No, it is not the middle of June! – this was Tom Barrett bailing silage last Tuesday Feb 26th in Lower Direen. What a contrast to the weekend when we had another fall of snow. The weather is gone mad!!

Conor, John and Tom at the Award Ceremony










Conor Mullane with family and friends at the West Limerick Awards night on Friday 22nd February in Rathkeale House Hotel where he picked up the Football Hall of Fame Award

Knockdown Vintage Club

Charity Vintage Run

Will take place on Sunday 31st March 2019 at 1pm, light refreshments will be served. Music by Deel Dinger from 4 – 6pm. Raffle for numerous prizes including a Weekend Away.

Proceeds in Aid of The Children’s Ark Foundation U.H.L

1st. Prize: 2 Nights B&B at The Killarney Plaza Hotel & Spa

2nd. Prize: €100 Voucher for The Devon Inn Hotel, Templeglantine

3rd. Prize: Monster Hamper

4th. Prize: Afternoon Tea for Two at The Great Southern Hotel, Killarney.

And numerous other prizes. Draw will take place in The Knockdown Arms on Sunday 31st March 2019 at 6pm after the Vintage Runs. Tickets €2 each or 3 for €5

For Further information Contact Patrick Langan 087-2452695   Dave Noonan 087-2500938

Athea Community Games

Wishes to thank everybody who gave so generously to their recent Church Gate Collection. It is very much appreciated.

Communicare Healthcare

Maria Dixon of Communicare Healthcare is trying to recruit Care Assistants to provide essential homecare support to over 65’s in the Athea area. Flexible working hours with excellent rates of pay. Contact [email protected]  094-9259100


Glórach Concert

Celebrate International Women’s Day at the Glórach Theatre, Abbeyfeale on Friday, March 8th with a themed concert from the group Cúisle, who will be performing iconic songs written by women.  The concert starts at 8 pm, and tickets can be booked at 0871383940.

Be Alert

There was another Garda Text Alert at the weekend: “Black Volvo S40 – possible reg. ?? TS ?? acting suspicious. Attempted break in – Upper Dirreen. Contact Gardaí 069 20650.

Athea Tidy Towns

We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting local tidy towns competitions in 2019 in the following categories.

  1. Best Kept Front Garden in Housing Estates
  2. Best Kept Front Garden on Approach Road
  3. Best Kept Housing Estate
  4. Best Kept Business Premises/Household on Colbert Street/Barrack Street
  5. Bee Friendliest Garden

All gardens must be located inside the speed limit signs.

Application forms and further details will be made available shortly. We are currently seeking sponsors for perpetual trophies for each category and an overall winner’s trophy also. Trophies can be sponsored by a family, in memory of a loved one, businesses, individuals etc. These trophies will be returned each year. Please get in touch with any member of the committee if interested.

Our fundraising fashion show will take place on Wednesday April 17th at Con Colbert Hall at 8pm. Margaret Carroll and her team are currently working behind the scenes to ensure another successful show. Tickets will be on sale shortly.

Our AGM will take place on Tuesday March 19th at the Library at 8pm. Many of our officers have been with us for a number of years now and would welcome some new blood to join the committee.

We are pleased to update everyone on the progress of the repair of our mural painted by Jim Dunne and local help a number of years ago. Unfortunately, the mural was knocked by a storm in early 2018 resulting in severe damage. The timbers had also begun to decay as a result of weathering. It seemed an impossible task to save the mural but following a commitment from our resident volunteer artist James Dunn, it was decided to salvage what we could of the masterpiece. The repair project was spearheaded by John Scanlon who enlisted the help of Joe Lavin and Shane Scanlon. It was not an easy task as they worked together to cut away and replace parts of the timbers essentially creating a jigsaw puzzle. Many nights/ evenings have been spent repairing the mural and we are beyond grateful to these men for sharing their time and skills all for the benefit of our village. When complete, the mural will be placed on the newly built concrete wall complete with protective canopy next to Batts Bar. We have also been successful in receiving funding from Airtricity to erect lighting to illuminate the mural at night. Thanks also to Scanlon Construction for their assistance with this project. Looking forward to the day when this mural will return to his rightful home!

The first two of our heritage plaques were erected recently at Dalton’s Terrace and the Carnegie Library. This trail will be another great addition to the village, made possible by the support of the parish towards tidy towns activities.

Time of Sacrifice

By Domhnall de Barra 

Today is “Pancake Tuesday” which, in days gone by, was the last day one could get married before Lent. As a matter of fact it was the last day one could do a lot of things which were forbidden or frowned upon once Lent began. Lent was seen as a time of fast and abstinence  when people made sacrifices to save their immortal souls. It might be difficult for young people nowadays to understand how seriously this was taken back then. No meat was allowed for the duration and during the course of a day a person was allowed one full meal ant two collations. These were determined by weight, just a few ounces of bread, and it wasn’t uncommon to see somebody weighing the bread before eating it. Along with that other sacrifices were made. Cigarettes, alcohol, sweets and chocolates, sugar and the likes were also “given up” for Lent. Add to that came the banning of dances as well. Sunday night was the usual dance night and often the only time of the week when young people could congregate and meet prospective partners. Dance bands, who depended on the halls for a living, went to England for the seven weeks to ply their trade in the Irish dancehalls up and down the country. The vacuum left of Sunday nights was filled by local drama groups who took the opportunity to take to the stage and give an opportunity to local talent. It was good fun but not as good as the dancing that we looked forward to from one end of the week to the other. In the period before Lent there was a lot of clearing out done. Non-laying hens and cocks would be killed and eaten as meat of any kind would not be needed and there was no point in feeding them. Marriages were hastily arranged to avoid the delay and if Shrove Tuesday was missed there was only one place in the country where couples could be wed and that was on Skellig Michael where the monks observed a different calendar and Lent began at a later date. There are many tales of couples taking the trip to the island off the Kerry coast to tie the knot. As children we always gave up sweets. It was no great sacrifice because the only time we ever got any was maybe after Mass on Sunday when, if we were lucky, we would be given the price of a few toffees, bulls eyes or “Peggy’s leg” which was a cheap candy bar. We didn’t always see it through to the end if temptation came our way but our intentions were good.

It is almost one hundred years since our country gained partial independence from a British government distracted by the war and eager to be rid of the “Irish question”. The birth of the nation was not an easy one, born out of conflict and a savage civil war that tore families apart. It is difficult to imagine how tough times were back then. There was no money in the country and people’s state of health was very poor. Money was raised in America to fund the armed conflict but people were only barely surviving. As the new state was beginning to find its feet the Second World War broke out and brought more deprivation and shortages. I was born at the end of that war and can well remember the ration books that entitled households to the minimum of food. We grew up knowing no other way of life. We were poor but nobody told us and everyone we knew was in the same boat as ourselves. Ordinary folk did not own their own homes. The local councils and corporations built terraced houses and cottages which were rented to people at an affordable price. They weren’t luxurious by today’s standards but they were sturdy and durable and many big families were reared in them. The average family in those days would be about ten. There were only three rooms in most houses so it was share and share alike. It wasn’t uncommon to see six children in the one bed, three at the top and three at the bottom !  We kept each other warm and had great craic when the cousins came to visit in the summer time. There was no electricity or tap water and no inside toilets. There might be a pump in the yard for spring water and rain water was collected in a trough at the corner of the house. Only the main roads were “tarred” and there was little or no transport. It took the country years to drag itself into the twentieth century and we were behind most other nations in wealth. That lasted up to the  latter part of the century until, in the ‘90s we discovered money!  Unfortunately it wasn’t our own money but the banks were willing to give loans willy nilly and everybody wanted to own their own house. They were encouraged by the powers that be to do this as it saved local authorities money. The politicians, bankers and developers got together and made vast amounts of money selling bonds to foreign investors and  lending each other money to buy and build. The country was suddenly rich and prices started to go through the roof. Housing estates were springing up even in remote fields all over the country and anyone who had an ounce of common sense could see that it could not continue. The banks, however, cooked their books by shifting money around and inflated their worth by buying their own shares. The rest, as they say is history. The crash came and we, the Irish taxpayers, were basically shafted by those we depended on to look after  us. Bond holders walked away happy while we are left with a huge debt to pay.  We are not out of the wood but if you listened to the politicians you would think we are. By telling us how well we are doing they are inviting pay claims from those who made sacrifices after the crash. We all need a dose of reality and it might do us no harm at all to look at Lent like the people who came before us.