Adam & Derek Byrne with Pat Sullivan at the U14 County Final in Rathkeale
on Saturday morning last.

Athea Horse & Pony Races

The Horse & Pony Races will take place on Sunday next, October 1st on the lands of  Mike and Helen O’Keeffe in Glenagore. Starting at 1pm it promises to be a very enjoyable family day out with fun for the kids as well. Hopefully the weather will be good for the day and best of luck to all concerned. The monies raised on the day will go towards paying for a defibrillator.  

Athea Branch Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann

Will hold a Trad Session at White’s Bar this coming Sunday, October 8th from 7-9pm. Music, song, storytelling etc. Come along and join in the fun. Everyone Welcome.

Ladies Monthly Night Out

The Ladies are back after the Summer break and will have a fun night on Friday, October 6th at Brown Joe’s Bar. All the usual fun and games including quiz will be the order of the night. Come along and join in the fun. Proceeds from this night will go to the Athea Parent & Toddler Group.

Benny Thade Celebrates One Year At The Rambling House

Benny Thade McCarthy’s Next Rambling House will take place on Monday Night October 2nd at 9pm at Fr Casey’s Club House, Abbeyfeale. All singers, storytellers, musicians and dancers all welcome to attend. Would love to see you all there on the night to celebrate our First Birthday.

Athea Parish Journal

Another year has flown by and we are starting to prepare for the Journal. We would ask all contributors, clubs, associations etc. to start sending in their material, photo’s etc as soon as possible so that the Journal will be in the shops as early as possible. Photos and articles can be emailed to [email protected] photos can be handed in to the office for scanning.

The Joys of Walking 

Domhnall de Barra 

I hated walking when I was young because, until we could afford a bicycle, it was our only way for getting from A to B. It started at an early age with a mile and a half walk to school in the morning and the same home every day. It wouldn’t stop there because we might have to go to the shop, another mile there and back, or even to the village which was three miles. I knew that I would have to go to the village on Fridays to pick up my grandmother’s pension at the post office. Imagine what would happen today if a schoolboy tried to pick up the pension – different times. It wasn’t so much the walking I resented but the weather. Rain gear wasn’t too good at the time so getting drenched was a regular occurrence. Anyway, as soon as I could I stopped walking. I had plenty of exercise playing games. When I went to England first I played rugby on Saturdays, soccer on Sunday mornings and Gaelic football or hurling on Sunday afternoon – sometimes both codes!  Add to that the fact that , after playing music at the Kerryman’s club in Coventry, I usually finished up at a dancehall until the small hours. There was no time to put on weight so on the day I got married I weighed in at 10 stone 7 pounds!  Gradually I “settled down” as they say and with regular home cooking, a few pints and a lack of exercise, the weight began to pile on until I was over 14 stone. We were never made aware of proper diet or the dangers of being overweight so there was no worries until I reached middle age and began to show all the symptoms of having prostate cancer. I went to the doctor and when the tests came back and he told me I had type 2 diabetes I was delighted. I didn’t know much about diabetes but it was the lesser of two evils and was manageable. I often say that I am sorry I didn’t get it years earlier because it forced me to rearrange my lifestyle and look after my health. The giving up of certain foods and drinks was difficult at the start but when I was told I should walk every day I dreaded it. Forty years of inactivity meant that I was anything but fit but I had no choice and took to the road. It wasn’t pleasant at the beginning but gradually it got easier and soon I actually began looking forward to my daily stroll. Unlike in my boyhood days, we now have good clothes and umbrellas so there is no excuse. I prefer weather that isn’t too warm and I don’t like high wind but otherwise I really enjoy walking. It gives me about an hour on my own with my own thoughts and quite often I find the answer to some problem while on the road. At other times I take in the beauty all around, on the hedgerows and in the fields and on the far off hillsides. There are a few lovely walks in the area. The most common one is the “slí na sláinte” route which passes both graveyards. This takes me roughly an hour to complete which is long enough for me. There is a slightly longer walk out the Glin road, down Dirreen to Barry’s Bridge and in the Low Road to the village. Nearer to my home there is a difficult “ring” as the locals call it, over to Cratloe school, up the branch to the Cnockeens and back to Knocknaboul. I don’t do this anymore because it takes too long and the climbing is too steep. I love walking up the Cnockeens. I park up at the start of the “council road” and walk up the hill. I turn right about a half mile up which takes me to the top of the hill. It is worth stopping here for a moment and looking at the view behind. I can see from Sugarhill and Barna through the rolling hills back to Abbeyfeale and Castleisland, all to the backdrop of the majestic Cork and Kerry mountains. I turn right at the top of the hill but, if one has the time a few steps should be taken in a northern direction. Suddenly there is a huge panorama of beauty spread out before the eyes. Half the parish of Athea can be seen and over the hills to the Shannon all the way back to Ballybunion. Across the Shannon, the hills of Clare can be plainly seen. On a good day it could take your breath away. Back then to where I turn right down towards the windmills. They too have their own beauty as the huge vanes turn gracefully in the wind. On either side of the road I can see the unique flowers and bushes of the boglands and the wildlife that dwells amongst them. The sound of birds fills the air at certain times of the year and sometimes the bog cotton or “ceannabhán” looks like a blanket of purest snow. Past the windmills I turn right again and go through a gate into the forest. There is a sudden change as the trees give shelter on both sides. There is a calmness and serenity about the almost enclosed space and a good time for reflection. Soon I am out of the forest and onto the road  by Patsy Martin’s house in Keale. From there I walk back the road to the car. On either side of the road there are trees planted  on the edge of the forest (most of it cut down) that bear beautiful clusters of red berries. All too soon my walk is over but I feel alive and invigorated by the experience.  This is only one walk and I am sure people have their own favourites that they might like to share with us. We are living in a most beautiful part of the country but because we are so familiar with it we take it for granted. It is no harm sometimes to stop and smell the roses, as it were. Yes, walking is great and, for me, a necessary exercise that keeps me reasonably fit for my age. All one needs for walking  is appropriate clothes and, most important, a really good pair of walking shoes. Do not go walking in a cheap pair of runners. They can do untold damage so it is well worth spending the extra few bob to have the support and comfort. The days I don’t walk I play golf, another marvellous way of exercising. I am on the course for about four hours using every part of the body. The shoulders and arms are used swinging the clubs as are the hips when driving off the tee. The back is bent over 100 times placing tees, picking up balls and placing markers and of course I have to walk from one end of the course to the other (about 11 km in Castleisland). There are other benefits to playing golf but that is a story for another day so, if you are not already a regular walker, please consider becoming one and experience the joys of an outdoor activity that is free and open to all.