are drawn back. Though you can’t really see them you are aware of the eyes of the audience on you but you  steel yourself and somehow you say your first lines without tripping up. End of thefirst scene and there is a generous round of applause. Great; this is what you have been rehearsing for since last October. This is why you left your cosy fireside on bad wintry nights to travel to a cold hall. When you feel that warmth and appreciation from the crowd, all the sacrifice is forgotten. Scene follows scene and before you know it the play is ended and it is time to take a bow. You are now walking on air and higher than if you were on ecstasy. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being asked to take that extra bow. Off with the costumes and on with the street clothes and back to normality until the next night and the process repeats itself. It is difficult to come down from such a high at times but life goes on and when the play is finished its run, all is forgotten until the next season.

I have been very lucky during my life to have had involvement with a few great drama groups. At the moment I am playing the part of Sonyy in “The Highest House on the Mountain” at the Glorach Theatre in Abbeyfeale. It is one of my all time favourite parts and is a change from the comical plays that have been so popular over the past few years. We are on until Sunday January 22nd. Athea are starting in early February with a play called “Anyone can Rob a Bank”. I hope you will support  all the local plays and that you will get enjoyment from the efforts of local amateurs who sometimes give a very professional performance. Who knows, maybe you might become an actor yourself. The drama groups will only be too happy to welcome you. Break a leg!.

 Domhnall de Barra