By Tom Aherne

Newcastle West Post Office was the venue for the local launch of the Ardagh Chalice stamp on Monday February  22. The €1 stamp has been issued to commemorate the finding of the Ardagh Chalice 150 years ago next September. The event was to commemorate the launch of the ninth definitive series-A History of Ireland in 100 Objects, A Selection Phase 2 Stamps, launched on Thursday January 25. The presence of a replica of the Ardagh Chalice from the Hunt Museum was an added bonus.

An overflow attendance were packed in like sardines to the premises front and back to mark this historic occasion. The people from the Ardagh area turned out in strength to be part of the proceedings. Seamus Hennessy began proceedings in his usual  entertaining manner outlining the reason for holding the event, and its importance to this area. He spoke throughout the evening covering many topics including his time spent in business in Ardagh village at O’Connell’s Pub. His family connections, social media, politics and people links that helped in organising the event.

Paddy Fullam,  a native of Ardagh, posed some interesting observations about the Ardagh Chalice. Why it was found inside a fort, names on it, and possible links with the Great Hunger and Saint Molua. Pat Wallace from Kilcornan spoke at length about the history of the Ardagh Chalice and how it belonged to County Limerick and not County Kerry or elsewhere. He gave details about the individual parts of the chalice and the possibility that it could have been crafted around the Shanagolden area.

Matthew Potter from Clarina, and Limerick Museum, spoke about the Replica of the Ardagh Chalice which is 60 years old. This was a  very interesting story which many would have been unaware of. Minister Patrick O’Donovan informed the attendance about his family’s links to Ardagh and Rooskagh and the importance of the chalice to the West Limerick area. He concluded by saying he would do his best to get the Ardagh Chalice back to a Museum closer to Limerick than Dublin.

Mary Kury, Secretary of Saint Kieran’s Heritage Association, presented Seamus with a copy of her history of Ardagh, and gave details of the upcoming 150 Anniversary celebrations over two weekends in late September. Seamus Hennessy presented a framed copy of the first day stamp covers to John Mullins and John Ahern, for  the people of Ardagh to display in their local Hall.

It was a gala occasion with lots of distinguished guests present and lovely refreshments and drinks dished out during the evening. A Marquee was erected at the entrance to serve this purpose, which many mistook  as a shelter for the upcoming bad weather forecast.

Seamus informed all present that a number of the first day covers will be available to purchase at Newcastle West Post Office in the coming days. He signed off by thanking everyone who helped to organise the evening and all who attended what was a rare celebration especially for the people of Ardagh.

The Glensharrold Wren Group held their presentation evening at Carrigkerry Community Centre on Sunday, February 18. Johnny Kennelly founding member  on behalf of the group welcomed all present and thanked the people who welcomed them into their homes on Saint Stephen’s Day. He thanked everybody who contributed to the group on the day which they enjoyed so much in perfect weather conditions. This year’s wren was most enjoyable, with the addition of a number of young  members adding vigour and talent to the group’s performances. 

The proceeds left after their Wren Nights made it possible for the presentation to continue again this year. Members of the wren group made presentations to the following groups; Ardagh/Carrigkerry Senior Citizens Committee, Ardagh/Carrigkerry Tuesday Social Club, Kilcolman Senior Citizens/Parish Committee, and Rathkeale Butterfly Club. All the groups in turn thanked the Glensharrold Wren Group for the donations which will be put to good use in these difficult financial  times.  The present group have been hunting the wren now for 60 years, and contributing to charity groups for over 25 years.

Ardagh/Carrigkerry Social Club wish to say a sincere thank you to the Glensharrold Wren Group for their very generous donation of €250 towards the weekly running costs of the club. The group meet each Tuesday in Ardagh Hall at 2pm for an afternoon of music, games fun, and entertainment, and new members are always welcome.

The following are the Lottery results from Peadar’s Bar Ardagh on Monday February 26. The numbers drawn were 3,6, 28, and 30, and there was no lucky Jackpot winner. Congratulations to the five lucky dip winners who won €40 each Mary Woulfe, Grouse Lodge, Ardagh, Lisa Mackessy, Coolanoran, Ardagh, Billy Broderick, Ardagh, ALC c/o Haircraft, Ita Kirk, Reen’s Bar. Next week’s Jackpot will be €5,200 and the draw will be held in the Thatch Bar Newbridge.

Congratulations to all the local athletes who represented their club and school Saint Mary’s Athletic Club and SMI in recent weeks. Niamh Foley won two Munster titles at U-17 level and Patrick Ambrose, won a bronze medal at U-16 level.

Congratulations to Róisín Ambrose, (minor) and Iris Kennelly, U-16) Ardagh and Newcastle West Camogie club who captained Limerick in recent weeks. Róisín scored 1-0 from midfield and Iris scored 0-11from centre forward.

Carrig Celtic lost 5-1 (Podge McCarthy)at home to Rathkeale in Division 1 of the Desmond League on Sunday February 25.Carrig Celtic B defeated Glantine B 3-1 at home in Round 1 of the Desmond Cup with goals from Darren Ward, Dara Breen, and Conor O’Shea. Creeves Celtic defeated Shountrade 4-2 at home with goals from Tom Shanahan, 2 Seamus Mangan, and Richard Hayes.

In Division 1 of the Desmond Ladies League Kilcolman Rovers defeated Newcastle West Town 2-1 at home, with goals from Marie Balfe, and Dora Bury. Creeves Celtic lost 3-1 away to Broadford Utd with Avril Dalton scoring their goal. Carrig Celtic drew 0-0 with Kilbehenny Celtic.

Congratulations to Saint Kieran’s club members who received three awards, Noel Callanan U 21 B Football, Liam Kennedy Minor A Football, and Michael O’Sullivan past Referees award  at the annual West Limerick GAA Awards banquet which was held in Rathkeale House Hotel on Friday February 23. Darragh Treacy and Sean McSweeney (sub) were members of the Limerick team that lost to Leitrim by 2-18 to 1-9 in Division 4 of the National Football League at Carrick-On -Shannon on Sunday February 25.

The snowfall disrupted the movement of people around the locality over last weekend. From Friday morning it was difficult to move out as the snow fell heavily (9 inches in my area) and drifted in places, but thankfully storm Emma did not pass our way. All events including Mass was cancelled as people were advised to stay indoors. To date no major incidents have been reported which is welcome news.  

Newcastle West library are holding an evening of  words and song commencing at 7.30pm, with a wine and roses reception on this Thursday, March 8. Readings and singing will follow from 8pm and all are welcome to this free event to mark International Women’s Day.

Kilcolman national school are currently holding a clothes collection fundraiser. They will accept paired shoes, belts, handbags, curtains towels, bed linen, and soft toys, at the school  before this Friday March 9. Many thanks to everyone for their continued support.

National Tree Week takes place from Sunday March 4 to Sunday March 11. Limerick City and County Council will be distributing a limited number of free tree saplings ( Beech, Rowan, Birch, Oak, and Alder) at Newcastle West Recycling Centre, Station Road  on Saturday March 10 from 10am to 4.45pm.

West Limerick Singing Club will hold their annual traditional concert in Father Casey’s GAA Clubhouse Abbeyfeale on Saturday March 10 at 8pm. Anne Marie O’Riordan will be the special guest and admission is €10.