Sean Hanrahan, Colbert St. Athea (back left) who celebrated his 80th birthday recently along with family and relatives at The Devon Inn, Templeglantine. Sean pictured with his brother Timmy, nieces Edel & Frances and cousin Kathy Fitzgerald.

Three schoolfriends from the class of 1993 in Ballyhahill. Maura Hutchinson, Gemma King and Lisa Wallace with their young families in Knockdown on Sunday last.

Athea Bingo Committee

Would like to thank all those who contributed to their collection for the Lourdes Invalid Fund. The amount raised was €607. Thanks also to those who gave spot prizes.

Marie Keating Foundation

We (at O’Riordan’s Pharmacy) have asked the Marie Keating Foundation to Athea and they have agreed to bring their mobile unit on Friday 7th April between 11am and 3pm. The unit has a specialist nurse to provide information and answer any questions or worries that people may have about cancer. The service is free and no appointment is necessary. It would be great if we could get as many people to attend as possible.

Athea Tidy Towns Fundraising Fashion Show

Dedicated followers of fashion will be in for a real treat later this month as the Athea Tidy Towns Group hosts another fundraising fashion show to aid of their vital work in the village. A highlight of the social calendar in Athea in previous years, this year’s show has been set for Wednesday, April 12th at 8pm, with the Con Colbert Hall once again providing the perfect setting for the event. The show itself will showcase the latest trends (Men’s, Women’s and Children’s ) from all the top boutiques from West Limerick and North Kerry, and will be preceded by a cheese and wine reception. Judges will also be on the lookout for the best dressed lady on the night, with some lovely prizes up for grabs.

Tickets are now on sale at Brouder’s Shop and Collins’ Shop, Athea and are priced at just €10. This is our main fundraiser for the year and allows us to raise much needed funds to keep the village looking colourful throughout the summer period. All support greatly appreciated.9042477


Once again we thank you for your loyal support of Daffodil Day, joining us in our fight against cancer, total collected €985.40. Your gift will help to care for people with cancer at every stage in their illness with nurses delivering the highest standards of care to patients and their families, every day, all over Ireland – Free of Charge. The support they gave us was so appreciated., 95% of their funding is raised by those who donated to our collection last Friday here in our village. We are so grateful.

A Dying Art

Domhnall de Barra 

In days gone by there was a rambling house in every locality. This was the meeting place where people from the locality gathered at night to talk, play cards, sing songs, play music, dance  etc.  There was always a story teller or two in the company who had the knack of holding the audience spellbound with their delivery. Many of these stories were about the supernatural with ghosts and  appearances by the devil himself very prominent. After hearing these stories  we, as youngsters, made our way home in the dark afraid of our shadows. The slightest sound  chilled us to the bone and we ran the rest of the way at full speed eager to get to the safety of the light in the  kitchen.

Through the years I spent many hours in the darkness at night time and apart from two occasions I never saw or heard anything out of the ordinary. The first of these episodes took place when I was about 11 years of age. I was learning how to play the accordion from Liam Moloney of Devon Road. I use to cycle over the hill through Ballaugh on Saturday nights, a journey of about five miles usually in darkness during the winter months especially on the way home. One night I was cycling home without a light on the bike in the pitch darkness. I knew the road well and was doing fine until I reached the steep hill and had to come off the bike to walk. As I stepped on the road and stopped to catch my breath for a moment I heard  breathing over my left shoulder. It was very heavy and I was rooted to the spot with the hairs standing on the back of my neck.  After what seemed like an age I plucked up enough courage to turn my head and take a look. I could barely make out two big eyes staring at me and then, just before panic set in, the moon came out and I saw the outline of the head of an ass!   I felt the blood rushing to my body with relief and I left the poor ass to get on with his grazing on the “long acre”.  Nothing supernatural there but had the moon not made an appearance and I managed to get away, what kind of a story would I be telling?.

The second event happened some years later when I was often out late at night meeting girls!. It was about 2.30 am on a fairly bright  night when I had to dismount from the bike again coming up the height near home. As I dismounted, a woman dressed all in black jumped out over the ditch on my left hand side, said “good night Dannyboy”, crossed the road and jumped in over the other ditch. It all happened so fast that I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. It was quite a while before I could move and I kept asking myself where she was coming from at that time of night and what on earth she could be doing. The fact that she knew me and called me by my name meant that she was a local but I am sure she was flesh and bone and nobody from the “other side”

Those events made me as nervous as the story tellers of old did. Alas it is a dying profession and they are getting very scarce nowadays. We still have a couple in the area; Daisy Kearney and John Collins. Daisy is one of the Fitzgerald family from Knocknasna, a sister to the late Mary Browne and Nora Ita Hunt. She is now world famous after performing all, over the world with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann tour groups.. She has a wealth of stories and recitations, many of them of local origin. She also has some that were made famous by the late Eamon Kelly on the radio.  John Collins is a farmer in Dromin beesm near Killoughteen in Newcastle West. His people came from across the river from me in Tullig. John, like Daisy, has toured extensively with Comhaltas and is a regular performer with the ‘Glantine Seisiún group that performs at the Devon Inn throughout the summer months. He also does a fine brush dance to jig time, one of the few who doesn’t do it to reels. We are lucky to have these two with us as, sadly, no young people in the area are carrying on the tradition. Comhaltas are trying to encourage story telling by adding a new competition to the Fleadhs. This might encourage more young people to do  a little research and learn a story or two. We don’t want it to be a dying art, especially in these days of social media where most communications are not done orally. I hope the competition takes off and we can once again enjoy the telling of stories old and new.

While I am at it I would also like to appeal to people to get involved in all types of writing; poetry, prose etc. Not long ago we had Dan Keane, Pat Brosnan, and Paddy Faley, all prolific with the pen. Alas they have all passed on, God be good to them, and, as yet, there are no replacements for them.

I would be open to any ideas of how we can encourage budding writers and composers so, if you have an idea, please contact me.  In the meantime watch how you go, especially late at night!