The Liam McCarthy Cup

Will be visiting the Athea National School on Wednesday, December 18th at 1.15pm. If club members are available they are welcome to attend as well.

Athea & District Credit Union

The Credit Union will be closing on Saturday, December 22nd at 1pm. for the Christmas holidays. It will re-opening on Thursday, January 3rd at 6.30pm.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas and a Bright and Prosperous New Year.

Athea Cemeteries Collection

The Cemeteries collection will take place on Sat/Sun, December 29th/30th. As always your support would be very much appreciated.

Garda Gerry Griffin

Garda Gerry Griffin is retiring from the force in the New Year. He is having a retirement function in the Listowel Arms Hotel on January 4th and has extended an invitation to anyone from the parish who wishes  to attend the function.  Garda Griffin has served our community well over the years and we wish him a long, healthy and happy retirement.

Athea Post Office

A sincere thanks to Athea community for their support and business during my time as Postmistress here and on my recent retirement and for your good wishes and kind thoughts.

Wishing all a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

Helen Browne

Memorial Garden at Athea National School

As you know we now have a beautiful Memorial Garden in Athea National School dedicated to the memory of Ella Ahern, Jerome Carmody and Conor Hayes (of Carrigkerry) and their families.

I was, as a member of the School Board of Management, involved since the beginning of this project.

Our deepest thanks to Mrs. Margaret Watters, Headmistress, and all her Staff both Teachers and SNAs and all others who helped.

Special thanks to James O’Reilly, Sculptor cum Stonemason, who made the beautiful Marble Table from a large remnant from the original Athea Altar of 1832. I found this piece of marble in the Canon’s back shed. James cleaned it and then we realized it’s importance, it being part of the old altar.

We also found slabs of limestone from the base of the old altar which were transformed into seats for the children. James made legs for these “chairs” from waste black marble from his yard in Tournafulla. James provided all this “marble furniture” at basic cost to us.

Sincere thanks especially to Mr. John Sheahan M.C.C. and President of Newcastle West Municipal Council, for helping our project. Thanks to Mr. Gene Brouder, a true crafts master, so helpful in repairing the original school track in August. Ger Mullane was also helpful with the electrical work ‘gratis’. Thanks to John McAuliffe who repaired the two timber/steel seats, as a gift. Thanks to Mike O’Halloran for all the flowers and ornaments which he provided and supplied at a very, very good price.

Thanks to Domhnall de Barra and Lillian O’Carroll for all their help and advice with the project.

To the families involved God Bless you all.

Fr. Brendan Duggan

11-12-18 LD John Paul II Awards in Limerick Diocese at St Munchins School Church. Picture: Keith Wiseman

11-12-18 LD John Paul II Awards in Limerick Diocese at St Munchins School Church. Picture: Keith Wiseman


Pope John Paul II Awards Ceremony

Throughout the year I have been actively participating in community and parish life here in Athea and have been rewarded by achieving a Gold Pope John Paul II award. I also travelled on the Lourdes Youth Pilgrimage in June and helped create a youth mass along with my peers earlier this year.

On Tuesday, 11th December, the awards ceremony was held for the recipients of the John Paul II medals, who were from parishes across the Limerick Diocese. The ceremony was held in the Limerick Diocesan Centre where Priests, co-ordinators and members of the Diocese gathered together in the celebration led by Bishop Brendan Leahy. Guest speaker Séamus Hickey of the Limerick All-Ireland winning hurling team spoke about how important his faith is to him and inspired us young people to remain active in our parishes.

I, Ciara Hunt and Jade McMahon received gold medals at the ceremony and we intend to further our involvement in the parish in an aim to achieve a higher award next year, the Papal Cross Medal. We are also hopeful that our involvement will inspire more young people from the parish of Athea to get involved next year.

Finally, I would like to thank Bernadine Enright and Fr. Duggan for their support and assistance throughout the process without whom none of this would have been possible.

Ciara Hunt


Emmigration From Athea to Baltimore:

The article below was sent to us by Tom Hunt who lives in Seattle. It is a fitting piece for Christmas when we remember all our family members who have had to emigrate from these shores over the years.

 The Story of Hunts, Woulfes and O’Connors

Four sons of Johanna Harnett and two daughters of John and Catherine O’Connor left the Athea area in the 1880’s and 1890’s for Baltimore, Maryland in America.  This is their story, with details from parish records and Irish civil records provided through research by Limerick Genealogy.

Woulfe & Hunt brothers

On the 17th of February in 1857, James Woulfe and Johanna Harnett married in the Athea Roman Catholic parish.  The location of marriage wasn’t specifically noted.  James and Johanna had three children baptized in the Athea parish and two lived to adulthood—James J. Woulfe (baptized 17 Oct 1858 (with godparents Daniel Harnett and Mary Sheehy) and Margaret Woulfe (baptized 21 Sept 1864 (with godparents Edmund and Honora Woulfe).  The family lived at Crataloe as that was recorded for each of the baptismal records.  Unfortunately, James Woulfe died in 1864, leaving Johanna with two small children.

Johanna (Harnett) Woulfe remarried to James Hunt on 7 February 1865 at St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church in Athea, with witnesses Richard Woulfe and Denis  Murphy.  Civil marriage records had begun by this time and James Hunt was described as a 36 year-old bachelor from Upper Athea.  Johanna Harnett was a 29 year-old widowed farmer from Crataloe.  The fathers of the bride and groom were recorded as Maurice Harnett, a farmer and Timothy Hunt, also a farmer.  James Hunt and Johanna had five children with parish baptismal records, Timothy J. (baptized 6 Jan 1866 (with godparents Patrick Harnett and Johanna Quirke), Michael Joseph (baptized 10 Sept 1867 with godparents Michael and Elizabeth Hunt), Margaret (baptized 12 Mar 1869 with godparents Timothy Dalton and Honora O’Connor), James (baptized 14 Jun 1870 with godparents Timothy and Honora Hunt) and John (baptized in 9 Aug 1872 with godparents Patrick and Mary Hunt).

O’Connor sisters

On 2 February 1864, John O’Connor and Catherine Enright, both from Templeathea were married in the Athea Roman Catholic parish, with witnesses Timothy Hayes and Thomas O’Connor.  The civil records show that John was a 26 year-old bachelor and Catherine was a 22 year-old unmarried woman.  The fathers of the bride and groom were Thomas Enright and Michael O’Connor.  John and Catherine had parish baptismal records showing six children.  Bridget (baptized in 25 Jan 1865 with godparents Thomas Connors and Julia Connors), Mary C. (baptized in 18 Oct 1866 with godparents James O’Connor and Mary Enright), Michael (baptized in 4 Oct1868 with godparents Martin Kiely and Margaret O’Connor), Thomas (baptized in 10 Dec 1870 with godparents John Aherne and Mary O’Connor), Daniel (baptized in 6 May 1875 with godparents Michael Greaney and Mary Mulvihill) and Johanna (baptized in 23 Jun 1881 with godparents Cornelius Greaney and Margaret Enright).  The family’s address was shown as Clash for three births and then Coole (for Daniel).


We don’t know exactly why the Hunt brothers and Woulfe brother and O’Connor sisters chose Baltimore, Maryland, but it may have been that family or friends were living there, or because of Maryland’s history of toleration for Catholics.

Maryland had been established as a colony that accepted Roman Catholics, a beginning that continued in its personality as a state.  Many immigrant groups from Catholic countries chose Maryland—Germans first, then Irish, and later Italians.  The port city of Baltimore was often their destination.  Baltimore, Maryland in 2018 is not a very large US city (population around 600,000 and currently ranked the 29th largest), but in 1850 it was the 2nd largest US city, and in 1900 was still the 6th largest US City, with about 500,000 citizens.  As a city Baltimore was growing rapidly during the time they emigrated—from 267,000 people in 1870 to over 430,000 in 1890.

It seems like Timothy Hunt emigrated first.  One of his US census records gives 1880 as his arrival year, while Michael’s records show 1886 and James Hunt 1887.  James Woulfe’s record shows arrival in 1882.  We know that Bridget and Mary O’Connor emigrated together in 1889 or 1890.

Life in America

All three Hunt brothers and both O’Connor sisters settled in Baltimore, Maryland.  James Woulfe lived in Baltimore for a while, but settled in Chicago, Illinois.  The Hunt brothers started out working in steel mills.  James Woulfe owned and ran a saloon in Baltimore and then a saloon and store in Chicago.

James J. Woulfe married Johanna Roche in April 1882.  They had eight children who lived to adulthood—Minnie (1884), James Joseph (1885), Anna J. (1887), Margaret (1891), Helen (1892), Nora (1894), Maurice P. (1896), and Edmond J. (1901).  James and Johanna made some trips back to Ireland and many of their descendants still live in the Chicago area.  In addition to the Woulfe family name, there are O’Sheas, Slaughters, Peers, Fitzgeralds, and Pembrokes.

James Hunt and Bridget O’Connor were married on 11 June 1893 at St. Ignatius Catholic church in Baltimore with witnesses Thomas O’Connor and Mary O’Connor.  James and Bridget had four children who lived to adulthood—Marie (born 1894), James Charles (born 1896), John Joseph (born 1899), Johanna (born 1904) and Elizabeth (born 1906).  James Charles Hunt (who was my grandfather) married Helen Marie Dunn and they had two children who lived to adulthood—James Charles, Jr (1928) and John J. (1935), both of whom were accomplished athletes and students.  James C. Jr, my father, graduated from the Naval Academy and served in the US Air Force for 28 years.  John “Jack” graduated from Princeton and also received a Ph.D. from Harvard before working as a school superintendent and college professor.

Timothy Hunt and Michael Hunt married sisters Ella Falvey and Catherine Falvey, though not on the same date.  Timothy and Ella had three children who lived to adulthood – James (1889), William J. (1891) and Charles T. J. (1895).

Michael Hunt and Catherine/Katie Falvey had seven children who lived to adulthood—Gertrude (1893), Bessie (1895), Nellie (1897), Catherine/Cathlene (1901), Marie (1903), Madeline (1905) and Loretta (1908).  Michael Hunt remarried later in life to Helen Marie Rogers and they had one daughter Helen Marie Hunt (1936).

Mary C. O’Connor married Patrick J. O’Rourke in 1901.  They had two children who lived to adulthood—Mary C. (1904) and Margaret A. (1907).

While Bridge and Mary O’Connor emigrated from Ireland to America, some of their brothers also lived for a while in America and returned to Ireland where the family still lives in County Limerick in the Athea area.  Some of Bridget’s descendants have visited and enjoyed connecting with their homeland, including my sister Cathy Hunt in 1984 and my parents James Charles Hunt, Jr. and Margee Hunt in 1992/1993.


I am grateful for the blessing of being part of this extended family and many ancestors who lived and worked in Ireland and the United States.  Most of their stories are lost now to time, but I know that there were many happy times and probably quite a few difficult and trying times.

Celebrating Christmas

Domhnall de Barra

It is Christmas time and once again a type of hysteria grips the public who rush from shop to shop seeking presents and supplies for the festive season.  Money is spent as if it was going out of fashion and it may not even be one’s own money. Certain people have a habit of borrowing for what they term “necessities”.  They “need a break” so, even though they can’t afford it, they borrow enough to take them to one of the sunshine holiday spots to relax and refresh themselves. Problem is, when they come home they have to make the repayments on the loan they raised to be ready to borrow again for Christmas. It is a never ending circle that costs them a lot of money in interest payments but, if they are happy doing that, who am I to argue with it. My point is that money is spent very unwisely at this time of year. Take Christmas cards for instance. It is nice to get cards from people who are away from home or that we do not see too often and it helps us to keep in touch but why, in heaven’s name, are we sending cards to next door neighbours that we see and talk  to every day. Between the price of a decent card and the cost of postage it could come to anything between €2 to €4. Multiply this by 10 or 12 (very conservative estimate) and the expense is mounting. Of course if you get a card you must send a card so it would make sense if we could agree with our neighbours that we won’t continue the practice. The same can be said of presents. At one time only the younger members of the family got presents from Santa at Christmas. Buying for others was unheard of until relatively recent times. Now, almost everyone we know has to be given something, especially if you suspect that they may be buying for you so we all end up with heaps of stuff we don’t need and maybe do not even like. I do like the idea of Kris Kindle, also referred to as Secret Santa, where a family or a group of workmates decide to buy a present for just one person in the group. A limit of how much may be spent is agreed and there is a draw for partners. Every gets a present and gives one and they are all happy. When it comes to buying presents for children we really go overboard. Peer pressure comes into play here as we have to ensure the presents our lot get are not less than what the neighbours children will brag about so, to hell with the cost, we have to save face at any price!!. Do I sound a bit like Scrooge? Maybe I do but I don’t intend to. I just wish people would have a bit of common sense and save some of their hard earned money. What is everybody celebrating anyway.  It should be about the birth of Jesus but it is more about celebration for the sake of celebrating than anything else. We should really think about what Christmas is all about. The story of the Nativity is a great one. There are two versions in the bible by Luke and Matthew and though they differ slightly they agree on the important points. Let us look on it from a human viewpoint. Mary is highly pregnant living with her husband Joseph in Nazareth. Her time has almost come when they are summoned to Bethlehem where a census is being held. Now, in those days there were no roads , just trails through rocky land and desert  which were used mainly by camel trains that brought goods from town to town. The journey was well over 100 miles and there were no cars, trains or buses so Mary had to ride on the back of a donkey. I wonder how long that journey took; it must have been several days but can we imagine how Mary felt sitting on that donkey. I have ridden a donkey in my time and , believe me, it is not a comfortable experience. Mundane things like washing and going to the toilet created new challenges in the circumstances in which they found themselves.  Since there were no cafes on the way, I presume that they brought the equivalent of the “ham sandwich” with them as food for the journey. Imagine then after the hardship of the road to discover that there was no accommodation to be had due to the crowds gathered for the census. How must Joseph have felt when he realised that he could not find a place for the woman he loved and the ‘soon to be’ mother of the son of God. He must have thought that he had let her down and what was going through Mary’s mind as she knew that her time was at hand and the only place available was a stable to be shared with animals. In these humble surroundings she finally gave birth to a son  who was to be known as Jesus. That baby was destined to be the most important man in the history of the world but he couldn’t have entered it in more humble circumstances. One version of the story tells us that an angel appeared to shepherds while another  tells of the three wise men who followed a star to find the stable and proclaim the news to the world that the Saviour had been born. This is what we should really be celebrating at Christmas; the fact that God sent his only son to live amongst us as a mere mortal and in the end give up his life for us. We can celebrate that great event by showing a little more kindness to all and especially those who are in worse circumstances than ourselves. It is not about expensive gifts; it may just be paying a visit to somebody who is alone and maybe lonely at this time. It may be just calling up a friend we have neglected for some time or putting an end to some dispute, especially among family members. We can use this period to become better human beings in an age when there is so much turmoil in the world. I love Christmas and look forward to getting together with the extended family, share the joy of all the kids with their new presents and feel the warmth of affection that the occasion creates. I hope you all have a really enjoyable one and a happy and Prosperous New Year.