Athea Tidy Towns Group who are busy organising their Fashion Show Fundraiser which takes place on Wednesday April 17th in the Con Colbert Hall at 8pm.

Athea BranchComhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann

The County Fleadh takes place in Athea over the June Bank Holiday weekend.  There will be a meeting at the Top of the Town on Monday night next, April 8th at 9pm to continue making arrangements. We will need a lot of help to run this Fleadh so please, if you can at all, come along to the meeting. This is about promoting Athea and all its businesses so if we all pull together we will have a very successful Fleadh Cheoil There will be a Trad Session in aid of the Fleadh  on Sunday next April 7th from 7-9pm in Brown Joe’s Bar. Come along and join in the fun, everybody welcome.

Athea Tidy Towns Fundraising Fashion Show 

Dedicated followers of fashion will be in for a real treat later this month as the Athea Tidy Towns Group hosts their annual fundraising fashion show to aid of vital improvement works in the village. A highlight of the social calendar in Athea in previous years, this year’s show has been set for Wednesday, April 17th at 8pm, with the Con Colbert Hall once again providing the perfect setting for the event. Featuring all local models, the show itself will showcase the latest trends (Men’s, Women’s and Children’s ) from all the top boutiques from West Limerick and North Kerry, and will be preceded by a cheese and wine reception.

Judges will also be on the lookout for the best dressed lady on the night, with some lovely prizes up for grabs.

Featuring on the catwalk will be;

Earls and Pearls & Annette Manns (Adare),

Esthers, Mairead’s Shoe’s, Marielles & Heavenly Gifts  (Abbeyfeale),

Taelane, Blossom & Glamourous (Listowel),

Brides Boutique (Glin), Modini & Scanlon’s Menswear (Newcastle West) & CH Fitness (Athea).

Tickets are now on sale at  Collins’ Shop & O’Riordan’s Pharmacy Athea or by phoning 087  9848247

This and That  

By Domhnall de Barra

We had a spate of funerals in the parish lately and we said goodbye to some people who had a great presence in Athea. Because of this we witnessed some of the biggest gatherings at funerals for a long time. One of those who died was a neighbour of mine, Con O’Connor from Cratloe.  He was the last surviving member of a family that were well known and respected in our area. Con was a few years older than us when we were growing up but we all mixed together and he became our idol. He always dressed in the latest fashions and had a motorbike when we had only old bicycles.  He worked at Michel Reidy’s shop in Abbeyfeale where he repaired bicycles, motorbikes, radios and basically anything mechanical.  He also drove Michael’s hackney car at a time when few people in the country areas owned their own cars. The busiest time they had was on Sunday mornings taking people to Mass. Very often neighbours would share the car but they would sometimes have to make three or four journeys to the one Mass. Of course they all had to be taken home again afterwards and it was a bit of a rush because there was another Mass coming up and more people to be ferried. Anyway “Conneen” as we used to call him, took it all in his stride and always had a joke handy to lighten the mood. When we started to go to dances he took us to places we would never have reached, like the Rose of Tralee festival or the dance in Ballybunion during the summer. He would also give us the use of the car to do a little courting if we were lucky enough to “shift”. He loved music and Irish music in particular so he organised a session in the house in Cratloe on Saturday nights. I was in my early teens at the time and  I couldn’t wait for Saturday nights to put the accordion on the carrier of the bike and cycle the short distance over through the glen and up the passage to the house. There were some fantastic nights with musicians such as Colm Danagher, Timmy Woulfe, Jack Fitzgerald, Patie Boy Hartnett, Jack Morrissey and many more playing away until the small hours of the morning. He introduced us to the tape recorder, one he got from his brother Fr. John who spent most of his life in the missions in Africa. It was the first time we heard ourselves playing but also the first time I heard my own voice. It was totally different to what I imagined it to be and to this day I still can’t listen to myself. Con’s mother was one of the Fitzgeralds from Abbeyfeale and we got to know all her relations who regularly attended the sessions – magical days.  Con also loved guns and was a great marksman. He kept the pot full with game birds and at night he would roam the countryside in search of foxes. He made a living from them when there was a good bounty to be had. Eventually we all grew up and went our separate ways and lost touch. Time goes by so fast and the world that we knew disappeared.  We don’t have our rambling houses anymore, more’s the pity, but I will always remember that house in Cratloe and all the help and friendship I got from Con. It is fair to say he had a big influence on me in my formative days when he was like a big brother. May he rest in peace.

Last Sunday night was a great success for the Lourdes Fundraising concert in the Church. We had an exhibition of local talent  that kept  the audience entertained for just over three hours along with some distinguished artistes from outside the parish who gave their time free to help raise funds to send people to Lourdes. I must admit to being a little disappointed with the attendance from our own parish. If we took out all the people who came from outside the parish the attendance would be poor enough. The admission to this concert was a meagre €10 which is just a fraction of what it would cost to see a show in any theatre. The people who stayed away don’t realise what they missed. Any way thanks to all of you who did make the effort and showed such appreciation for the performers on the night.

Fr. Duggan is to be commended for organising this event and also his committee who did great work behind the scenes. We can be proud of all the talent that exists in our parish and we should have more concerts like this to give them the platform they deserve.  I did meet one woman who did not agree with having such a concert in the “house of God” as she put it.  I am sure that God does not mind people being happy and enjoying themselves, after all, it was He gave us the talents we have so why would He not want us to share them with his people in His own house.  Didn’t he change water into wine at a marriage feast so that the guests would enjoy themselves?  By sharing our music, song and dance we are offering praise to the Lord for what he has so generously bestowed on us and, in the process, if we can help to send some deserving people on the Lourdes pilgrimage, isn’t  that a bonus. Well done to all involved.

Preparations for the County Fleadh which will be held in Athea over the June  bank holiday weekend are ongoing. We are currently seeking adds and articles for the programme so there will be some of our members calling to you in the near future. We ask you to support our efforts to give a big boost to our village which is highly regarded throughout the county as a home of all things traditional. We will also need lots of help at the weekend so, if you can spare an hour or two, we’d love to have you. It promises to be a great occasion.