Athea & District Credit UnionSenior Citizens Party

Athea & District Credit Union are hosting a party for senior citizens on Wednesday, June 6th at The Top of the Town commencing with mass at 12 noon followed by dinner and music. All are welcome. Please give your name to Mairead Langan (087-6407026) or Peggy Casey (087-9516223) before Monday, 4th June.

Comhaltas Summer Trad Sessions

Athea Comhaltas Branch are starting the summer Trad Sessions again with the first session taking place on Sunday, June 10th at Gerard White’s Bar from 7-9pm. Everybody is welcome to come along for a feast of music, song, story-telling etc.

Michael English Concert

A fundraising concert will be held in Moyvane church with Michael English on Tuesday, June 5. Tickets are available by ringing 085/8110770.  Doors open at 7pm and concert starts at 8pm sharp.

2018 – Danaher McGrath Trust Scholarship

The Trust is making a number of scholarships available to students of the parishes of Athea, Abbeyfeale, Mountcollins, Tournafulla and Templeglantine for studies at third level.

The student must be of limited means. There will be a number of scholarships available each year.

Application forms available at Athea & District Credit Union.

Afternoon Tea Dancing  

The Wednesday Club, Abbeyfeale are holding a Tea Dance in Fr Casey’s clubhouse on Sunday, June 10th. Dancing to Paddy Quilligan from 3-6pm. Tickets €5 each. Proceeds being divided between Kerry Hospice and Recovery Haven Cancer Support House.


By Domhnall de Barra

The recent spell of fine weather brought me back to a time when the world was a much different place. The seasonal work was well defined and by this time all the dykes would have been scoured, hedgerows trimmed back, the garden sat and farmyard manure spread on the land. This was all done by hand or with the aid of a horse and cart (What we call a dyke is actually a ditch and vice versa but you will know what I mean). Scouring the dykes, using spades, shovels and four prong pikes, ensured that there was a free flow of water and that land drains were not blocked. These drains were also dug by hand and were made using flat stones. If done properly they were very effective and lasted a lifetime unlike the clay pipes that followed which were a total disaster. They collapsed too easily under pressure causing blockages and flooding.

I remember well when they were first introduced as my father used to draw then in the lorry. At first there was only one manufacturer of clay pipes in Ireland and that was in Kingscourt in Cavan. It was some drive in an old lorry on bad roads  and would take about six hours – no motorways in those days. The reason I remember so well is that I usually got the job of emptying the load with him. The pipes, which were about a foot long, were stacked  in tiers and there was a special pike that would take three of them together. Taking off the highest tiers was not nice because all the dust from inside the pipes fell straight down on whoever was wielding the pike. It was also a very slow job as great care had to be taken when placing the pipes on the ground because they were so brittle. Before too long a factory opened in Clarecastle just outside Ennis. This was a much shorter journey and made the pipes more affordable. Clay has been replaced by plastic now and the drains are all done by machinery.

The garden was very important in bygone days. It provided the staple diet for the house such as potatoes, cabbage, turnips, carrots, parsnips as well as mangolds or sugar beet for the cattle and oats for the horses. Again all the work was done by hand. Sods, called “taobh fhods” would be turned over with a spade in long rows of two that would almost meet in the middle.  They were then turned back and manure  placed in the centre on top of which seed potatoes were placed at regular intervals. The sods were turned back again and earth from the furrows in between the ridges would be placed on top. All the other  vegetables were sat in single rows called “drills”. These had to be weeded and thinned at regular intervals. The spreading of manure on the land enriched the soil and helped the grass to grow into hay. Farmyard manure was usually in a heap outside the cowshed where the cattle were housed for the winter. It grew as the weeks passed with the sheds being cleaned out once a day.

In the springtime, when fine weather came, it was piked into a horse cart and drawn to the fields where it was left in heaps. Then it was spread by hand with a four prong pike. It was natural dressing and, unlike today’s slurry, did no harm to creatures  such as worms who do so much good in the soil.

Then it was time for the bog. Everyone cut turf for the fires and had banks  in the bogs that are so plentiful in our area. We had a very fine spring well at home that not only kept our house going but all the neighbours as well. When the turf cutting started there would be a stream of people taking gallons of water from our well to make the tea in the bog. That spring still exists and is now piped into my house providing us with the finest of water. People would try to get to the bog as early as possible and worked until the Angelus bell was heard tolling in the nearby town or village. There was something about the air in the bogland that made us hungry as soon as we arrived but of course we had to wait until my mother gathered a few dry sods, made a fire and put the kettle on it at about 10 am. The bread was usually buttered and there would be cuts of cold bacon for everyone at dinner time. There is nothing like the food in the bog. It had a taste all its own, especially the thick tea from the open fire. Of course cutting was only the beginning of an exercise that continued for the next couple of months with footing, re-footing, drawing out and drawing home. This all depended on weather which I think was much better in bygone days. There didn’t seem to be as much rain as we have now and the seasons were more predictable. Yes, the world was a very different place, very labour intensive but much simpler and more rewarding.

It was certainly a healthier lifestyle with plain, wholesome food and plenty of exercise. Maybe that is what is wrong with us today with so many people being overweight and suffering from diabetes and other illnesses. With the use of technology and modern machinery much of the back-breaking work has disappeared and that is good but maybe we need to do more physical exercise if we hope to have the health of our forefathers. The times they are a changing!