Archive for March, 2019


Assembled team of VIPs, as Pat Shingleton said (Very Important Paddies)
L-R Deacon Robert, Siobhan Moroney, Carla Kusch, Fr Mike Moroney (Parade Grand Marshal) Deacon Beau.
All ready for the off

Float getting readied

Corporate T-Shirt

St Patrick Parade Baton Rouge Style                            from Rodge Byrne

Athea native Fr Mike Moroney, Pastor of St Alphonsus Church, Greenwell Springs, Baton Rouge, Louisiana was pleased to accept the very prestigious role of Grand Marshal for the 34th “Wearing of the Green”, St Patrick’s Parade which occurred on Saturday, 16th March in Baton Rouge. Originally started by Irish-American, Patrick Shingleton (Pat) (staff member of WBRZ TV station) some 34 years ago with a few floats – No road closures and few meetings in an Irish pub, has grown to almost match the Mardi Gras New Orleans. Siobhan (his sister) Aedan (nephew) and I visited for the week with the high point being the parade. This was the first time a priest was selected. We enjoyed Pat Shingleton’s  opening announcement, live on WBRZ TV, alluding to Mike’s high profile of being involved in such good works across the communities that he has influenced during his distinguished 40 + years as a priest across a number of Parishes.


So what’s so unusual? Well the convention in Louisiana and Mardi Gras particularly, is that personnel on the floats throw various coloured beads – necklaces, with what seems to be, a limitless range – type’s, designs to the onlookers. Indeed the public clamour as the floats pass to see how many beads they can catch! It was very different to any other floats I have ever been on and was a brilliant encounter with so many expectant adults and children waiting for arrival of the Floats. As you can imagine the Americans do everything in style and with great panache. We travelled the few miles or so ably escorted by Police from Central downtown, along with a contingent of the Sherriff’s Department and at one point State Troopers were involved. Everything for all eventuality seemed to be accounted for.

It was an amazing spectacle and is available to see (if you wish to)

Thank You

A huge thank you to all who contributed so generously to Daffodil Day in Athea last Friday. It was a huge success with over €1,500 raised between the Coffee Morning at O’Riordan’s Pharmacy and the work of Gretta Enright and Ann O’Keeffe who stood out in the cold last Friday morning selling daffodils to raise funds for a very worthy cause.

Local helpers travelling to Lourdes:
Eoin Sheahan, Meadhbh O’Donovan & Aidan Curry
With Fr. Brendan Duggan & committee members

Variety Concert in aid of Athea Lourdes Invalid Fund

In St. Bartholomew’s Church, Athea on Sunday, march 31st at 7pm. Tickets at €10 each are available locally. The Concert will feature Emily Clarke (Limerick Mid-West Radio 102) plus Niamh Mulqueen & Friends, Donie & Maura, Mike Guinane, Margaret Carroll & group, Brid Stackpoole, Athea Church Choir, Domhnall de Barra & Friends, Fr. Tony Mullins, Dancers, Ciara Hunt, Eoin Sheehan & Maeve Donovan.

West Limerick Mental Health Association

Are having their AGM on 2nd April @8pm. This is being held in Maple Lodge Day Centre, Newcastlewest. We are a Voluntary organisation that aims to promote positive mental health and well-being in Limerick County. We deliver a range of mental health promotion activities throughout the year. We are always eager to welcome new members, so please join us on the night. All are welcome. No previous experience is necessary. Any queries please ring 068-31019. Refreshments  available.

Athea Tidy Towns

Our AGM took place on Tuesday March 19th at the Library. Chairperson Lal Browne welcomed everyone present to the meeting and praised the committee for the efforts throughout the year. Damien Ahern gave a report of the previous year’s activities and projects that are currently at planning stage. Treasurer Henry Moran provided us with a break-down of our accounts and opened the floor to any questions. The current officers then stepped down and the election of officers took place. Lal Browne was re-elected as chairperson, Henry Moran was re-elected as Treasurer and Damien Ahern was re-elected as secretary. However it was noted by the officers that these positions were held since 2012 and it is hoped to assign assistant officers in the coming weeks to ensure the long term sustainability of the group. The meeting ended with a slideshow of photographs from projects undertaken in 2018 and a quote from our lifetime president Thady Hunt ‘Good things happen when you have good people involved’

Tickets are now on sale for our upcoming fashion show on Wednesday April 17th at the Con Colbert Hall at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased from Collins’ Shop and O’Riordan’s Pharmacy or from any member of the committee. Ticket would make an ideal gift for Mother’s Day!!

Our heritage plaques continue to be erected at various sites throughout the village. Once complete, there will be 20 points in total. Work will begin shortly on producing the accompanying map which will be made available at local outlets and on our facebook page – Athea Tidy Towns.

We would like to express our thanks to Councillor John Sheahan who has donated €10,000 to Athea Tidy Towns towards the cost of purchasing new signage for each entry road leading into the village and other projects. This is a huge benefit to our group and once complete will create a nice impression as one enters the village. Designs are currently being considered and we look forward to having these signs erected before the upcoming County Fleadh.

Our group has also purchased some ‘Anti Fly Tipping’ signage which will be erected on each road leading into the village aiming to discourage littering on our roadsides.  These signs are in both English and Irish and will hopefully grab attention!

The Team Limerick Clean up will again take place on Good Friday. Supplies will be distributed at 9am at the hall. It is hoped a representative from each area will take part in the litter clean up on the day. Bags of litter can be dropped at the hall or collection can be arranged. For further information please contact Damien on 087 9042477

Thanks to the CE workers who are currently preparing Holy Cross Graveyard for the erection of three Benches near the new altar. These will be a welcome addition to the graveyard.

We are currently looking for some top soil for an upcoming project in the village. If you wish to donate some, please contact any member of the committee. All donations greatly appreciated.

Planning for our local competitions is at an advanced stage. We have 5 categories in total as well as an overall winner. To date we have secured sponsors for 3 trophies; Jim & Liz Dunn in honour of their daughter Pippa,  Chris & Rachael Grainger of Athea PC and The Casey O’Brien cup in honour of the Casey & O’Sullivan families of Lower Athea sponsored by Brigid, Hugh & Casey O’Brien & Kay O’Sullivan/Flynn. We are very grateful to our sponsors to date. We have three trophies remaining so if you would like to sponsor one, please contact any member of the committee as soon as possible.

A Time of Renewal

by Domhnall de Barra

Spring seems to have arrived at last (hope it isn’t a false dawn!) and there are signs of life around the countryside. With more daylight in the morning, the birds are starting their chorus earlier filling the air with beautiful music. My back garden is full of birds, mainly because we feed them through the winter months, who never seem to take a rest. They are constantly flying to and fro gathering food or material for a nest which they will fill with eggs in the near future. They are a joy to behold and I can’t help but envy them their freedom. Trees and bushes are budding and they too will add to the beauty of the area when they are covered in glorious foliage.  Spring is a time for renewal and hope after the dark days and bad weather we have just experienced. We are all infected with new enthusiasm and a hope that the future is brighter than the past. The windows are thrown open and the “spring cleaning” begins. Room after room is pulled apart and thoroughly cleansed of the dust and cobwebs. Walls may get a facelift of paint or wallpaper and we generally feel much better when it is done. The earth is now ready for planting so the spring work can begin. In olden days it was a time for going to the bog and getting the garden ready. There was also the job of “scouring” dykes to make sure the water was running freely and that drains on the land were not blocked. The old drains were made with stone and were very good but , in the middle of the last century, clay pipes were manufactured and they became the material for making drains all over the country. They were easy to lay, a narrow trench in the ground, but they were very brittle and easily broken. In hindsight they were probably the worst material pipes could be made from. Up to that time there was no heavy traffic in fields and meadows. The horse and cart was the only means of transporting fertiliser, hay , straw etc and as they could only manage so much weight they did not do any harm to the pipes below the ground. Times changed and the horse was replaced by the tractor and trailer that could carry far heavier loads and made impressions into the soil causing the pipes to burst  and stopping the flow of water. This left the land worse than before the draining was done and eventually all those drains had to be redone. A lot of corners were cut by unscrupulous contractors as well. There were very good grants for drainage at the time so there was a lot of work about. All the drains were supposed to be filled to the top with small stones or chips but sometimes there was only a camouflage near the surface to fool the inspector. If the stones were there the water would get through even if the pipes were broken. Things changed and the new plastic pipes were introduced and the inspections became more thorough so there was a great improvement. As well as scouring the dykes, all the growth along the ditches was cut back and they were left in a tidy state. Much of this work has been neglected in recent years and it is not uncommon to see briers and bushes overgrowing onto the land. There are environmentalists that say this is the way it should be and that we should not  interfere in any way with nature but we depend on the land for food both for animals and ourselves and every available square yard is important.

The biggest crop in the garden was the potatoes or spuds as we called them. Tuning taobhfóds to make the ridges was a back-breaking job and you could be guaranteed a good night’s sleep after a day digging the sods with a spade. A good spade was most important for this work as it was for another job – stripping the bog. In certain bogs there was a lot of growth near the surface with roots reaching down into the peat. Pushing a spade through this was difficult to say the least and, unless you had good edge, it could be nearly impossible. Yes, the work in the springtime was hard and even if you were tired and wanted a good night’s sleep you might not be able to as this is also the time for cows calving and they don’t operate a 9 – 5 policy.  No, most calves are born in the middle of the night and they need constant supervision. Life was tough  long ago but it was also very rewarding when the work was done, the calves ready for market and the place looking neat and tidy.

Spring also heralded the start of the fishing season. Back in the day, fishermen made a living out of fishing for salmon along the banks of the Feale in particular. These were often men who had spent the winter in England working on “the beet”   At the time there was a shortage of labour in the sugar factories so they recruited men from Ireland to cross the water and work for a few months turning beet into sugar. A good contingent from here did this every year. They might be home for Christmas but more often than not the campaign ran into the month of January. Anyway, many of these took up the fishing rod and spent their days along the banks of the river trying to catch the elusive salmon. There was a great price for salmon at the time so there was great joy in a household when a man returned from the river with a fish tail sticking out of his bag. Now, times have changed. There is no more scouring dykes; the mechanical digger has taken over, stripping sods are but a memory, again down to the invention of the turf machine and the salmon are so scarce in the river now that they are not worth being fished.  Yet we still welcome the spring, the sense of renewal it brings. and rejoice in its beauty, As Matthew put it:

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one. 































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Kathleen’s Corner-27/03/2019

By Kathleen Mullane

“Mothering Sunday”

Well there is so much happening on this Sunday, March 31st. Firstly the clocks go forward this weekend – so don’t forget you will have an hour less in bed – but to compensate that we will have ‘lovely brightness’ now in the evenings. Many love the transition from ‘winter’ to ‘summer time’ – especially those living on their own and isolated. Others like the longer, darker evenings especially if you have a hectic busy lifestyle, it gives one a bit of extra ‘relaxation time’! In the not too distant future it seems the time will remain the same all year round – we wait and see.

The next important event on Sunday next is “Mother’s Day”. What is a mother? I’m sure the younger generation (like we did when we were young) thought our mother was the one that was always ordering us about – “tidy your room” – “be home before a certain time” and nowadays “get off those phones” and “Xboxes”! I suppose it’s as one gets older they realise that a mother is “someone who gives and cares, dreams and plans, makes the impossible happen! A mother is someone who keeps ‘going’ and ‘giving’ caring and helping . She’s too often the last “to be thanked” – but should always be first in our Hearts. So out of those beds early next Sunday and treat your mother to breakfast in bed and give a helping hand around the house during this one day of the year – Happy Mother’s Day to all you terrific mothers out there.

The Tidy Towns are hosting their annual Fashion Show on April 17th in the hall. Tickets are available locally. As we all realise the group do terrific work here in our parish and should be fully supported. Incidentally, it has been brought to my attention that individuals are bringing in empty food cans and depositing bags of them in the street bins. The crows then are pulling out all the rubbish from the bins. Do people not realise there are bottle banks at the graveyard for depositing empty food-cans – please keep our street clean and tidy and use the bottle bank for cans.

DVDs of the recent GAA fundraising S.D.C. are available now at Collins’. A nice keepsake of the memorable night.

Congrats to Eamon Sexton and his son William of Upper Athea who celebrated their 50th and 21st birthdays respectively at their home on Saturday night last along with family, relatives and many friends.

Tickets are going ‘like hot buns’ for the Gala Fundraising Concert this Sunday, 31st at 7pm in the Church. Carol has tickets in the Sacristy and they can be bought also in the local outlets and from me also. Monies raised on the night will go towards sending invalids and volunteers to Lourdes – there will be a great raffle also on the night. Any spot prizes would be very welcome. If anyone out there would like to give a donation to the fund it would be most welcome. Thanks to Knockdown Vintage Club who have already given a donation. Also we are so thankful for an anonymous donation – people are so good. It should be a great concert on Sunday night so come along and support our youth volunteers and invalids and enjoy the singing, music, dancing and a lot more. We will remember all who supported our fund-raiser, gave of their time, and all our parishioners when we light our parish  candle in Lourdes in June.

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Knockdown News-27/03/2019

Peg Prendeville

Belated congratulations to Pat and Alice Cummane, Knockdown, on their birth of a grandson, Jim Patrick Connolly. Congratulations to the parents Mary Anne and her husband Stephen. It is always lovely to hear of the birth of a new generation.

It is all systems go here in Knockdown for next Sunday’s Vintage Day. This day is the highlight of the year for the Knockdown Vintage committee members who put is so much hard work to ensure that the day’s events run smoothly. This year the proceeds are in aid of The Children’s Ark Foundation U.H.L.  Registration will commence at 12 noon both in Knockdown and at Sheehan’s. Modern Tractor Run will commence at 1 o’clock from Sheahan’s yard, followed by the Vintage Cars at 1.30pm from Knockdown, and then Vintage Tractors at 1.45pm from Knockdown. As it is also” Mothers Day” they are not forgetting the ladies, and they promise to have a few surprises for them amid much fun and frolics. We look forward to the day! Let’s hope the weather is kind. It usually is.

Ballyhahill Parents Association hopes to do a clean-up of the school grounds on Saturday April 6th at 9am if anyone is available to help out. Please bring along rakes brushes etc that you may have. Thanks to all those who sponsored a Flower Box for the windows of the school. The members are looking forward to seeing it come alive with colour for the summer months.  PRO Lisa tells me that “Ballyhahill NS is joining up with Loughill NS in an Easter Egg hunt on April 12th down in the new park in Loughill. We want to wish the Park Development the best of luck in the opening on Sunday April 7 and a huge Well Done on all the work that went into it over the last few years. All the kids are looking forward to getting a lot of use out of it I’m sure!”

I admit that I haven’t followed Dancing with the Stars but was pleasantly surprised to learn that John Nolan and Mairead Ronan were the winners and even more excited to realise that John’s mother is Joan Trant from Monemohill now living in Kilkenny. 

Mass times in Loughill/Ballyhahill will change on the weekend of April 6/7 when the Saturday evening Mass will return to Ballyhahill at 6pm and the Sunday morning Mass will be in Loughill at 10 am.

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