Fundraising Movie Day

There will be a fundraising movie day on the 9th of September in Con Colbert Memorial Hall. This is in aid of the Limerick Neo Natal Unit and the Jack and Jill Foundation. The movie ‘Boss’ will screen for children at 3pm. Tickets €6 (includes children’s refreshments). The movie ‘Raising Arizona’ will screen for adults at 7pm. Tickets €10 (includes glass of wine/beer).

Tickets are on sale at Horgan’s Garage, Athea or contact Annemarie at 087-9614131.

Athea Drama Group AGM 

Athea Drama Group will hold their AGM on Monday, September 4th at the Library, Athea at 8pm. All members are asked to attend and new members are most welcome. Please spread the word!



Kneeling : Christy Roche, Tom Barrett, Seanie Connors, Mick Moore, Patrick (Bomber) Mullane, Dan Liston.
Standing : Tom Murphy, Timmy Mullane, Sean Dalton, Mikey Connors, Me féin, Jimmy Hayes, Sonny Murphy, Mick Dalton, Pa Connors, Tadhg Shine.
Standing at the back : Two youths( names unknown), Jack McAuliffe(son, Sean aged 8/9) in the centre, Mick Phil Woulfe, Father Michael O Connor C.C.

The late Mikey Connors

Timmy Woulfe 

I never heard any locals referred to the late Mikey as Michael O’Connor, but, in his day, he had a towering presence in the community as an outstanding footballer. Even though comparisons are said  to be odious and not every Athea footballer got the same opportunities to develop their skills, I feel confident enough to say that Mikey would be in the top two or three players who wore the local jersey.

In any case, very few could counter my judgment because most have passed away, God rest them. For instance, of the 1950 team, the first to win a county title, only Christy O Connell (John’s brother now in Birmingham) and myself are around to tell the tale and of Mikey’s team, possibly mid- 1950s, only five remain.

Mikey and his brother, Richie, were  a god-send to Athea because the parish was ravaged by emigration and poverty and the club’s biggest problem was just to have fifteen to make a team. Sad to say, Athea won nothing between 1950 and 1963 and Mikey Connors was unfortunate to be playing within that period. Because of lack of matches and being a struggling junior club he was only once selected on a Limerick team and, shortly afterwards he joined the Garda Síochána where he spent most of his working life in Dublin.

This finished his playing career in Limerick, though he joined a senior club, Dwyers of Balbriggan (I think), with whom he continued his football career. Strangely enough, his brother Richie was full-back for Athea when they won the county junior title in 1963, and, I might add, he too was an exceptional footballer.

Mikey’s passing evokes a great, nostalgic sadness in me. I was very involved in the administrative side of the club, such as it was, he and I shared the midfield responsibility and I was always certain you’d get 110% from him no matter what the occasion.

As I have always said it behoves us to bring to mind to the present public and, especially, the playing public, the endeavour of those who soldiered on the playing fields in the long ago and paved the way for those who have now taken their places.

Ar dheis an Té is fearr leat, Mikey. Twas great while it lasted


Domhnall de  Barra


Continuing my nostalgic ramblings of last week. I was reminded by Timmy Woulfe that there is a huge connection between Athea and Bunratty Folk Park. I mentioned Tadhg Shine  and his forge last week but Timmy reminded me that the village was designed by Kevin Danagher and was built by Tom O’Halloran. Maybe there are more connections and, if so, I would love to hear about them.

We can be proud of the part Athea people played in creating this most important reminder of our relatively recent past which now seems centuries ago. Times were certainly different. There was a lot more local commerce in the last century. Most houses in villages and small towns ran some kind of business. Remember there were no supermarkets and very little transport so every necessity had to be bought locally, indeed much of the merchandise was made locally. There was the cobbler who made shoes, usually hob-nailed boots for working. They were a ton weight with all the rows of nails in the soles but they were warm and durable and ideal for working on the land. The harness maker worked with leather to make all the tackling for horses and asses, schoolbags and belts for trousers. With the reliance on horse-drawn machinery he was kept busy. Before I am accused of being sexist by saying “he” , I don’t recall any female who plied her trade as a harness maker. The tailor and dressmaker took care of the clothes that were worn. Suits and costumes were made for best wear. These were reserved for Sunday Mass and other ceremonial occasions and clothes were meant to last a long time. Very often a man might be laid out in a suit he bought for his wedding!  The butcher raised his own beasts for slaughter or bought them from local farmers. He wasn’t too busy during the week as that was the time for the usual dinner of bacon, cabbage or turnips and potatoes but at the weekend most families bough a nice joint to roast or boil.

The draper’s shop catered for all the bed clothes, linen, curtains etc. along with socks, shirts blouses , nylons and  every other type of clothing. If you wanted to get a suit or a costume made, you first visited the draper to choose the cloth. The cloth came in bolts and  you could take your pick from a variety of colours and designs.

Most towns and villages had at least one bakery. The majority of households made their own bread in the oven but sometimes they bought a “panloaf” to make sandwiches or to have if visitors called. They bakeries also provided buns which were a luxury in those days.

The hardware store provided all the usual fare for building and repairing around houses and farms. Most of them stocked meal and flour as well.

I remember Paddy Quaid passing our house on his way from Cork with a huge load of meal in bags on an old Nuffield tractor heading for Danagher’s Store. What a journey it was in those days when roads weren’t as good as they are today and tractors travelled at a much slower pace. Other shops sold furniture and fittings and other necessities for the home.

The undertaker usually made his own coffins and, due to the amount of horses needed on the land, there was one or two forges in the area. On a wet day, which was good for nothing else, the forge would be very busy.

Then the grocers provided tea, sugar etc. including a variety of sweets and chocolates that we longingly stared at through the shop window.

The Post Office provided stamps and postal orders and paid out all the welfare payments in the area. On certain days of the week there would be a long queue waiting to be served.

And then of course there were the pubs. Most of the bigger businesses had a pub as well. It wasn’t a big area but  people who came to the village usually had a drink so that they wouldn’t take the “curse of the town” with them. Even at the creamery it was customary for some to have a pint or two in the early morning!  In some shops there was a variety of goods on offer. You might here a customer call for “a pint of porter, a loaf of bread and the Irish Press please”.

Apart from walking, the bicycle was the main means of getting from A to B so there had to be a bicycle shop or at least somebody who would supply tyres and fix punctures. Because the roads were so bad, punctures were a regular occurrence and though most cyclists repaired their own punctures, there came a time when a new tube was the only answer.

Yes, business was brisk in those days and  there was an understanding between regular customers and the shopkeeper with regard to payment. Items bought would be listed in a ledger by the shopkeeper and in a little pass book by the customer and settlement would be made on a weekly, monthly basis or when the creamery cheque was cashed. Were we better or worse off than we are today? I leave that up to you the readers but I would love to go back just for one day.