Archive for April, 2020

News – 30/04/2020

by Domhnall de Barra

Once again we are a bit short on the news front but however we have items from Kathleen Mullane (Kathleen’s Corner), Tom Aherne (by Carrig Side), Peg Prendeville (Knockdown News), Marian Harnatt (Abbeyfeale Notes) and I have included an old photo in the Sports section which was sent to me be Denis O’Connell whose father Christy (brother of John O’Connell, Gortnagross) died recently. Christy was a member of the 1950 team that included some great footballers. Have a look.

Today is the last day in April, a day that had great significance for past generations. Pisógs were commonly practised by certain people and May Eve was a time when they were at their strongest. The Irish “Pisóg” comes from the English word “Pishogue” which is a term for magic or a spell. The people who practiced the black arts had the power to cause disease and sickness in animals and humans and to increase or decrease produce such as hay and milk. They were mostly women who were thought to be able to take the form of a hare or other animal. To get what they wanted they had to visit the property of their victims and touch the crops or animals. People were really scared of this so, on May Eve, they went around their lands and houses, sprinkling holy water to ward off the evil spirits. I remember my father and mother doing it and my wife Noreen does it to this day.  Did they exist at all?  There is very strong anecdotal evidence that they did and I can recall several stories from my own locality that would be hard to make up. One incident involved a farm that started to have bad luck. Calves and bonhams were born dead, hay rotted and milk went sour in the tanks. One local man told me that they were piking hay into the barn and every second cock had eggs in it, a common sign of pishoguery. Things were so bad that eventually they went to the parish priest who brought a colleague from the diocese who was trained to deal with the supernatural. They said Mass and blessed all the land. From that day forward their luck turned and everything went back to normal. Of course there were some exaggerations and pisógs were blamed for  accidental misfortune that happens all the time. The clergy, at the time, did believe that there was evil afoot and helped the people where they could. I firmly believe hat evil does exist and is evident in the atrocities that occur every day in this world. Maybe there is always a war between good and evil and we struggle at times to be as good as we would like to be. Anyway, pisógs seemed to have died down but many people will not take the chance and the holy water will get a liberal sprinkling tonight.

I got a letter with a few photos from a person who does not want to be named (for obvious reasons) and describes himself/herself as “a friend of the earth”  It basically says that the cutting of turf by machines does a very neat job laying out the turf but leaves the bog from where the turf was cut in an awful state. In bygone days the stripping sod was laid in the bog hole preserving the flora of the region but the new method means that valuable and rare plants and flowers will be lost. I don’t think there is much to worry about as the days of cutting turf at all are numbered. There is a ban coming on the burning of fossil fuels and, they say, turf causes far more pollution than coal. It is inevitable that things are going o change. New houses can no longer have chimneys so the writing is on the wall. Turf was very important in this part of the world and gave employment to hundreds of workers from late spring to the end of summer. Most households cut  more than they needed for themselves and then had turf for sale to houses in towns and villages who had no bog of their own or to the many lorry men who sold it down the County Limerick. It was a nice little earner during tough times in this country.

Turf neatly laid out near the road

What was left after cutting

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Knockdown News – 30/04/2020

By Peg Prendeville

The death has occurred of Mary (Margaret) Barrett (née Sheahan) formerly of
Turraree, Athea, Limerick. Beloved wife of the late Tom. We extend our sympathies to her brother Seán and her daughter Margaret, son-in-law Sam, grandchildren Emily and Sam, brothers, relatives and friends. She is being cremated in England and her ashes will eventually be buried in Athea.

It was lovely to hear that Eily Hogan from Hogan’s shop in Glin celebrated her 90th birthday this week. As she is staying safe at home it was a quiet but happy day for Eily, who is always happy and smiling no matter what is happening in the world. She is a woman of great faith and accepts whatever is happening with a trust that it will turn out alright in the end. She has a keen interest in genealogy and can trace any local family back as far as you might want to go. I wish her many more years. She is well looked after by her family.

Knockdown Vintage had to cancel their run this year but, instead, is inviting you to do a short “virtual” vintage run on May 3rd at 12 noon. Staying within the 2km rule take your car, bike, wheelbar, tractor, anything that moves on wheels for a quick run and post your videos or photos on their FB page. Just for the fun of it. Yerra, go on, go on, go on! Keep together by staying apart.

It looks like our quarantine will go on for another week or two judging by the numbers of new cases and, unfortunately, deaths. It can be a frightening time but we must also be aware that this is not the first time our world has seen such pandemics. It’s just the first time such a thing has happened in our lifetime. The 1917 Spanish flu killed millions but the earth recovered and continued turning. So it shall now too. We live in hope. But I am very aware that many people are stressed out from working and worrying and we hope it eases very soon. However I do think that many of the children of this time will remember it as the time when they had no school and lots of fun at home with both parents, even if they had to wave to their grandparents through glass.

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Sports – 30/04/2020

The 1950 Athea Football Team

This photo was sent to me by Denis O’Connell, son of Christy O’Connell who died recently ar dheis De go raibh a anam. This team included three of the greatest footballers to have graced the football pitch and would have been automatic selections on any county team: Eoin Liston, Sonny Murphy and Timmy Woulfe. That is not to say that the others were not great as well but these three were exceptional. Timmy is the only member of that team still alive and it is a credit to his endurance that he was the lynchpin at midfield of the senior team hat won the  County Senior Championship 18 years later!!

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