Ciara O’Sullivan, Upper Athea showing off the medals she won for traditional singing at the Fleadh this year. Ciara, who is 11 years old, performed at the Comhaltas singing night at Batt’s Bar recently and sings regularly at Rambling houses and sinning sessions in Kerry and West Limerick.

“Get Knockdown, Get Back Up Again”

Family Fun Day

“The Knockdown Challenge” 5k/10k Run takes place on Sunday, September 24th. Knockdown Village Centre, registration 10.30am-11.45am. Kick off at 12 pm. Entry: Individual €10, Family €20. All in aid of the Children’s Medical Research Foundation, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.

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.

Thank You

On behalf of the Woulfe family we would like to thank Athea United Soccer Club most sincerely for the Minute Silence they organised on Sunday last at The Vales prior to the first game of the season for mom (Penny). Athea United was a massive part of her life and it was a very lovely fitting tribute to her.


Domhnall de  Barra

Extreme weather conditions are getting more frequent and are happening all over the world. We have droughts, heatwaves, earthquakes, landslides, extreme flooding etc that some say are caused by global warming. There are those who disagree and say that weather  always changed even before global warming was ever mentioned. Whatever the cause we are faced with the prospect of uncertain climatic conditions for the foreseeable future. We are used to watching natural disasters on TV from other countries and while we have great sympathy for the people involved they are somehow far removed and kind of unreal, as if it was a fictional drama. This past week it was brought home to us in graphic detail by the atrocious conditions in the North West of the country. Donegal, in particular, took the brunt of it with a storm that experts say happens only once in a century. Roads and bridges were swept away by the floods caused by torrential downpours. Peoples homes and property were destroyed and some farm stock were wiped out. Donegal is one of the most beautiful counties in Ireland and its people are the nicest and most hospitable you will find anywhere. I know this through my personal contacts with them and I have spent many happy hours in the past playing music in a place where it is really appreciated. They have a lovely lilting accent and seem to be laid back all the time. It came as no surprise to me therefore when I heard them being interviewed on the radio about the local disasters and how they were coping, to hear that the communities were rallying around and everybody was helping everyone else. This is the true community spirit that has made this country what it is today.

In days gone by, in rural Ireland, everybody knew everyone else and people were always in and out of each others houses. They did not always get along and when Mary met Molly they might talk about Kate and what a “rip” she was. The same could happen if  Mary met Kate when Molly would be the one getting the “cutting”.  One would be forgiven for thinking they hated each other but if any of them had any trouble the other two would be the first on the scene to help. Nobody was ever left without help in any situation. If a man died young and left a widow and children, the neighbours always made sure that the turf was cut and the hay saved. Nobody asked, it was the done thing.

That spirit is still there though manifested in a different way. TDs and government ministers are quick to take credit for the improvements in rural Ireland but it is in fact the people themselves who have done the most to make this happen. Take our own parish. There are a number of voluntary organisations that raise money on a regular basis. Sporting organisations like the GAA, Soccer, Ladies Football, Basketball Club, Community Games etc are all funded from local donations. Then you have the Community Council, Con Colbert Hall, Tidy Towns, Athea National School and several other smaller organisations like St. Vincent De Paul, Voluntary Housing etc., all getting money from the community. It is given willingly and the volunteers who man these clubs and organisations are the real heroes who give of their time, week after week to help make a better parish for us all. The result is staggering. We now have two of the best sporting pitches in the county, one out the Glin Road and the other on top of the hill. They had the foresight to go ahead and renovate their grounds for the betterment of our young players. We have a Community Hall that is used by basketball clubs from far and wide because of its excellent facilities. Our school is a state of the art educational facility for the children of Athea and gives them a great start in life. The Community Council provides employment for about 15 people, year after year, through the various CE schemes and the village has been transformed by the work done. The Tidy Towns Committee put in Trojan work making sure that the village is looking its best. Volunteers can be seen in the evenings and at the weekends going around watering flowers and cutting grass and weeds. The Church was rebuilt with money from the parish and people keep contributing generously every week. Other organisations look after housing and necessary material for those less well off in our society and First Responders are there  in a medical emergency. This is Athea but we are not unique. It is replicated in small rural parishes all over the country. By helping each other we become stronger. It may take a disaster such as they had up in Donegal to bring it to mind but we should always be aware of the amount of work done by local volunteers to create a better environment in which to live. We owe them a debt of gratitude and the best way to repay them is by joining them. If you have a couple of spare hours in the week, please considering joining one of the many clubs and organisations in the parish. It is better to give than receive, they say,  and I know from my own experience the satisfaction of seeing your work come to fruition. Two phrases spring to mind: “many hands make light work” and “give a little, it will help a lot”.