Athea’s Midnight Multicoloured Walk

Planning continues for the ‘Spring into Easter’ – Athea’s Midnight Multicoloured Walk which will take place on Good Friday April 10th. Thanks to everyone who have pledged their support towards to the event to date. A pop up shop will operate from the Library on three dates leading up to the walk where lanterns and other illuminated merchandise will be available to purchase. All funds raised during the event will be split between the Athea Lourdes Fund and Athea GAA. Advertising poster will be made available next week.

Knockdown Vintage Club Charity Vintage Run

Sunday 29th March 2020 at 1pm. Light Refreshments will be served. Music by  Deel Dinger from 4 – 6pm.

Raffle for numerous prizes including a Weekend Away.  Proceeds in aid of  the

Symptomic Breast Unit UHL.

1st. Prize: 2 nights B&B at Lough Rynn Castle Estate & Gardens, Mohill, Co. Leitrim. 2nd. Prize: €100 Voucher for The Devon Inn Hotel, Templeglantine. 3rd. Prize: Monster Hamper plus numerous other prizes.

Draw will take place in The Knockdown Arms on Sunday 29th. March 2020 at 6pm after the Vintage Runs. Tickets €2 each or 3 for €5. For Further information Contact  Patrick Langan 087-2452695

Dave Noonan 087-2500938

Athea Tidy Towns

Our group have been invited to present at the Newcastle West Municipal District Monthly Meeting on Wednesday March 4th. We are delighted to be hosting this at the Athea Carnegie Library. At this meeting, we will be presenting on the need to develop a Public Realm plan for the village which would take the future development of the village into account including issues such as speed reduction, under-grounding of services, footpaths, street lighting, car parking etc. Many thanks to Councillor John Sheahan for arranging this meeting in Athea.

It is hoped that work on the fence at the Giant’s Garden will commence in the coming weeks. The fence here will be replaced with a recycled plastic alternative thus reducing maintenance.

Planting will commence shortly at the River Walk. A mix of wildlife friendly shrubs and trees will be planted to transform the area into a haven for wildlife.

The annual Good Friday Clean Up will take place on April 10th this year. We are asking people to start thinking about what areas of the parish they wish to litter pick on the day. All litter pickers must be registered at the Hall prior to taking part. More details to follow.

Eventful Time 

By Domhnall de Barra

It was an eventful end of the week for me, in more ways than one. On Friday we had the funeral of one of my four remaining aunts, Margaret Barry from Brosna, who was almost 96 years old. There is now only one member of my father’s family living, Mary O’Keeffe, who used to live in Seanafona, not far from Abbeyfeale. She is the last of five sisters and four brothers, two of whom, my father Danjoe and Eily (who married John Joe O’Connor), ended up in Athea.  On my mother’s side there are two aunts still with us and I hope will be for a while yet.  Funerals are a great opportunity for catching up with family members we might rarely meet otherwise. You can see great changes in people you have not met for a couple of years and of course you have to realise that they also see changes in you. We are all getting older as time moves on and, on some of us, it is beginning to show. When I was young I thought old age was a long, long way into the future but that only seems like yesterday. “Life is short” they say and there was never a truer saying because it is gone in the blink of an eye. Noreen and myself got married in Coventry on February 28th 1970 and it seems like only last year. There have been some big changes since then. Our wedding Mass took place at 7.30 in the morning, as was the custom at the time. We had the wedding breakfast in a club in Coventry and then a bit of dancing. The whole thing was done and dusted by 6pm.  Wedding presents were not as lavish then as they are now. We got several sets of bedclothes, clocks, cutlery and crockery and were delighted with it. Money was also scarce. I remember, as it came  towards the end of the evening,  I wanted to buy a last drink but was afraid the finances would not stretch that far.  I consulted Noreen and we opened a few cards. We got £2 and  10 shillings, enough to buy the drink with a bit left over. That evening we hit the road for Liverpool, where I was starting a new job, in our Hillman Imp, nearly broke but happy with our lot.  The cold of that day came back to me  on the 28th as we stood, at Margaret’s burial, in the graveyard in Brosna, amidst the storm winds and rain. I thought of how important families are and how lucky I am to have one. One of the advantages of growing older is becoming a grandparent.  It is a very special feeling and I look forward to seeing my own grandchildren as often as possible. Some of them are adults now but we had a great time spoiling them rotten while we could. I never really knew my grandfathers as both of them died at relatively young ages. Gareth Barry died at 65 and Dan Harnett was in his mid-thirties when he was taken so I value the time I have with my own. One great thing about being grandparents is the fact that you  can be there for them, whatever the problem. Every day is precious and should be lived to the full. We should also try and keep in touch with the extended family outside of weddings and funerals. The people who came before us would always visit the cousins at least once a year and this was at a time when the main mode of transport was the pony and trap. Relations were important to them and so they should be to us.

I took a walk along the old railway line in Abbeyfeale the other day and as I was walking I thought about all the trains that had passed along that way over the years and the people who had travelled on them. It was the first leg of what was then the long journey to England and I wondered what was going through the minds of those who were leaving home for the first time. Some of those had never been farther than Listowel Races and now they were going into big cities where they knew nobody.  The first ones to go blazed a trail for others to follow and many had accommodation with relatives and a job secured before they left home. I have great admiration for the ones who arrived in England knowing nobody and had to find a job and somewhere to stay, hampered by poor education. They did not all succeed but those who did paved the way for the rest of us. It must have been heart wrenching, saying goodbye to  mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters but there was nothing here for them and they had to go. The good thing about the train was that it ran both ways and brought the emigrants back on holidays every year at summer and Christmas.  They were the happy times when families were reunited, even if only for a couple of weeks.  There would be great excitement on the platform as the sound of the train could be heard from as far away as Devon Road, if the wind was blowing in the right direction, until eventually it pulled up in a cloud of steam and coal smoke to let off the weary travellers. So the railway line has sad and happy memories in equal proportions. It is a lovely walk that I would recommend to anyone as it is free of all traffic and almost level.  It also has an abundance of  trees, bushes and wild flowers along the way with plenty of wildlife to be seen. There is a line in a prayer I say every morning that goes “this day is full of beauty and adventure; make me fully alive to it all”. I think of that on my rambles.

The weather remains bad but we are not getting the worst of it in our area. The cold spell came at a bad time for me as I ran out of gas on Saturday at a time when we had visitors due to anniversary celebrations and the funeral. We are totally dependant on gas for heating and cooking and I wouldn’t mind but I had ordered a refill on February 17th.  I have been trying to get some sense out of Flogas since Saturday but up to the time of writing have not succeeded. More blankets I suppose!!