By Peg Prendeville

We have often read of the calm which preceded The Night of the Big Wind in Ireland in 1839 and so it was also on Sunday night when there was not even a slight breeze. It was the calm before the storm in earnest. But we were lucky here in Knockdown because even though the wind was strong Ophelia did not do major damage. It seems that storm Darwin in 2014 did more destruction than Ophelia. Yes, some trees came down but nobody was hurt thankfully. I know, from looking at photos on the RTE News, that others in the country were not as lucky but we are thankful here that it has passed over without too much trauma.

There was a lovely ceremony for the Harvest Mass last Sunday in Ballyhahill. Gifts were offered as follows: First up was Lauren Campbell, grandchild of Mike and Noreen Chawke, with a basket of autumn leaves gathered by the Ballyhahill Pre-school children. Next was Chloe O’Halloran with a basket of fruit and vegetables all grown from seeds planted by a parishioner in the spring. Kasey Kiriakaki presented an apple tart made from home grown apples. Jimmy Mullane presented the Ballyhahill Cookbook, the result of months of careful planning and preparation by the Ballyhahill School Parents’ Association. Lizzie Woulfe presented some homemade blackberry jam and homemade chutney. And lastly Amie Woods, captain of the Ladies football team presented the County Cup, their harvest from hard work and dedication during the year. Fr Crawford, in the absence of Fr McNamara, celebrated the Mass.

There will be a special Mass in Loughill/Ballyhahill on November 4th and 5th for those who died in the parish during the year.

The ICA ladies had a lovely October meeting with a mixture of poetry and folklore. Daisy had the group enthralled with her rendition of “Betsy and I are out” which she learned almost 70 years ago and has not forgotten. Others read from both  known and un-established poets on the theme of Autumn. Majella, as speaker of the month,  brought the members up to date on the origins of Hallowe’en or Samhain. Peg reported on her trip to the National Treasures roadshow in Galway recently. The guild agreed to have a table of Crafts and Bric-a-brac at the Ballyhahill Hall Craft and Food Fair on the 26th November. A lovely tea was produced by Geraldine and all enjoyed the camaraderie and chat afterwards.

It seems hard to believe that it is the time of year when Athea News is looking for contributions to its Christmas magazine but I know from experience that one needs to get started early to get work like this together so get cracking everybody and put your thoughts and ideas and memories on paper and bring a smile to somebody at Christmas. Speaking of smiles a memory comes of when one of my own children, who was with Mary Woulfe in infants at the time, came home very excited from school one day to tell me that he had learned the Irish for “hurry up”. “And what is it”, I asked. “Get crackin!” he proudly answered.