Happy New Year to all our readers at home and abroad

Community Council Offices Secured

At long last, after a struggle of six years, title of the building that was once Pa O’Connor’s, in Con Colbert Street, has passed to Athea Community Council Ltd. Like many others we were victims of the negligence of one solicitor who has since been struck off by the Law Society. All’s well that ends well however so we can now look forward to developing this building for the benefit of the community. A feasibility study is being arranged but we would also welcome any suggestions you readers may have on the subject. We  thank all of you who buy our weekly lottery tickets as that is the main source of the income needed to purchase this building. Through your support we are well ahead of schedule in our repayments to Athea Credit Union.

Athea Graveyards Collection

A sincere thank you to all who contributed so generously to the Graveyards Collection which took place on December 28/29th.The total collected was €2,194.90. 

Referees Course

There is a big shortage of referees in all counties at the moment including Limerick. Liam O’Sullivan has arranged a Level 1 Foundation course for new referees on the 27th of February, 3rd of March and 5th of March. If  anyone within the club is interested please contact John Hunt for more details.

Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Eireann

The next meeting of the Fleadh Cheoil Committee takes place at the Top of the Town on Monday next, Jan. 13th., at 8:30pm.  We appeal to all who would like to give a hand organising the Fleadh in June to turn up to this meeting.

Great Expectations

By Domhnall de Barra

It is all over for another year and how quickly it goes by. All the months of preparation, the panic buying, the giving and receiving of presents, being nice to everyone (even the ones we don’t like that much!), the eating too much, drinking too much and sleeping in in the morning, are now behind us as we drag ourselves back into our everyday routines once more. To tell the truth, it is good to be back to something that resembles normality, a structure to our day because the most of us are not cut out for overindulgence. I wonder though if the true meaning of Christmas is getting lost in all the hullabaloo. The majority of people who celebrate at this time of year do not believe in Jesus Christ so why are they celebrating His birth? It would be easy to be judgemental and cynical but maybe it does not matter because, for a while, there is goodwill in the air and a sense of peace and surely it is what Jesus would have wanted  for a birthday present. The only problem is that it does not last and we quickly return to our old ways in a world that is not a nice place, most of the time. I realise that it would be impossible to keep the spirit of Christmas alive all the time so let us be glad that we can experience it, if even for a short while, once a year.

The Wrenboy tradition survives in this part of West Limerick but  the batches are getting fewer, especially the younger ones. We couldn’t wait for St. Stephen’s Day to go from house to house, playing our tunes and singing our songs, mainly because we had no money in those days and we felt very rich after we had divided the spoils in the evening. I suppose young people nowadays are so well off that they don’t need to go on the  wren. It is a pity because they are missing out on a great experience. We would have prepared from the month of October when the bodhráns were made. The goat skins had to be treated and stretched over the wooden rim in a particular way which was known to very few in the area. As they used to say “there was a knack to it”. A well made bodhrán ( there were no bodhráns in our day, they were called tambourines) produces a sound that is full and round and when played properly can enhance and inspire the music. There is no finer sound than that made by a batch of wrenboys with fiddles, flutes and accordions accompanied by a number of bodhráns all played in unison. Let us hope that there will be a revival and that a tradition that goes back a long way in our parish is not lost.

The new year brings with it great expectations. We make resolutions that we will do better and change our lives. One person gives up the drink, another the fags etc but, for most of us it is short lived.  It is good to have the intention, however long it lasts and some people do succeed in their goals so why not try. It is a time for wondering about the future and what it might hold for us. What a different place the world is now in comparison to what it was like 100 years ago. If it had been possible to freeze somebody at that time and awaken them now what would they think? They would probably think they had been transported to another planet such are the changes and I doubt if they would want to stay.  I dread to think what it will be like if the world survives another 100 years. I would hope that  the great advances we are making will result in the eradication of disease and sickness, that the third world will be brought into line with the rest of us and enjoy the benefits of prosperity  and peace, that world leaders will do just that, lead, and work towards the greater good for all and not just for their own narrow agendas, that the threat of nuclear war will be removed by total disarmament, that Ireland will at last be united as a country that respects and embraces all cultures and religions and that my grandchildren and their children will see a reversal of the global warming that is a threat to our very existence in the not too distant future. Maybe I am dreaming but so what?  I have been very privileged to have lived through an era of change that the world has never before seen. When I was born in 1945, just after the war, the world hadn’t seen much change for hundreds of years but since then it has changed beyond all recognition. At Christmas we were able to talk to and look at our relatives all over the world using the smart phone technology we now take for granted. There is much that is good in the world, we just need the political will to encourage and foster it. Great expectations alright but without hope, without a dream for the future, where are we.

I will end this drivel by making a few predictions for 2020


Limerick will win the hurling

Kerry will win the football

Wales will win the six nations

  • Fianna Fáil will get the biggest vote in the general election
  • Trump will finally go too far and be rejected
  • England will leave the EU with a harder deal than expected
  • I will play more golf and work less (if that is possible)


Happy New Year to you all