Chairman Paul Curry & Secretary Pat O’Sullivan presenting a token of appreciation to Máiréad O’Donovan who stepped down as Treasurer of Athea GAA Club at the AGM on
Sunday evening last.

Congratulations to Kathleen Woulfe, Cratloe, who celebrated her 90th Birthday on Thursday last, November 30th.


Athea CCE will hold their Christmas party and session at the Top of the Town on Sunday next December 10th beginning at 6pm. Members of the music and singing classes, along with dancers from John Joe Tierney’s school, will perform for the first hour followed by the senior session. Everybody welcome to attend.

Ladies Monthly Night Out

The last monthly night out for this year will take place on Friday, December 15th at Brown Joe’s.  This will be a Christmas Party Theme night with wine and nibbles and the usual quiz, games etc. If anyone would like to join us for a great night of fun you would be most welcome and word has it that Santa might even make an appearance on the night. All the proceeds will go to the Butterfly Club.

O’Donovan welcomes €34,500 in funding for Athea Sports Clubs

Limerick TD and Minister of State for Finance and Public Expenditure, Patrick O’Donovan TD, has said he is delighted that €34,500 has been allocated to Athea Sports Clubs under the latest round of the Sports Capital Programme.

Athea GAA Club has been allocated €24,000 and Athea United AFC €10,500. Almost €1.6 million is to be invested in the Limerick County Constituency under the 2017 Sports Capital Programme.

“I am delighted to have been able to deliver this funding for Athea. In total nearly €100,000 has now been allocated to Athea under the Sport Capital Programme since it reopened in 2014. This is fantastic news for the clubs in Athea, their volunteers and the users of the clubs facilities.

“Local sports organisations are constantly trying to improve their facilities and I know the difficulties that they encounter in trying to raise money. This is particularly difficult in smaller communities with small populations, so being able to deliver this money to the constituency as a Minister is important for me.”

“When I was Minister for Sport I reopened the Sports Capital Programme for applications because I could see the need for investment in our communities. I convinced my Government colleagues that this was needed and I’m delighted now to say that sixty different projects in our area are being funded through this programme.”

Patrick O’Donovan said he understood that not every club got what they had looked for and some were unsuccessful in their efforts; however he said that Minister Brendan Griffin had awarded funds to those clubs whose applications were valid.

He added that as Minister for Sport he had managed to have the scheme put on an annual basis. “This means that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport will be able to open applications again for clubs and organisations to seek funding under the scheme in the near future, and as someone who has seen the benefit of the programme as Minister for Sport I certainly will be pushing Government to do that once these allocations have been awarded.”

“This is good news for the towns, villages and parishes across Co. Limerick who will receive this funding. The funding means that construction companies across Limerick will be able to get local contracts in the community, something which I know will be a very positive thing for our rural economy.”

The Festive Season 

Domhnall de Barra

Christmas time is upon us again and the buying frenzy has already started. In trying to understand why, I googled Christmas and found a lot of information about the origins of the feast and how it developed over the years. You can do this yourselves so I won’t go into it except  for the following passage:

The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, completing an Advent calendar or Advent wreathChristmas music and caroling, lighting a Christingle, viewing a Nativity play, an exchange of Christmas cardschurch services, a special meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lightsnativity scenesgarlandswreathsmistletoe, and holly. In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa ClausFather ChristmasSaint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.

That passage sums up  in a few sentences what Christmas is about but it does not tell the whole story. With all the ballyhoo, the real meaning of Christmas can easily get lost. It was created to  celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, an event that is central to Christian beliefs. December 25th may not be the real date of the Lord’s birth  but it was chosen because it was the shortest day of the year in the Roman calendar and marked the beginning of the longer days  to come and more light. When people celebrate they often do so by eating together so the Christmas dinner began. It was, and still is, a great family occasion and a time for loving and sharing.

In modern times things have taken a turn for the worse. Christmas has been hijacked by commercial interests who couldn’t care less about the religious aspect and continue to find ways of separating us from our cash. Television has given them a great medium to bombard us with all the “must have” items to make our Christmas more complete. Ads subtly make parents feel they have to get the most expensive toys because all the neighbours children will have them. No parent wants their child to be the odd one out so some will even go into debt to avoid it. Then there are all the unnecessary additions. A candle burning in the window was once the only decoration but now there seems to be a competition as to who has the most lights surrounding the house and trees. Christmas parties are a must for most firms. It is just an excuse for a night of revelry fuelled by copious amounts of booze. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a killjoy and will raise a glass or two myself over the Christmas period and I like the lights around the houses. Coming down from Knocknaboul at night, during the Christmas period, brings joy to my heart when I see half the parish before me lit up. It is just that I hate to see people being pressured into buying things they can’t really afford in an effort to keep up with the Joneses. There are people, adults and children, all over the world who will not have enough to eat this Christmas yet we will all fill up our fridges with every kind of food, most of which will be thrown out after the holidays.  But the buying is not starting now; shops have been selling Christmas fare since before Halloween. It is too early and takes away from the excitement leading up to the big day. By the time it arrives we will all be thoroughly fed up with the constant playing of Christmas songs and the sight of holly, ivy, snow sleighs and all the other images beamed at us from the TV screen.

Perhaps it is time for Christians to reclaim Christmas and return to a time when it had real meaning and celebrated an event that changed the world forever. What I love about Christmas is the way it brings out the best in us, if even for a very short time. I am looking forward to having some of the family together and showing how much we care about each other. We can do this by exchanging gifts. For the past few years we have operated a kind of Christkindl where there is an upper limit on the cost of a present. All the names are put in a hat and are then drawn in pairs who will buy a present for each other. Remember it is not the cost but the thought that counts.

It is also a great time for giving to charities. We all want to help those in need but, if you are contemplating donating a few bob, this Christmas, make sure the money you give gets to those who need it and is not swallowed up by “expenses” and lavish salaries to those at the top.  In the meantime I will try to ignore the frenzy for another couple of weeks.