Athea Supporters at the All Ireland Hurling final in Croke Park

Post Office Closure
There was a further meeting of the sub-committee, set up to try and keep post office services in Athea, at the Library on Monday night. An appeal against the closure has been lodged with An Post and a dossier is being put together to show why we should succeed in our attempt. In the meantime we would ask you all to lobby your councillors and T.Ds to act in the interest of the people of rural Ireland and reverse the decision to close in Athea. We would also ask you not to make alternative arrangements for getting pensions etc., for the moment, as we need to show that there will be enough business to make the retention of the Post Office viable.



Community First Responders (CFRs) – AGM

The Community First Responders will hold their AGM in the hall on Wednesday 12th September at 8:30pm. Since June, after satisfying certain criteria, the group are now directly linked to NEOC (National Emergency Operations Centre).   This means we are attending a lot more callouts.  Everyone is very welcome to attend the AGM and because of increased activity, new volunteers are especially welcome

Coffee Morning

A Coffee Morning aid of Milford Hospice will take place in the Hall on Thursday, September 20th. All support greatly appreciated.

Athea Comhaltas Classes

Registration for music and singing classes will take place on Tuesday next, September 11th in the Hall at 6pm.

Athea Drama Group AGM

Athea Drama Group AG M will take place at the Library on Tuesday, September 11th at 8.30pm. New members especially welcome.

Athea GAA Commemoration Night

Tickets at €30 each are now on sale  for the Commemoration Night on Friday, October 5th at the Devon Inn Hotel. You are advised to buy early to avoid disappointment.

Thank you

The Brothers of Charity, West Limerick Services, would sincerely like to thank all those who helped in any way in Athea in our recent 9th Annual Charity Cycle on the 1st of September. At the Brothers of Charity Services in Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale, we provide day & residential services for adults with an Intellectual Disability in West Limerick. We currently provide services for 74 people and their families.

To all those who cycled, helped in our bucket collection, marshalled during the cycle, sponsored food, water and refreshments, as well as those who contributed to our collection on Friday in Athea, we wish to say thanks for your continued generosity and support.

Athea Trout Fishing Club 

The Athea Trout Fishing Club would sincerely like to thank all those who gave so generously at our annual Church gate collection before masses on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. A big thank you to all.

September Memories

by Domhnall de Barra

The dawning of September, long ago, meant that school holidays were over and the Summer was gone all too soon. On the first morning back we trudged our way to the schoolhouse in Cratloe with no great enthusiasm for the treatment we knew we were facing from the teachers for the next few months until Christmas. In those days they made sure they did not “spare the rod and spoil the child” so we braved the elements and went like the condemned to their doom.

There was, however, light at the end of the tunnel as September was the month for the All-Ireland finals and the Listowel races. The hurling final was held on the first Sunday in September and the football was on the third. On the following week the races were on for three days in Listowel. As youngsters we were mad about  Gaelic games and spent most of our leisure time kicking a football or playing hurling with rough imitations of camáns. Money was very scarce in those days so actually buying a hurley was out of the question  but that did not stop us   fashioning our own weapons out of old boards that we found lying around or furze roots. We didn’t have a proper sliotar either but used a rubber “sponge” ball that could be bought for 6d in local shops. Getting a football was even more difficult so we saved up and pooled our money to buy one. I well remember the excitement when we, having honed our skills on a rubber ball,  at last had the required amount of cash and we purchased a brand new O’Neill’s football. It was made of leather with a rubber bladder inside that had to be blown up through a jowl that emerged from a slit in the leather casing that had to be laced up and tied afterwards. We felt like inter-county superstars when we got to play with a proper ball for the first time. On final day we all assembled at Dave Connors’ house in Knocknaboul  to listen to the commentary of the great Micheál O Hehir.  He could make the game come alive as he described every movement in graphic detail. We were “watching” the game with our ears. Afterward we would go out to the field and pretend we were the greats of the game we had just heard on the radio.  Once the hurling was over we looked forward to the football final and the same scenario would be repeated.  The players of those days seemed like giants to us and it came as a bit of a shock when we actually saw they in the flesh in later years and realised they were ordinary mortals. Great memories!

The week after the football final meant we would get a day off school to go to the races. At that time, race week was one of the most important weeks in the local calendar. By this time all the work was completed: hay and turf home and the spuds dug  so it was a time for relaxation and celebration. Most of the parish went to the races although “the races” might be a misnomer. Many went to Listowel and had a great time without ever going on the course or even seeing a horse. I knew one man from Kilmorna who used to get the train to the races, go to the nearest pub to the station, which was known as Mike the Pie’s, and enjoy a few pints and a chat with like minded people until it was time to go home again. Others went to the Market Yard where the amusements were in full swing. In those days the three main amusements were the bumpers, the chair-o-planes and the swinging boats. It was not uncommon to see two fit healthy youths straining with all their might, pulling on the rope, to make the swinging boat go higher and higher with their ties streaming in the wind over their shoulders. Everyone wore a collar and tie going to “the races” in those days. There were all kinds of side shows with three-card– trick men plying their trade with one eye out for the guards and stalls selling raffle tickets for gaudy prizes. The racing enthusiasts went over the bridge to the island for the actual races which were on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  What struck me, the first time I went, was the great array of colour on display when the jockeys emerged from the weighing room to mount their horses. There was great excitement as the horses flashed by the stands and even more as they approached the winning post as punters cheered on their favourites. After the last race of the day people streamed out of the course and the pubs did a roaring trade. All the shops in the town made a great effort dressing up their windows for the races . On one occasion I remember staring at a cowboy suit, complete with holsters and guns, in a shop window in William Street. I would have given my right arm if I could have brought it home with me but alas it was way beyond my meagre budget so only the memory remains!  On the Friday there were more horses but this time it was on the street for the horse fair and on Friday night the festival ended with the Wren Boy competition in the Square. This drew huge crowds and was quite a spectacle as the batches marched down the town with pikes of blazing sods held aloft to the marching music and the unique sound of the bodhráns. In those days all the batches were from local townlands and there was great rivalry between them. Afterwards there were great sessions in the local bars into the small hours. Yes, September had a lot to offer us and we grabbed it with both hands.