Patrick Langan, Ann Marie Gilmartin, Professor Rajnish Gupta, Carol Noonan, Maireád Langan and Mike Twomey
Knockdown Vintage Club And Estuary Macra Presentation of cheque for €4000 to Mid West Cancer Foundation, University Hospital, Limerick, one of the beneficiaries of the Vintage/Modern Run held on March 25th

Coffee Morning

A Coffee Morning will be held in the Con Colbert Community Hall on Thursday, April 26th from 9am to 1pm in aid of the Lourdes Invalid Fund. Your support would be greatly appreciated. All are welcome.

Recycling Workshop

Athea Tidy Towns Committee will host a recycling workshop at Athea Library on Thursday  April 26th at 8pm. This workshop is part of The Recycling Ambassador Programme aimed at improving Ireland’s recycling rates, and reducing contamination of household recycling bins. This workshop is free, but spaces are limited. To book a space, please text your name to 087 9042477.

Ladies Monthly Night Out

The Ladies Monthly Night Out will be held on Friday night, May 4th in Browne Joe’s with music by Mike Solo (Mike Guinane), fun and games including bingo, quiz, etc. Charity night for Julie Reidy, Special Olympics Ireland. This will be the last one until after the summer. So come along and enjoy a great night of fun.

CFR Training

There will be CPR and Defibrillator training in the Hall on Saturday 12th May from 09:00 to 13:00.To book a place and for more information contact Rodge Byrne on 086 3103233.

Athea Fine Gael Branch AGM

The Athea Fine Gael Branch AGM will take place this Thursday evening the 26th April at 8:30pm at the Hall. New members are welcome.

Athea Fianna Fáil Cumann

Athea Fianna Fáil Cumann would like to thank all who supported their Church gate collection last weekend. Your support is very much appreciated.

Athea Lourdes Invalid Fund-raising Concert

The committee of the Athea Lourdes Invalid Fund-raising Concert, which was held on Sunday 15th April, would like to thank all who participated in any way to making it a great night’s entertainment, especially our sponsors who are as follows:

Athea Bingo Committee, Athea Drama Group

Sheehan Family (Devon Inn & Leens Hotel)

John Redmond, Athea Community Council Ltd.,

Athea Soccer Club, Athea GAA,

Athea Credit Union,

Gene & Noreen Brouder,

Nora & Timmy Cunningham,

Noel & Sandra O’Sullivan, Tim Scanlon Jnr.,

Paul Collins, Maurice Stack, Hannah Mai Collins,

Cathy Wilson, Mark Reidy (Brown Joe’s),

Jerry Griffin (Butcher), Derek Curtin,

O’Riordan’s Pharmacy, Kelly’s Undertakers,

Jack & Betty O’Connor, Athea Tidy Towns,

Diarmuid Collins, Betty & Johnny Cotter (Top of the Town), Mike Hayes Jnr., Maurice Horgan,

Kathleen & Paddy Mullane, Bridie & Mike Twomey,

Tom & Gráinne Ahern, Eddie & Teresa Langan,

Pa O’Connor, Pat O’Sullivan, Raymond Enright,

Gerard White.

Thanks to all for the very generous raffle prizes.

Moran Family (Red Cow), Jerry & Anne Woods, Knockanure, Neilus & Katie O’Connor, Kilbaha, Helen Barry, Batt’s Bar, Rita Collins, O’Halloran’s Nurseries, Athea GAA, Rose Enright, Lal Browne, Liam O’Connor, Mary Collins, Anne Tierney.

Your generosity is greatly appreciated. The total sum will be published when all monies are in., if you would like to support this worthy cause, an account is opened at the Credit Union.


Don’t forget the Coffee Morning on this Thursday, 26th April in the Memorial Hall from 9am to 1pm. Your support would be greatly appreciated.

The Showband Era

By Domhnall de Barra 

The death of big Tom McBride and the celebration of his life that followed got me thinking of a unique time in Ireland when the showbands were the main source of musical entertainment not only in Ireland but wherever the Irish gathered abroad. Many great singers got their breaks from their showband days including Rory Gallagher, Van Morrison, Henry McCullough of Wings and all the household names like Big Tom, Dickey Rock, Brendan Bowyer and many, many more. But, where did the showbands come from?  Dancing in Ireland originally took place in houses. Most farmer’s houses had a big kitchen that was suitable for dancing and in almost every area there was a house known as the “céilí house”. In the days before radio and TV people gathered at night in these houses for company, card games and of course dancing. Local musicians would provide the music which was mainly Irish traditional but if there wasn’t a musician available somebody lilted the tunes. This was sometimes referred to as “pus music” and some people were quite adept at it.

As crowds became too big for the houses, small dancehalls began to appear. They were just big sheds with galvanised roofing, a wooden floor and a small stage to hold a few musicians who performed without amplification.  The dancehalls began to get bigger to cater for dancers who turned out in their droves every Sunday night and soon there was a dancehall in every town and village in the country. Ceili Bands were all the rage until the advent of radio and a new type of music became popular. Soon, modern bands began to appear on the scene. Some were big with maybe fifteen members like the Maurice Mulcahy orchestra and Mick Delahunty. They wore formal clothes, sat on seats and had percussion, brass, wind and string sections as well as a leader and up to three vocalists. Many smaller bands also appeared. I joined one myself while I was still going to St. Ita’s College in Abbeyfeale. As well as the accordion I could also play the sax and the clarinet and I made an attempt at singing, which made me ideal because, in those days, there had to be a few céilí dances thrown in. One night, a couple of us went to Limerick to see and hear the Clipper Carlton. I was immediately blown away by them. They were fantastic musicians who could cover all the hits of the day and never sat down but swayed and danced to the music. They really put on a show which, I suppose created the name “show band”.  As these bands became popular a whole new industry grew up around them. Entrepreneurs invested in big ballrooms and made fortunes out of the hundreds who flocked to see their favourite bands. These halls were “dry”; no alcohol but there was always a mineral bar that was kept busy all night. The growth of the ballrooms created opportunities for more and more bands and soon there were hundreds of musician plying their trade up and down the country. In the main they were badly managed. A band could be in Bantry tonight, in Belfast the night after and back down in Cork the following night. Contrary to popular opinion most of them were badly paid. Only those in the headlights got good money and that wasn’t much by today’s standards. It was an awful life. I did it professionally for a while but I got fed up with living either in vans or in flea pits and eating in cafes around the country. The playing itself was really good and satisfying but all the rest was forgettable.

The showband era lasted a long time and made fortunes for many people but it gradually got phased out with the arrival of the disco, which was usually in a licenced premises, and of course there was only one person, the DJ, to pay.

The big halls around the country gradually closed down and many are now used as store rooms or furniture outlets. The dancing of the day almost disappeared as well. During the showband era the main dances were waltzes, quicksteps, foxtrots and novelties like the jive, twist, hucklebuck etc. In the discos dancers just did their own gyrations in the middle of the floor with a freedom that meant  formal dance steps were unnecessary. The showbands faded from the scene but recently there has been a big revival in country and western , or country and Irish,  and new bands, as well as some of the greats from the old days are again in great demand throughout the land. Dancers are once again learning the steps and classes in “social dancing” are very popular throughout the land. Some critics say that the showbands were not very good musically and were not very inventive but they gave us great pleasure in the days when we put on our best suits, collar and tie, loads of hair cream and danced the night away to the strains of the Miami, Indians, Clipper Carlton, the Royal and all the others that graced the stage in rotation. Without the showbands, maybe we would never have known Big Tom and wouldn’t we be all the poorer for that.