Athea Vintage Club Presentation of cheque to St. Vincent de Paul Society (proceeds from their recent Vintage Run)
Club members Jack Quaid, Pat Langan, Francie Flavin, Ciara McMahon Flavin, Sean Barrett, (St. Vincent de Paul), Jimmy Kelly, Sean Flavin, Johnny Kelly, Nellie Flavin & Betty Cotter. Missing from photo Johnny Cotter, Jerry Brouder, Noreen O’Connor & Geraldine Cummane.

Well Done to Joe Aherne, (front right) pictured with a group of walkers after finishing the last leg of his walk from Ardagh to Listowel on August 5th for Crumlin Children’s Hospital.

Annual Graveyard Mass 

The annual graveyard mass will take place in Holy Cross Cemetery on this Friday, August 18th at 7.30 pm weather permitting, in which case the alternative date will be Tuesday, August 22nd.

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!


Domhnall de  Barra

Dancing is probably one of the oldest forms of artistic expression and has functions that may be social, ceremonial, competitive, erotic, martial, or sacred/liturgical. Archaeological evidence for early dance includes 9,000-year-old paintings in India at the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, and Egyptian tomb paintings depicting dancing figures, dated c. 3300 BC .

My own experience of dance doesn’t quite go back that far but I remember watching old Western movies depicting Red Indians dancing around camp fires to the sound of chanting and the beat of  bodhrán-like instruments. Most primitive tribes had their own war dances, rain dances, wedding dances etc. and the custom has developed over the years to what we have today. There are basically two types of dance; one which is performed solo or in a group for the entertainment of others and social dancing where people dance in couples for  enjoyment. It is in our nature to dance, or at least to keep time to music. When a lively tune is played most people will tap their feet in time. Dancing is just a natural extension of that.

When we were growing up dancing played a huge part in our lives. The dance hall was one of the few places where boy could meet girl and we looked forward all the week to the dance on Sunday night. Before we could venture onto the floor some dance steps had to be learned. You wouldn’t get very far with a girl if the first thing you did was stand on her toes or kick her in the shin!!  Older brothers and sisters were very useful in this regard and many is the dance that was practiced on the kitchen floor. Neighbours would also lend a hand  passing on their  artistic knowledge but it was a nerve-racking experience in the beginning.

In those days, unlike now, people actually danced together and there were different steps for the various dances. Waltzes, foxtrots, quicksteps, military two steps, sambas, tangos were only part of what might be played by the band on a particular night and, at that time, no night’s dancing was complete without at least one Siege of Ennis and the local polka. So, there was a lot to learn before picking up enough courage to ask a lady to dance. Most of us had only a few basic steps of the simpler dances to start with and picked up the others as we went along.

I was extremely lucky on my first voyage to meet a local girl who was slightly older than me who took me under her wing and had great patience with my clumsy efforts at the waltz. I was a quick learner and, with a bit of confidence, I soon became confident enough to hold my own to most dance rhythms. It was the custom at the time for the ladies to gather on one side of the hall and the gents to congregate on the other.

When a dance was announced there was a rush across the floor to get a partner. The gents always did the asking and, though  it was frowned upon by dance hall owners, ladies sometimes refused. Having made the crossing and been refused one was in a dilemma. Should the quest for a dancing partner continue by asking the next nearest lady and risk a further humiliating refusal or return to the other side of the hall under the gaze  of everybody. We soon got cute and would pre-book a dance partner  before the next dance was called. This avoided the dreaded charge across the floor and the chance of further disappointment. After a while there were  regular ladies that we danced to every night. They might be going out with somebody else, so might you, but we danced for the love of it and enjoyed  every minute of it.

Time moved on and the influence of modern music added new dances that were different to what we were used to. “Rock and Roll” was one of the first that required totally different movements to what we were used to. This was followed by “jiving” where the man stood dancing in the same place twirling a lady under his outstretched arm. This dance became very popular and is still danced today.

The next craze that came along was really the first one where there was no contact between the dancing couples. It was called the “Twist” and it lasted for a good while. Other dances came along that  did not require contact between couples and this gradually has led to the disco dancing that has taken over  from the formal dancing we knew.

The good thing about disco dancing is that no formal learning is required and dancers are able to make up their own movements as they go along. It is almost a return to the primitive tribal dancing of old so it might have come full circle!

In recent years there has been a resurgence in old style dancing, particularly set dancing and social dancing. Classes are available all over the country for those who want to brush up on the skills they had in their youth or those who want to learn for the first time.

The classes are a great social occasion as well and there is great craic amongst those attending. We are lucky in Athea to have three great dance teachers, Timmy Woulfe, John Joe Tierney and Josephine O’Connor. Their classes will be commencing again an a few weeks time so there is no excuse for anyone who wants to  learn a few steps and meet new friends at the same time.