By Tom Aherne

The death has taken place of Kathy Casey Byrne, Ardagh in the Mater Private Hospital Dublin aged 29 after a short illness, on Tuesday January 16. Kathy embraced all challenges with spirit and willingness and achieved many of her goals in life. Her years were short but the life in those years impacted greatly on her family, school and friends. She was a teacher, organiser, sports coach/manager, MC and an inspiration to her colleagues at Scoil an Linbh Íosa, Prosperous, Kildare.

She lay in repose at Reidy’s Funeral Home, Newcastle West on Friday, January 19 from 5pm until late due to the large volume of people who came to pay their respects to the Casey Byrne families. Her remains arrived at St. Molua’s Church, Ardagh on Saturday for Requiem Mass at 1.30pm. Fr Tim Curtin concelebrated with Fr Michael Noonan, Fr Dan Lane, Fr John Mockler, Fr Paddy Buckley and Fr Patrick Comerford. Family members and friends were very involved in the moving ceremony and the congregation were invited to join in the singing of the very appropriate hymns for Kathy.

Before the Mass commenced symbols associated with Kathy’s life were brought to the altar.  They included items that portrayed her love for teaching, travel, baking, dancing and her wedding album. The commentary described her devotion to teaching which was her dream job, and her involvement in basketball, tennis, hurling and musicals. Her love of travel saw her visit five continents within five years with family and friends, Baking treats to take along to parties and friends, her strictly Come Dancing trophy as she loved to dance and was the life and soul of every occasion as she lit up a room with her presence. Her wedding album from Sunday January 14 which she planned so well.

The readings Responsorial Psalm (My Soul is longing for Peace) Gospel and Reflection (Sunburst) were carefully chosen and they impacted on the overflowing attendance, which saw the church full 30 minutes before mass. Fr Tim and her brother Conor, on behalf of the family and husband Noel paid moving and loving tributes to a very special lady. Noel met Kathy on their first day in Mary Immaculate College Limerick in September 2006. They achieved so much together as a couple and had so many plans for their future life together. Kathy was laid to rest in Ardagh Cemetery not far from the family home on a dry winter evening.

We extend our sympathy to her heartbroken husband, Noel (Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo), her broken-hearted family; parents Pat and Daphne, sisters Melanie and Vanessa, brother Conor, nieces, nephews, mother-in-law Joan, her sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives and many, many friends. May Kathy’s adventurous spirit be an inspiration to us all ( passage taken from her mass hymn book)  and may she rest in heavenly Peace.

On Tuesday, January 23 a bus full of people from Ardagh and the surrounding areas paid a visit to Dublin to view the Ardagh hoard in the National Museum of Ireland. The trip was organised by members of the Saint Kieran’s Heritage Society. A total of 51 people were on board and they were joined by Chairman John P O’Sullivan, and Gerard Greaney in Dublin. Photographer George Daly took a group photo outside the Museum gate on arrival dodging the traffic to get a good image.

This is a special year in the history of Ardagh as it marks the 150 anniversary of the finding of one of Ireland’s foremost treasuries that holds pride of place in the Exhibition Galleries. The association has big plans for this year, which will culminate in a festival during the month of September. An event will be held each month in the run up and this was January’s.

On entering at 11.15 we received courtesy tea and biscuits, and our guide Marve gave a very interesting talk on the finding of the hoard. The slide show showed off each piece to great effect as she described the very detailed features, on the chalice and brooches. They looked very impressive and the group members felt proud to be representing the area they were found in. The chalice is one of the finest liturgical vessels of the early Christian world. Its beauty lies in the contrast between the plain sheen of the polished silver and the finesse and complexity of the ornamentation.

The Ardagh Hoard is part of the Treasury Exhibition which is one of ten on display and this exhibition traces the development of Irish art from the arrival of Celtic peoples to Ireland in the last centuries of the Prehistoric era to the beginning of the medieval period C.1200 AD. The second section of the exhibition illustrates the Art of the Early Middle Ages, The Golden Age of Irish Art. Masterpieces on display include the Ardagh Chalice, the Tara Brooch, and the Clonmacnoise Crozier.

For many of the group it was their first time seeing the Chalice and hoard in all its glory in the special glass cases. Photographs were taken and lots of discussion as comparisons was made with the Derrynaflan Chalice which was found later in a bog in Tipperary.  Members visited the other exhibitions throughout the very well laid out floors, and availed of the cafe. TV 3 called by and took some footage and did some interviews, and souvenirs were purchased.

We moved next door and entered Dáil Éireann for a 2pm visit, and tour of the Dail and Senate. We met up with the three West Limerick TDs Patrick O’Donovan, Tom Neville, and Niall Collins. We got to hear the party leaders, and a few deputies Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Michael Martin, Gerry Adams, Brendan Howlin, Eamon Ryan, Michael and Danny Healy Rae, speak during leader’s question time, from the visitor’s balcony.

It is a very imposing and detailed building and the house was originally known as Kildare House after James Fitzgerald, the Earl of Kildare, who commissioned it to be built between 1745-47.  After the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, the Government secured a part of Leinster House for parliamentary use. The entire building was acquired by the State in 1924. Today, Leinster House is the seat of the two Houses of the Oireachtas (National Parliament), comprising Dáil Éireann (the House of Representatives) and Seanad Éireann (the Senate).

We viewed painted portraits of the past Taoiseach which were on display on the walls and the decor and furnishings were impressive. A final group photo was taken on the steps outside Dail Eireann, which included the TDs, and signs showing off the new series of stamps, which includes the Ardagh Chalice. This series was issued to the general public on Thursday January 25.

The happy and tired group arrived back in Ardagh after their marathon 14 hour adventure at 8.40pm. It was a very rewarding trip to view the contents in the Museum, to promote Ardagh in west Limerick as the rightful home of the Ardagh Chalice hoard. We extend our thanks to Secretary Mary Kury and all who helped to organise the very informative and enjoyable trip.

The following are the Lottery results from the Old Mill Bar on Monday, January 22 The numbers drawn were 22,23,24, and 30 and there was no lucky Jackpot winner.  Congratulations to the five lucky dip winners who won €40 each, Liam Steele, Ardagh, Geraldine O’Sullivan, c/o Foley’s, Ivan Neary, Ardagh, Kathleen Ryan, Ardagh, and Danjoe Doran, c/o Josie. Next week’s Jackpot will be €4,200 and the draw will be held in Reen’s Bar Ardagh.

The Carrigkerry Wren group held their presentation evening at the Flag Floor Rambling House on Saturday, January 20. Presentations were made to Carrigkerry N.S, Kilcolman NS, Debra Ireland and the Tuesday Social Club Ardagh.

Saint Kieran’s collected €2,410 at their road hurling event on December 27. The proceeds will go to the Leeanne Bennett Fund and Milford Hospice Home Care. A special thanks to Creeves Junior Wren Group who donated €200 and to all who participated and contributed.

Danny Collum was a member of the Kerry Group (Cork) who lost to Tipperary ETB  by 1-14 to 1-10 in the Munster Inter-Firm Junior Hurling Semi-Final played in Parteen on Wednesday January 17.

Johnny McCarthy will not be involved with Limerick senior football team this year, after announcing his retirement from the inter county scene after fourteen years of dedicated service.

Carrig Celtic will play Ballingarry B in the Desmond Cup first round, Carrig Celtic B will play Glantine B, and Creeves Celtic will play Shrountrade AFC. In the ladies Desmond Cup first round Kilcolman Rovers will play Kilbehenny Celtic, and Carrig Celtic are away to Rathkeale, and Creeves Celtic received a bye.

Coolcappa, and St Molua’s  Ardagh national schools are now enrolling for September 18. For enrolment application forms Contact

069-76493 or [email protected], and 069-76353 or [email protected]

The AGM of the Old Mill Ladies Football Club will be held in Ardagh Community Hall on Thursday, February 1 at 8.30pm, and all members are invited to attend and new members will be very welcome also.

Kilcolman Rovers are holding a fundraising quiz in Neary’s Bar, Ardagh on Saturday February 3 at 9.30pm. All support will be appreciated  and all are welcome.