Progressive 41 Card Game for the Hope Foundation

There will be a progressive 41 card game (2 x 3s) in the Top of the Town bar at 8.30pm on Saturday night, February 2nd  in Aid of Sarah O’Connor’s and Alannah Scanlon’s trip to Kolkata with the Hope Foundation in April. There will be cash prizes and loads of spot prizes on the night. Your support would be greatly appreciated.

Sacristan’s Collection

Sacristan collection for Carol takes place on Saturday and Sunday 2nd & 3rd February. Envelopes will be available at the Church door. Thank you for your support.

C.E. Scheme Vacancies

There are some vacancies for workers on the Athea/Carrigkerry/Old Mill C. E. Scheme. There are two vacancies in Athea for the  Community Hall and one for the Church.

If anyone thinks they are eligible please call 068-42301.

Athea Drama Group

Bookings can now be made for Athea Drama Group’s 2019 production of ‘The Lonesome West’ by calling/texting 087 2743189 stating your name, no. of tickets required and the date you wish to attend.  We will operate a open seating booking policy where those booked will choose their own seats. The play will be staged at Con Colbert Hall, Athea on Feb 7th, 9th, 10th, 14th, 16th & 17th at 8pm with doors open from 7pm. Play is recommended for over 12s due to strong language and adult themes throughout.

Changing Times

by Domhnall de Barra

Rural Ireland, as we knew it, is dying; that is a fact. Our whole way of life is changing with everything becoming more centralised and people becoming more isolated. Once upon a time I knew who lived in every house in our locality. Doors were left open all the time and we wandered in and out without invitation. At night people would gather in a particular house to share the news, play cards or even learn to dance a step or two. There was always a place at the table at meal times for anyone who happened to be  visiting at the time and neighbours looked out for each other. If somebody was in trouble all the neighbours got together to help out. There was a great sense of community and though there was the odd falling out, in general there was harmony. Local towns and villages flourished with every second house turned into a business premises. All trades were catered for  with drapers, harness makers, furniture and hardware shops, blacksmiths, carpenters, shoemakers, coopers, butchers and many more doing a lively trade. Everyone shopped in the local village, sometimes without money changing hands. A little “pass book”  was carried by shoppers to keep an account of what was bought and the bill was settled at the end of the month, usually when the cheque from the creamery was cashed. At a time when there were few cars on the road there were several petrol pumps in villages because traders wanted to have as many goods as possible for their customers. That is why most of the shops had groceries and provisions in the front, a pub in the next room and a yard out the back that might have pieces of farm machinery or hardware. The life blood of the village was the creamery. Farms were smaller in those days and even people who had just a couple of acres kept a cow or two. The milk was brought to the creamery in the morning early and the shops were kept busy as papers, cigarettes, tobacco and grocery items were taken home. Hard to believe it now but a local pub with an early opening licence also did a lively trade. The creamery was a great place for social interaction. All the news of the parish and beyond was discussed and it was a great help to postmen who had letters for people who lived  down long passages in remote areas. They delivered the post by bicycle at the time. It wasn’t a bad way of life but “progress”  took over and farmers were coaxed  by the promise of higher rewards to join the Kerry Co-op group. For a while the creamery stayed open but eventually it closed altogether and that was the first nail in the coffin for village business. There was now no need for people to come to the village on a daily basis and more and more shopping was done in nearby towns where big supermarkets opened up and could afford to sell goods much cheaper than local shops who did not have the same buying power. One by one the shops closed down as profits were not enough to make a living. Though cars and other motor vehicles got more plentiful the pumps disappeared because the petrol companies did not want to keep on supplying small outlets and safety regulation meant they could not be on the side of the street anymore. Out the country, smaller farms also went by the wayside. Where once upon a time a farmer could make a living and raise a family on land for 15 to 20 cows it was now necessary to have at least twice that much and pretty soon the amount of cows necessary to survive had risen to three times the original amount. People no longer kept a “cow for the house” as milk was cheap in the shops.  The day is coming when there will be only a few big farmers in the parish. As we watch the years go by we can see the changes. We are now down to one shop in Athea and even though we still have a few pubs, most of those will close in the future as people are not going out as they used to at weekends due to home entertainment and the cost of hiring babysitters and taxis. There is now also the problem of driving to work the following morning with the blood alcohol limit being so low and the penalties for being just over that being so severe. The loss of the post office has been another blow. Pensions and social welfare payments are now collected in nearby towns. Some of these are located in supermarkets so the money will be spent there; money that would normally be spent in the village. It is difficult to see how businesses will survive into the future. We are lucky in Athea to have the doctor’s surgery and the chemist. At least they bring footfall to the village. Other places are not so lucky. There are no shops at all now in Mountcollins or Tournafulla. Locals in those areas depend on the rural busses to bring them to Abbeyfeale for their shopping. I know I am painting a gloomy picture but that is the reality and we are going to have to change some of our ways if we are not to become a place just for sleeping. We can do at least some of our shopping at home and use the local  services that are available. We might even be able to create some new ones with a bit of help. Getting back to my own neighbourhood, I do not now know who is living over the road from me and I would not dare call to any house without an appointment. Is this really “progress” or were we better off with the old way of life. We could embrace all the modern technology with the changes it brings and still keep the values that were handed down to us from our forefathers. Country life can be good.

Ad  in lonely hearts column:  “Man in late forties who likes playing golf, going to race meetings, and attending Fleadh Cheoils would like to meet a lady whose hobbies include saving hay, footing turf and looking after cattle with a view to marriage”.

Abbeyfeale Notes


The Glorach Theatre are proud to present the Abbeyside Players with John B. Keane’s The Chastitute on Thursday, January 31, Friday, February 1, Saturday, February 2, Thursday, February 7, Friday, February 8, Saturday, February 9, Sunday, February 10.  Doors open 7pm.   Bookings 087 1383940.


Abbeyfeale Parent & Toddler Group: 11am – 12.30pm every Tuesday and Thursday, St Ita’s Hall. New people always welcome. Contact Mary on 087 9382883.


A Coffee morning will be held at the Gate way café the Western Inn Feale’s Bridge Abbeyfeale on Thursday, Valentine’s day February 14 from 11 – 2 where all the proceeds are going towards the chemotherapy day ward at UHK.  Your support would be greatly appreciated.


Two new programmes available in West Limerick, ‘Effective Communication for Better Relationships’ in St Ita’s Hall, Abbeyfeale, begins on Monday, January 28, 2019, from 10.00am to 12.30pm for 8 weeks (to March 25). ‘An Introduction to Personal Development’ in the Desmond Complex, Newcastle West, begins on Wednesday, January 30, 2019, from 10.00am to 12.30pm for 8 weeks (to March 20). Please contact Adrienne at West Limerick Resources on 087-2773294/[email protected] for further details and to register your interest.


Tionól (Irish language and Music w/e)   Chontae Luimnigh present the first, hopefully of many gatherings of  Folklore, Music, Poetry and History of Abbeyfeale through the Irish Language in Fr. Casey’s Friday, February 8 and Saturday, February 9 with daily admission just €5 per day.  The official opening takes place on Friday from 7pm followed by a lecture from Séamus Ó Coileáin from Athea and ending with a traditional music concert with the Murphy family, Riona Ní Churtáin, Denis Curtin and the Flannery Sisters.   Saturday’s programme includes lectures, a   bilingual walking tour of Abbeyfeale and a traditional music session.  All are welcome.


We are now planning Harnett Reunion International for July 11-14, 2019.  We are currently assembling our programme, which will include genealogy, workshops, local tours, a concert and gala dinner at The Devon Hotel. We would be delighted if you could spread the word and invite everyone to join us in the spiritual home of the Harnetts in West Limerick next July.   Email HarnettReunion2019 for further information or check out Harnett Reunion FB page to keep up to date with all the plans for a fantastic weekend July 11-14, 2019.

Kairi de Barra Upton, (granddaughter of Domhnall de Barra) making a presentation to Mariah
Culloty and  Nicola Brouder of
West Limerick Red Cross from the sales of Christmas cards she hand painted.
She also made a donation to the Athea Lourdes Fund for cards sold in the Athea area.