Archive for November, 2017



Megan Carroll, Bachelor of Science and Physical Education receives A University of Limerick Sports Scholarship Award this week.

Cathy Gibbons, Gortnagross, Athea, who works at Noreen Barry’s Playgroup in Abbeyfeale, with the certificate she received from the University of Limerick. Cathy graduated with grade 1 honours in “Leadership for inclusion in the Early Years”. She is being congratulated by Noreen Barry

St. Vincent de Paul

The St. Vincent de Paul annual Church gate collection will take place this coming weekend,  Saturday/Sunday December 2nd & 3rd. Your support as always will be greatly appreciated. 

Going Strong Christmas Party

The Going Strong Christmas Party will be held on Wednesday, December 6th starting with Mass at 12.30pm (sharp) in the Top of the Town. Meal will be served at 1.30pm with music afterwards by Ger Connaghan. The cost is €10 per person and names must be handed in before December 3rd to Rose at Brouder’s Shop, Peggy Casey or Maireád Langan. There is a choice of beef or turkey for the main course so please state which you want when booking.  A great day is in store with music, song, dance and spot prizes galore. If anyone wants to donate at spot prize we would greatly appreciate it.

Thank You

On behalf of the O’Connor family, we would like to thank most sincerely Athea Community First Responders for the help, support and care that was given to our mother Betty when she fell ill last year. The response from the responders was immediate and reassuring. We would also like to thank Dr. Murphy who attended Betty on the day. Thank you to all our neighbours and friends that called, text, sent cards and well wishes. We are very lucky to live in such a caring community. Thank you to Fr. Bowen who called to Betty numerous times while she was in intensive care and also when she came home. Thank you also to Fr. Duggan for the monthly visits. It is greatly appreciated by all her family. A Mass will be offered for your good intentions.

From the O’Connor & Wallace families, Coole West.


Sincere sympathy to Ashling Reidy (who works at O’Riordan’s Pharmacy in Athea) on the recent sudden death of her father Liam Stirrat from Scotstown in Co. Monaghan. Liam, who was very involved in the GAA, played for and managed the Monaghan Team.  ‘May he rest in Peace’

Things of the Past

Domhnall de Barra

I have written many times about the changes that have occurred in Ireland since my schooldays in the middle of the last century. Hard to believe that we have gone from an era without electricity, running water, cars, tar roads, TVs  mobile telephones, computers,  toilets etc to the world of technology and relative luxury we have today. Money was scarce but was not needed because there were no utility bills or food bills to worry about. Most of what we ate grew on the land and a couple of days in the bog or the meadow was enough to get a year’s supply of milk from a neighbouring farmer if you didn’t have “a cow for the house”.  Young people wonder how we could survive under the prevailing conditions and how we weren’t bored out of our minds. In reality we never heard of the word boredom. Every bit of the day was filled with activity. School took up the early part of the day and as soon as we got home we had our “jobs” to do. Water had to be drawn from the well, turf brought in for the night, animals fed, hens and other fowl locked up for the night, spuds and vegetables dug, to name but a few. In the summer time we played football or hurling in the evening. All the local lads would gather either at Phil’s field or Dave Connors’ and  two teams would be picked for a match. We started off with rubber balls but we all saved up and pooled our money to buy an O’Neill’s football. The first time we got  that ball we felt like the Kerry team taking the field. Hurling was not like the game we see today. For a start very few of us had a proper hurley (or a “hurl” as they call it in some parts of the country) so lads would appear with sticks made out of flooring board or a stave of a meat barrel or a suitable turned furze root. The ball could be makeshift as well but we got great enjoyment out of it and developed our skills. Some were better than others but the most stylish was Conor Herbert. He could do anything with a ball and hurley, so much so that we christened him “The Wizard of the Ash”, this got shortened to The Wizard and I am not sure if he ever knew what we were calling him behind his back. When we had enough played we might have a game of  pitch and toss, if we had a couple of pennies to start with. The game was simple enough. A “jack”, usually a small stone, was placed on the ground and players took turns tossing a penny at the stone from a prescribed distance. Whoever owned the penny nearest the jack got the first opportunity to toss all the pennies in the air. Some placed the pennies on their palms to toss them but others were more flamboyant and arranged the pennies along the teeth of their combs and deftly flicked them with a theatrical flip of the hand. Whichever method was adopted made little difference as luck now came into play. When the pennies came to rest on the ground the tosser could pick up and keep every one that turned up “heads” and leave the  “harp” ones for the person who was next nearest the jack. This process went on until there were no pennies left and then the next game would begin. There was many an argument about who was the nearest but it never came to blows, unlike the football and hurling.

In the winter time the football and hurling was reserved for Sunday afternoons, if the weather permitted. This, the time of the long dark evenings, was when we “rambled” to a neighbouring house to play cards or learn music and maybe a few steps of a set. Our rambling house was Dave Connors’. Dave, like most men at the time, held court by the fire while his wife Liz busied herself with household chores. They were remarkable, intelligent people and they must have had the patience of Jobe to put up with us. Dave thought me my first few notes on the tin whistle and when I had become “handy” at it he explained the difference between tunes and which would be most suitable for a particular part of a set. Learning to play cards had its own difficulties. Playing the wrong card could incur the wrath of the table but we soon learned the game as well as the lingo to go with it. For instance, if clubs were turned up trumps  somebody would say “club the constable and hand the bailiff”, a phrase that wasn’t coined today or yesterday!.   If it was diamonds it would be “diamonds dearly bought for ladies and small praties boiled for pigs” and a spade would encourage “spades for slaves to go and dig”  The two was referred to as the “deuce”, the three as the “tray”, the knave was the “jack”, the ace of hearts was the “bonham” and the ten of spades was often called the “Ballingarry hearse”. The five of trumps might be called the “big dog” and so on.  We played 41. Five “sticks were played for a ha’penny. Sometimes we played 110, a very skilful game you don’t hear  much of anymore. We had great times in that house and I will always remember their kindness and generosity. The truth is, we didn’t have time to be bored as we never had a moment to spare in the day.  We didn’t have much but we didn’t need much. The best things in life really are free.

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Kathleen’s Corner-29/11/2017

By Kathleen Mullane

Congrats and well done to Shannon Brady of Upper Athea, who recently won the N.F. Fighter of the Year Award at the Charity Ball held at The Listowel Arms Hotel recently. The event was organized by Shannon in aid of the N.F. Association of Ireland – the Irish Charity set up to help those affected by N.F. – a genetic condition that causes tumours to grow in nerves in the body. Danny Brady, Shannon’s brother, also got an award for being a great support to Shannon and their family. A great night was enjoyed by all.

Don’t forget the Going Strong Christmas Party on Wednesday, December 6th at the Top of the Town. This is always a great day with Christmas dinner, dancing and loads of spot-prizes. All are welcome, so get your names in this week

Congrats and well done to the U14 boys basketball team who, on Friday night last, had a great win in Farranfore. And they completed their ‘winning streak’ on Sunday last by beating Castleisland ‘A’ team. They are going from strength to strength.

The death took place during the week of Kieran Sheehy of Templeathea and Cabinteely, Dublin. Kieran passed away, after his illness, at Milford Hospice. Many came to pay their final respects at Kelly’s funeral parlour on Wednesday evening last.  Concelebrated Requiem Mass was on Thursday and burial took place to Holy Cross Cemetery afterwards. Sincere sympathy is extended to his wife Hannah, his daughters, relatives and many friends. ‘May the light of heaven be his’.

At our recent hall meeting the installation of the new hall windows was one of the main points of discussion. They will be put in shortly and it’s great to see these improvements being made. Recent visitors to the hall were so impressed with the sports-hall, the front hall and everything else about it, so we should be extremely grateful to have this great facility in our midst.

Well I’ve heard is all now – can you believe it was suggested on the news during the week and in the papers, that grandparents aren’t going to be allowed, in the near future, to “Hug” their grandchildren. The reason being it may have an affect on them in later years! What a load of – I’ll put it mildly – CODSWALLOP. I could be ‘Blunter’ – but I’ll refrain – maybe the parents will be the next to be stopped. I wonder what “bright spark” came up with the idea – maybe someone who longs for a grandparent’s hug or cuddle. As long as I have breath in my body – I’ll keeping giving my grandchildren a hug!

This weekend Rose’s (at Brouder’s) Christmas Shop opens next door – and with our 2 shops it is great to be able to shop locally.

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Knockdown News-29/11/2017

By Peg Prendeville

Congratulations to Mary Reidy, Knockdown on the birth of another grandson recently. Harry Devine, a brother to Bobby and Jack, was born to Elaine and Philip. We wish them all the best.

Congratulations to my own little granddaughter, Lily Hutchinson from Abbeyleix, who has gone through to the National finals representing Portlaoise Gymnastics Club in the U7 category. In our young days the only gymnastics we knew about was jumping out of the way in the bog for fear you’d get hit by a sod of turf!

There was a great buzz of excitement in Ballyhahill on Sunday with the  Food and Craft Fair which was held in the Parish Hall. About twenty tables were laid out with all kinds of temptations for Christmas shopping; there were home-produced products like baking, puddings, sausages, cheese, jams and chutneys, Christmas wreaths, candles, elaborate homemade decorations, homemade Christmas cribs, jewellery, knitwear and crochet, paintings and many other gifts suitable for any occasion. It was great to walk around and appreciate all the hard work and talent that is around us all the time but more noticeable when it is gathered together in one space. What I find marvellous too is the energy and creativity of the newly formed Parish hall committee members who have not spent an idle moment since they took on the job. Well done to everybody.

Nice to hear that there is an Athea Craft Group set up and keeping busy designing and making all kinds of art and crafts which we look forward to seeing very soon. As I keep saying, we are surrounded by talent.

Christmas shopping is in full swing now with just 25 days to Santa Claus. Children are getting excited and adults getting flustered with the preparations. But it is a nice time and a time for gatherings and celebrations. Let us hope it will not be marred by an election which is threatening as I write these lines.


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