Mary O’Mahony, Coole West, Athea all dressed up to meet the Queen at Royal Ascot races.
In photo with Mary is her son Thomas & daughters,
Margaret & Jane.


















Pictured above is a representative from MS Ireland receiving a cheque for €2,191.82 from Nicole O’Sullivan who recently held a stepathon in Athea in aid of MS Ireland. Nicole would like to say a big that you again to everyone who sponsored the event and helped out in anyway.

Graveyard Mass

The Templeathea Graveyard Mass will take place on this Wednesday, 17th at 7pm, weather permitting.

Pilgrimage to Knock

The Parish Pilgrimage to Knock will take place on Thursday, August 1st. Please give names to Agatha Barrett and Peggy Casey.

It’s The Way We Say It   

By Domhnall de Barra


When I was a young fellow, in the dim and distant past, the world was a very big place that we knew very little about except for what we learned from school books.  Travel was limited due to lack of cars which made a trip to Tralee or Limerick seem like a huge undertaking and a day long experience. Then the radio came with its outside aerial and two batteries, one dry, one wet (theses were the days before electricity reached rural Ireland) and we got a little more information which left a lot to our own imagination In my innocence I thought that people everywhere spoke in the same manner as we did and, because we did not travel outside our own area, I kept that notion until the first time I was taken to England at the age of 14.  Going to England, in those days,  was like going to Australia now. We caught the train in Abbeyfeale at 8.00 in the morning and, three changes later, we arrived at the boat in Dun Laoire to take us to Hollyhead. This was not the luxury ferries that cross the Irish Sea today, oh no, this was a cattle boat where most of the passengers sat out in the open.  Hollyhead to Coventry, via Crewe and Rugby, completed the journey which, in total, took 24 and a quarter hours.  On the train to Dublin I did discern some strange accents but it was nothing to what I experienced when I heard my first Welsh accent spoken by a conductor on the train from Hollyhead. When I got to Coventry I realised that  I was the one with the strange accent that did not fit in with the kind of neutral midlands accent of the region. This was a cultural shock to my young brain but I soon got used to the idea. It did however leave me with a great interest in language, accents and the differences from one are to another. Even within counties, and sometimes parishes, there are subtle differences and use of words that denote our place of residence.  Athea and Mountcollins are not too far apart in West Limerick but the accent is slightly different, for instance, here in Athea we seldom pronounce the G in words ending in ing. We say mountain, waitin, fightin etc without even thinking about it  whereas in Moutcollins they make a point of even exaggerating the ing to the extent that, to our ears, it sticks out.  Even from one end of our own parish to the other there is a difference. People in the southern end, where I live, will pronounce N at the start of a word like “night” softly while in the northern end it is more sharply defined.  Phonetically they would sound like “noight” and “nite”.   I suppose we would have the influence from the Abbeyfeale side, on the Kerry border, while Glin and Ardagh would be more akin to the northern dialect. I suppose you could say we all have a funny way of talking. For some reason we do not like e in the middle of a small word. We call men “min”, pen, “pin” and so on and we do cut a lot of words short. Along with that we may use words to denote either good or bad as the case may be. One of our favourite adjectives is the word old except we never say old, we pronounce it “owl” (with apologies to the wise bird”!). An “owl” fool can be bad while an “owl” creature (pronounced “craythur”) can show sympathy. A good example is the following I heard from one of my neighbours who was commenting on the story that another neighbour had hurt himself falling off his bike, coming from town under the influence of overindulgence in Jack Fitz’s bar.  “ d’owl misfortune, d’owl craythur, God blast him d’owl eegit”!   Old in that case had two different meanings.  By adding the word “poor” before old we emphasise what we want to convey such as “the poor owl misfortune”. Poor in this case doesn’t mean lack of money, it is almost a term of endearment. On the other hand, by adding the word “dirty” before old we go in the opposite direction. “The dirty owl ape” has nothing to do with lack of cleanliness but rather infers that the person is a worse type of fool. Some people will use the word “desperate”  in this context. A “desperate ape” or even a “printed” one lets us know something of the degree of stupidity involved.

Whatever about local differences, there is a great gulf between counties. In Cavan, for instance, if they want to say something is bad they will use the adjective “odious” (pronounced “ojious”). In the North of Ireland they would say “at the minute”. where we would say “at the moment”.  We might say “when I came home”; they would say “whenever I came home”   Pronunciation can also vary from place to place. In Kerry, and I have heard some locals do the same thing, one letter or sound can be substituted for another. Vs and Ws in particular are removed from the start of words so a “vodka and white” becomes a “wodka and fite”.  There was a discussion in a bar in Kerry one night about the chances of an old IRA man getting elected to the county council. One man opined that he would get elected by the “wotes of the wolunteers”.  These are but a very small sample of the variations from place to place.

The advent of television has changed the way we speak to a great extent and much of the colour that made us different is disappearing. Young people, in particular, now have a kind of Mid-Atlantic accent that makes it extremely difficult to work out what county they come from. The purpose of language is to communicate so we should not get hung up on proper grammar or pronunciation. If we can make ourselves understood, that’s all that matters but I miss the old ways of saying things and I rue the decline of the beautiful regional dialects that added so much colour to our speech.