Congratulations to Sarah Griffin-Breen (pictured left) who is representing Queensland in the 2018 Rose of Tralee. Sarah’s mom is Kate Griffin from Knocknaboul and her grandparents were the late Mick and Babe Ann Griffin RIP.  Sarah’s dad is Neil Breen from Brisbane, Australia and who’s family came from Tipperary, Galway, Clare and Tyrone. Sarah is a lawyer. It is exciting times for all her family in Knocknaboul.

Sarah will be at the Top of The Town, Athea on Wednesday night the 8th of August at 8.30pm for an informal get together. There will be music and some finger food, all are welcome.

We wish the very best of luck to Sarah for this year’s Rose Of Tralee.

Church Gate Collection

A church gate collection in aid of Sudan Relief will be held this weekend August 4th & 5th at all Masses. Your support would be greatly appreciated.

Athea Comhaltas Branch Trad Session

In Batt’s Bar on Sunday, August 5th from 7-9pm. Everyone welcome.

Bernie Reidy, Kit O’Connor and Mary Kelly at the graveyard mass in Templeathea


By Domhnall de Barra

As I mentioned last week I was in Seattle for a few days visiting my son Sean and his wife Marie. Sean is employed by Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer, who have over 80,000 people working for them in the area. Other major employers include Amazon, Microsoft and Google, to name but a few. The area is developing at an alarming rate but it still maintains its own unique identity. Situated on a lake, close to the mountains, Seattle is a beautiful place which is steeped in history. Of course the land was taken from the Indians but the tribes still exist and all the areas are named after them, even the city itself which was named after Chief Seattle.

It got me thinking about the fascination we had, as youngsters, for the “wild west” and all things to do with America. We spent hours pretending we were cowboys or Indians shooting each other with makeshift guns or bows and arrows. Our curiosity was whetted by  comic books and  old films that portrayed our heroes and villains in stark contrast. The “baddies” always wore black while the “goodies” had, at least, a white hat. Every young boy had a collection of comics that could be swopped for other ones when they had been read a few dozen times. The favourites included; Hop-along Cassidy, Gene Autrey who carried a guitar and sang cowboy songs, Tom Mix, The Lone Ranger and his sidekick Tonto, Roy Rogers who had a horse that performed tricks called Trigger, Buffalo Bill, Wyatt   Earp, Billy the Kid, The Cisco Kid and many more. The comics were not easy to come by as money was very tight and they were expensive at the time but we saved our pennies and when we had enough we headed for the paper shop and couldn’t wait to get home and read every line from cover to cover. As soon as we had devoured every picture and word we were out around the fields imitating the actions of our heroes. We even had the lingo down pat, terms like “stick ‘em up”,  “not so fast”, “howdy partner” and “so long” could be heard from young mountainy boys with a good imitation of a western drawl. The comics were good but the “pictures” were better. Every so often, travelling groups would come and set up in a field near Cratloe creamery and show films every night for a week or so. Most of these films were westerns and of course we were enthralled by them. Those films bring back great memories. The projector was powered by a generator that worked of a petrol engine. You could hear this engine chugging away as the images appeared on the white screen at the other end of the tent. Black streaky lines continually ran up and down the screen and the old projector would sometimes stop altogether but it did not interfere with our enjoyment. The noise was sometimes deafening as we cheered on the sheriff as he chased one of the baddies at breakneck speed on horseback to the accompaniment of music that complimented the rhythm of the horses hooves and the many dangers on the way. When it was all over we walked home discussing the film we had seen and surmising what might have happened if a horse hadn’t fallen or a bullet had not been diverted buy the sheriff’s badge!!

Those films gave us a very bad  image of the wild west and what it was really like. It treated the Red Indians very unfairly and portrayed them as blood thirsty savages whose only aim in life was to kill and scalp the white men. In general the Indians were a noble race who lived a nomadic life following the buffalo and the elk as they roamed the vast prairies. The men hunted the animals for food and skins which they used to make their tee pees and clothing. The only killed what they needed  and never killed for pleasure. The tribes had their own regions but sometimes there might be disputes over certain areas and trouble would ensue between neighbouring tribes.

There was rivalry between them and sometimes raiding parties would be dispatched to steal horses. This action provoked a similar response until the dispute got out of hand and outright war loomed. This was usually settled by talking or havin a “pow wow” as they called it, but if differences could not be resolved a battle between the tribes would occur. Nobody got hurt in these battles. They had a system called “counting coup” which was simple enough. Once a warrior was touched by an opponent he had to retire from the battle and take no further part. The tribe who got the most touches won and peace was restored.  It is true however that they did take up arms against the early settlers who were after all trying to take their lands ad way of life and some of the exchanges did become quite savage. I suppose their way of life could not be maintained forever and “progress” meant land had to be used more efficiently but they were a proud, noble, artistic people who should be held in high esteem. In our innocent youth we did not think of them as human beings as such and in our imagination we shot hundreds of them. Around Seattle, the tribes own all the gambling casinos and in an ironic twist, when the city needed money for development they were able to give them a big loan – nice one!  As one native said “the white man took everything from us but we are getting it all back, bet by bet”.