Jason Kelly, Coole East, who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Agricultural Engineering from the Institute of Technology, Tralee.

Fair Day

The Fair will be held this Saturday, November 9th. As always we hope that the weather will be good so as to enable as many as possible to attend.

Thank you

A sincere thank you to all who so generously contributed to our church gate collection for the Going Strong last weekend, a total of €700 was collected.

Church Gate Collection

In aid of Gorta – Self Help this Saturday November 9th & Sunday 10th at all masses. Your support would be appreciated.

 Parish Journal

We have decided to go ahead with the journal this year as we received a few more articles and photos since last week. We have not, however, received anything from the local clubs and organisations. These have  featured strongly in every journal since the first one and it is important as it marks a years activity in the parish and will be useful to future generations doing a bit of research.  We again appeal to them to send in their copy asap as time is slipping by and we need to get cracking if we are to have the journal on the shelves in time for the Christmas post. I’m sure that all the clubs and organisations will make a special effort over the next few days.

Athea Golf Society

The A.G.M. Of Athea Golf Society will take place at the Top of the Town on Monday night next November 11th. at 9pm. All members are asked to attend.

Sean Nós Dancing

By Domhnall de Barra

On Saturday last I watched the Sean Nós dancing competitions on TG4. This competition has gone from being the “poor relation” of the annual Oireachtas na Gaeilge gathering to being the most popular. A few short years ago, very few people outside the Gaeltacht areas, and Connemara in particular, danced in the Sean Nós style. In fact, in certain circles it was frowned upon and thought not to be proper dancing at all. What is Sean Nós dancing anyway?  It is without doubt the purest form of Irish dancing and offers its exponents a freedom of expression that other forms do not. Until its exposure on  TV we were used to the regimented type of Irish dancing that was created along with our independence by a commission set up by the government of the time. Though it adopted some of the Sean  Nós steps, it had very little freedom of expression. The body had to be held rigid from the hips up and the arms were held close to the sides. It used a set of steps that were first danced with the right foot leading and then with the left. At the same time “Rinnce Foirne”  was created. It was a set  of dances for groups using  basic traditional steps in synchronised movement.  There were also dances that could be used  at dances or Ceilithe such as  The Siege of Ennis, Two and four-hand reels, the Haymaker’s Jig, Trip to the Cottage etc.  These became very popular and were danced to the music of the céilí bands for years. Indeed, in the middle of the last century, even modern bands had to provide at least one round of the Siege of Ennis at all the dances.  These were portrayed as “Irish” dances but they, in fact were not suited to traditional music at all. They were too rigid in their structure and did not allow for the type of improvisation that was the hallmark of the true tradition. Some bands adapted their  music to suit this type of dancing, notably the Gallowglass Céilí Band and  Donal Ring’s Céilí Band. They dispensed with all ornamentation and variation and played at a regular speed that was not only boring but far removed from the true tradition of band playing. Most of the dancing schools around the country still use this type of music when teaching young pupils. Irish dancing classes grew over the years and became big business. Some fantastic dancers have emerged from these classes and I had the pleasure of playing for many of them on touring concerts. In the early part of the last century there were other types of dancing steps being taught around the country. These were more traditional steps brought to the people by travelling teachers. They would come into an area, stay in some house in the area and, for a small fee, would teach anyone in the area how to dance. One of the most famous around the North Kerry area was a man called Dinneen. These steps are like a mixture of the Sean Nós and the modern step dancing. As time progressed, the travelling dancing master disappeared but the Irish dancing classes flourished until the latter part of the century when their popularity  began to wane a little.

Then something happened that changed Irish dancing forever. At a Eurovision Song Contest, held in Dublin, a warm up act came on stage and blew everyone’s mind away. River Dace featured Irish dancers with intricate steps but with a difference. Gone was the rigid upper body and heads, arms and body were used to emphasise certain movements. They were lucky in having two of the world’s best in the lead roles, Michael Flatley and Jean Butler. The rest, as they say, is history and River Dance and other shows like it tour the world every year and are as popular as ever. This freedom of expression may have been thought to be new but it was a return to the past. The authentic Sean Nós dancers had been doing this all the time. The real Sean Nós dancer will only dance to certain tunes so that all the nuances of that tune can be expressed on the floor. They will shift their hips, wave their arms, bend from side to side and use any movement that will compliment the music being played. The true dancer has no fixed steps but will make them up as he/she goes along. There is a oneness between the musician and the dancer that gives them both a lift and is a joy to hear and behold when they really gel. Its popularity is at an all-time high and it has spread all over the country. It was good to see a young Ward man from Carrigkerry giving a fantastic exhibition on the TV last Saturday taking 2nd place. Unfortunately, it’s popularity may also be the cause of its downfall. Steps are now being taught that are not exactly true to the tradition and there is a sameness between all the dancers bar a few.  Dancers should be encouraged to develop their own individuality and  try to really understand the music before taking to the floor. Maybe I am being alarmist, I sincerely hope I am, but in the meantime I am going to continue enjoying every minute of it. I love dancing but, because I spent most of my life playing for dances I did not get an opportunity to try it out until a few years ago when I retired from playing for céilithe. I joined Josephine O’Connor’s set-dancing class and had a couple of fantastic years leaping around the place. I loved the freedom of expression the set dancing gave me and I even developed a bit of Sean Nós dancing when I was alone in the shed and no one could see me!!  Alas, the years caught up with me and the knee started to act  up so I had no choice but to give up. There is light at the end of the tunnel as I have recently had veins removed from both legs and the knee has responded to treatment so, maybe next year, I will return to the classes and make a fool of myself on the floor again.

Lourdes 2019 Thanks

The fundraising Lourdes committee wish to thank the following for their generosity in donating to the fund for the 2019 pilgrimage which enabled youth volunteers from the parish to travel and help out on the pilgrimage.

A Huge Thanks to:-

The Devon Inn (Sheehan Family), Agatha Barrett (Bingo Fundraiser), Eddie Langan, Ellen Hanrahan

Danny Scanlon, Lal Browne, Mickey Hayes, Maurice Horgan, O’Riordan’s Pharmacy, Diarmuid Collins(Contractor), Kathleen Ambrose, Athea Drama Group, Top of the Town, Jerry Griffin (Butcher)

Joe Vaughan, Gerard White, Liz King, Raymond Enright, Derek Curtin Construction, Noreen & Eugene Brouder, Knockdown Vintage Rally, Tom Hassett, Noel O’Sullivan, Twomey Family Plant Hire

Helen Barry, Batt’s Bar, Donal de Barra, C.D. Printers, Mullane’s Bus Hire, Anonymous Donation

Thanks to Athea GAA, Athea Utd Soccer, Feale Oil and all those who gave spot-prizes for the fundraising concert in the Church. To all the participants and supporters of the concert.

To the business people of Athea who allowed us to have buckets on their premises for “Split the Bucket”.

It is hoped to have another grand concert in 2020 for our fundraising along with other events.