Athea Drama Group Cast, Crew and Musicians pictured on stage present a cheque to the value of €4,000 to members of the Ahern Family for Crumlin Children’s Hospital , Dublin

Musicians on stage entertaining the crowd prior to the play

Athea Drama Group

We returned with our production of ‘Anyone Could Rob a Bank’ on Sunday last for our annual charity performance.  Our chosen charity was St John’s Children’s Cancer Ward in Crumlin – a charity very close to all of our hearts in Athea.

An appeal was made for spot prizes and the response exceeded all expectations. We ended up with a record amount of thirty spot prizes ranging from nights away to hampers.  Many thanks to all of our generous sponsors.

To entertain our audience prior to the performance, a range of talented musicians from West Limerick/ North Cork graced the stage with their instruments. The talent on stage was second to none and was greatly enjoyed by all present.  A huge thanks to all of the group of 13 who travelled to be with us on the night all for the sake of our charity.

Following an absolute sell-out performance, a cheque for €4000 was presented to the Ahern Family in memory of Ella Ahern RIP.  This was made up from the takings on the night and also a contribution from Athea Drama Group and Athea Hall Committee.  Thanks to everyone who attended, supported the cause, or helped out on in any way on the night.

This was a fantastic night for our parish, a night ‘where the parish was smiling together’.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported us during our 2017 production. This production will be up there with one of our most successful to date with seven sell out performances.  Our production of ‘Anyone Could Rob a Bank’ may be coming to a close, but our group are not going into hibernation just yet!  Our group will enter a float in the Abbeyfeale St. Patrick’s Day Parade and as a first for our group, we will be performing during the Pub Literacy Trail at Listowel Writer’s Week. Keep an eye on our facebook page for updates.

A birthday surprise for Fr. Brendan from the Board of Management Athea N.S.
Happy 70th Birthday Fr. Brendan









Coffee Morning

A Coffee morning in aid of the Lourdes Invalid Fund will take place in the Con Colbert Hall on Wednesday 22nd March from 9am to 1pm. Your support would be greatly appreciated

Knockdown Vintage Club

Knockdown Vintage Cub, with the assistance of Estuary Macra, are holding a Raffle and Vintage/Modern Charity Run on Sunday, April 2nd at The Knockdown Arms. A number of local causes have been selected to be the beneficiaries of our 2017 fundraising event. These are to include the elderly, school children and local community groups/charities. Tickets on sale at €2 each or 3 for €5 with 1st Prize-€100 Hamper, 2nd Prize-€75 cash, 3rd Prize-€50 Fuel Voucher and numerous other spot prizes.

Your support, as always, would be greatly appreciated.

Congratulations and well done to Patrick Langan, Glenagragra who won €53,000 on the Winning Streak Programme on RTE recently.

Sacristan’s Say Thank You

Thank you to everyone who gave so generously to our collection on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th. February.

Ann & Carol

Progressive Card Drive

At the Top of the Town on Thursday, March 16th at 9pm.

Card game in aid of the Lourdes Invalid Fund

Raffle on the night with spot prizes. Your support would be greatly appreciated.

Limerick City and County Council

Wishes to announce that its Dog Wardens are commencing a programme of inspections of dog licences throughout Athea, Abbeyfeale and Carrigkerry over the coming weeks. Dog owners will be required, on request, to produce a dog licence for their dog.

Under the Control of Dogs Act 1986 it is unlawful for a person to keep a dog without a dog licence.  Please note that persons found in ownership of a dog for which they do not have a licence may be liable for a fine of €100.00.

A dog licence costs €20.00 and can be purchased at Limerick City and County Council offices at Merchants Quay, Limerick, at Dooradoyle, Limerick, at any Limerick City and County Council Area Office, at any Post Office or online at

Shocking and Shameful

That is the only way I can describe the revelations of the  last few days concerning the discovery of infants’ bodies in a septic tank in Tuam. It pulls back the veil on a time in Ireland when everything was right and proper on the surface but was rotten to the core underneath. That these acts were committed by members of a religious order, people who had dedicated their lives to the service of God, made it all the more shocking. What kind of a God did they think they were serving when they disposed of those little bodies in such an unchristian manner. The treatment of young women who became pregnant, and the resulting children, in the middle of the last century makes harrowing reading. I watched a survivor of that period give an account of her young life on a TV programme the other night. I don’t cry easily but on this occasion the tears flowed as I heard how she was treated. Because she was coloured she was somehow considered inferior and to be treated as a young savage. Her mother was a nurse in Dublin who fell in love with a coloured doctor. She got pregnant and ran away to Belfast to have the baby so that nobody would know. Her father’s people did not want a half white baby and her mother’s people did not want a half black one so at a very young age she was taken into an institution. Her mother stipulated that she wouldn’t be given to older people but, despite being promised it would not happen, at four years of age she was given to an elderly couple who took her for the foster money they would receive. Because she was of mixed race she was deemed unsuitable for adoption. Her experience with the family was, to say the least, horrific. She ended up in hospital covered in septic wounds all over her body from being beaten by a branch of a bush covered with thorns. She then went on to be abused, physically and sexually until, eventually she was taken in at the age of 16 by a good couple who helped her to survive and put her life back together. She is one of the lucky ones and  today she is a well educated,  articulate woman but she is by no means unique. Day after day more people come forward to tell their own stories, each one as bad as the next. This inhuman treatment could not have gone on without the “turning of a blind eye” by the authorities at the time. The general public were to blame as well. There was no tolerance for a young woman who got pregnant outside of wedlock. It was a mark of shame on the family so as soon as it was discovered, the poor misfortune was shipped off, out of sight., more often than not to a convent where she would be treated as a slave until her time of confinement. As soon as the baby was born it was placed on a list for adoption. Many convents sold the babies to couples in the USA who could not have children of their own. These “sales” were organised  for the most part by Catholic priests.  Maybe they thought they were doing good by providing a good home for an unwanted baby but the mother’s feelings were never considered. And what about the father?.  We hear about the “fallen women” but nothing about the “fallen men”. Double standards to be sure. That generation never came to grips with sex at all. It was never discussed, even with people who were about to marry never mind the young adults who were following the second  strongest instinct we have.  It is second only to self-preservation and it affects all human beings including priests, bishops, cardinals and even popes who have all been guilty  of yielding to temptation. The sexual instinct is necessary to ensure  the continuation of the human race and it takes  great willpower not to submit to its allures. We have to understand for people who are only human and act according to their instincts. Thanks be to God there is a more enlightened attitude  today and children born outside wedlock are welcomed and treated no differently than others. For years they carried the stigma of “illegitimacy” and were labelled “bastards”.  That too is gone and not before time. A baby cannot decide who its parents are or in what circumstances they are conceived so there is no blame to them. As well as that, despite objections from the church, contraceptive devices are readily available so the chances of unwanted pregnancies are far less than it was. Man’s inhumanity to man never ceases to amaze me. I thought the treatment of the Jews by the Germans during the 2nd world war and the way it was defeated would bring an end to the idea of white supremacy but I was wrong. White supremacy is alive and well and has a new champion in no less a place than the White House. Trump has labelled Mexicans as “robbers and rapists” and the followers of Islam as “terrorists  and suicide bombers”. Is it any wonder that the most racist group in the world, the Ku Klux Klan, held wild parties when he was elected. When he says “let’s make America great again” he means white America. As George Orwell might have put it “all people are equal, but some are more equal than others”.   For now let us say a prayer for the survivors and relatives of those who suffered  in the mother and baby homes of the last century and hope that future generations will never have to make such grim discoveries.

Domhnall de Barra