by Domhnall de Barra

This week we have the usual contributions from Kathlen Mullane, Peg Prendeville, Tom Aherne and Marian Harnett. We have nothing on the sports front; no surprise there. I sometimes wonder if there is anyone out there logging on to this every week as, despite my request for same, nobody has sent any pictures, articles, for sale items, poems etc. I would love to get some to fill our pages during theses lean times so start searching!. It’s great to be able to walk out in the fresh air within the 5km limit. We are very lucky to be living where we are with such beautiful countryside to enjoy. The other day I stood at the top of the hill, between Coole East and Keale. and the only Munster county I wasn’t able to see was Waterford. I suppose in normal times we take it too much for granted.

One of the saddest results of the pandemic regulations is the ban on funerals and people being present when loved ones are passing away. Funerals play a huge part in community life in this area. It is a time when friends and neighbours show their support by attending the removal, Mass and burial, recalling the life and times of the person who has passed on. The other day I got news of the sudden death of a good friend, Nora (Butler) Swan from Nenagh. She was a regular visitor to Athea, singing  and adjudicating at most of the Fleadhs since the early 70s.  She was one of the main attractions when she sang at the first concert, which was organised by Fr. Duggan, in St. Bartholomew’s Church, Athea. She refused to accept any fee or travelling expenses as the concert was for the Lourdes Fund. Considered one of the top female singers in the traditional world, she won three All-Ireland titles in a row, a great achievement. We were in concert tours all over the  world together in the ’70s and ’80s and I have very fond memories of that time. It is only a few days since she called myself and Noreen We had great craic with her for about an hour. It was very difficult not to be able to go to her funeral but, thanks to the miracles of modern technology, we were able to watch the Mass in Nenagh on the laptop. She was a very special fried of Donie and Betty Lyons, Dromreask and often stayed in their house. She will be sadly missed by her sister Mary and all in the world of traditional music. We won’t see her likes again. May she rest in peace.

While I was on my walks recently, I was amazed to see the number of young people who are ignoring the social distancing recommendations. I counted four cars with more than two youths in them and I also saw groups huddled together in conversation. We see no danger when we are young but this virus is no respecter of age and can strike young and old alike so I would appeal to everybody to pull together for now. The more we conform, the quicker it will all be over.

I had a complaint the other day about dumping in the graveyard. It is an unfortunate fact of life that some people are litterers and just don’t care. Having bins available was suggested but, everywhere bins were provided, they had to be removed again because they were filled with household rubbish. in normal times the CE Scheme workers could deal with the problem but they are grounded at the moment. At the end of the day the graveyards are the property and responsibility of Limerick County Council so complaints should be addressed to them, preferably through your local representatives.

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