Tidy Towns volunteers working at the river walk erecting the fence at the river bank on Saturday morning last.

Athea Tidy Towns

Firstly, we would like to offer our sincere thanks to Athea Drama Group for their very kind donation towards 2020 projects which was presented to us during their final performance night on February 16th. Well done on another fantastic production and for choosing Athea Tidy Towns as the benefactor.

We would also like to express our thanks to Anne, Mary and Denis Hurley children of the late Nan and Willie Hurley for sponsoring the trees which will be planted at the Creamery Yard. The Hurley Family have strong links to the creamery since its foundation in 1913. A plaque will be erected bearing the following inscription;

These trees are dedicated to the Hurley family in honour of their commitment and service to Athea Creamery.

Denis W. Hurley, founding member and Chairman for 45 years (1913 – 1958). His son Willie, 47 years’ service at both Cratloe & Athea Creamery (1932 – 1979). His wife, Nan (née Stack), Butter-maker from 1939 – 1953.

Our group met at the River Walk on Saturday last to erect a fence at the River bank. Many thanks to all our volunteers for braving the elements and being so giving of your time.

Final touches are currently being made to the Heritage Trail Map & supporting documentation. Looking forward to sharing the completed leaflet with you all.

We would like to wish a very Happy Birthday to a very valued member of our team, Donncha Quille who celebrates a significant birthday this week. Wishing you many more years of happiness & tidy towning!

CFRs say Thank You

The Community First Responders (Registered Charity Number 20164973) want to say a very big Thank You to everyone who gave so generously to their church gate collection last weekend.  A fantastic amount of €1,163.63 was collected.  This money will be used to maintain / purchase equipment and train new volunteers.  A reminder – in the case of an Emergency (out of hours) – cardiac arrest, chest pain, choking, heart attack or stroke, ring emergency service (999 or 112), who will contact the CFRs if they decide they are necessary.  It is helpful to have your Eircode at hand as it makes it easier for the ambulance service to find you.

More Changes

By Domhnall de Barra

I normally play golf on Sunday mornings but for the past couple of weeks the weather has made that exercise impossible. To be honest, I didn’t know what to do with myself with time on my hands and no plans as to how I should spend it.  Storm force winds and lashing rain made outside trips undesirable, if not dangerous, so I read the papers and listened to the radio. There are some very good programmes on RTE 1 on Sunday mornings. World Report brings news from all over the globe and at 8.30am John Bowman goes through the archives for some very interesting recordings. After the news there is a marvellous programme called Sunday Miscellany, a mixture of poetry, interesting stories and a fine blend of music. In case you may be wondering, I am not getting paid by RTE for this endorsement of their Sunday morning programmes, it is just the fact that, due to golfing commitments, I had seldom heard them before or at least never really listened to them and was pleasantly surprised at how good they were. In one programme there was  a section on  Eoin O’Mahony. Eoin “the Pope” O’Mahony (22 March 1905 – 15 February 1970) was an Irish barrister, local councillor, and genealogist. He was well known as a “wit, raconteur, and fighter for hopeless causes”. He was born in County Cork and attended Presentation Brothers College, Cork and Clongowes Wood College. In an interview he made a comment that struck a chord with me. He said he wore his first pair of long trousers when he went to Clongowes at the age of 14.  His mother did not know that long trousers were compulsory  so he turned up in shorts to the amusement of his classmates. I hadn’t given it much thought but it got me thinking about  the change that has come about in the way we wear clothes. When we were going to school long ago every boy had short trousers. The first long ones might come for the Confirmation but, up to that time the legs were left uncovered. We had two pairs, one for weekdays and one for Sundays, or part of Sundays to be exact because they were only worn for going to Mass and as soon as we got home they had to be taken off in case they got dirty. The weekday ones were made of strong, durable cloth such as corduroy. They were held up by a pair of braces. Underpants were unheard of in those days but we would have a vest in the winter. Heavy cotton shirts, with long tails and a jumper completed the “uniform”.  Heads were usually cropped very close leaving just a bit of a fringe at the front. The reason for this was to avoid the head lice that were a plague at the time. Sometimes, in class, we had to share books with two or three heads stuck together trying to read the small print. I remember that there were two catechism books; the green one and the red one. We all had a green one but, for some unknown reason, there were never enough red ones to go around so we had to share giving ample opportunity for the lice to spread. My mother would watch us closely when we went home and, if we scratched our head at all, the fine tooth comb was out and the scalp was well raked. It was not a very nice experience, leaving the scalp very sore, but it was necessary at the time. The girls were worse off as their hair was long. It was either combed to the side or split in the middle. In those days girls always wore bows in their hair, one if parted to the side and two if parted in the middle.  Again their dress was simple, skirts, blouses and cardigans being the most popular. Sometimes they might wear a “gymslip” but never were they seen in trousers of any kind. It was tough on them as they got older. As soon as they reached puberty they were put into corsets, not because they needed the support but it was the custom of the times as was binding the breasts with cloth to prevent them protruding. There is a line in one of John B Keane’s plays called “The Buds of Ballybunnion” when a woman from the country, on holiday by the sea says when getting ready to bathe; “O, the merciful relief of a loosened corset”.  Footwear was also basic. We went barefoot for at least six months of the year and then wore boots or wellingtons. When it came to the fall of the year, free boots  were  distributed by the local relieving officer. They were sturdy and long wearing but were always too big. They were got that way so that we would “grow into them” but they were most uncomfortable. This had an effect on me in later life when I began buying my own shoes. I went in the other direction and got them as tight-fitting as possible also making them uncomfortable to wear. Children today would not dream of being seen in the outfits we had and that is no harm. Everyone theses days is wearing  runners or sneakers which are light and warm unlike the heavy clogs we had. I sometimes miss the past and bemoan all the changes that have occurred but some changes are for the better and we are healthier and fitter because of them.

Changes in weather as well. Can anyone remember a time when we had so much wind and rain?  I certainly can’t but we are not the worst off in this neck of the woods. Spare a thought for those unfortunate people who live along the Shannon  in the West of Ireland. Imagine having all your land under water and your house flooded and not being able to look after livestock. This is not an isolated occurrence but something that is repeated even more frequently as the years go by.  There are several ways of dealing with the problem but every time a solution is proposed, such as dredging the river, various groups object on environmental grounds etc. It is time to look after people first.