by Domhnall de Barra

This week we have articles form Marian Harnett (Abbeyfeale Notes), Tom Aherne (by Carrig Side), Kathleen Mullane (Kathleen’s Corner) Peg Prendeville (Knockdown News)  and Jer Kennelly (Knockanure Notes).

I had a few enquiries about publishing anniversary notices, thank you prayers, novenas etc.  Yes, we can publish those as well as any items for sale, notices etc.  Email them to me or just drop them through the letter box in Athea. I call every day to pick up mail etc.

The death has taken place of Nora Fitzgerald (nee Shine) formerly of Dirreen, The Hill, Upper Athea and Waterford City. Predeceased by her husband Tom. Nora’s passing is deeply regretted by her sons, daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren, son in law, daughters in law and all her Athea relations. May she rest in peace

With the phased return to work, some of our CE Scheme workers are back in business. At the moment it is those who work outside and we are limited to the number who can be employed at any one time. Safety measures have been put in place and already the sign of their work can be seen, especially in the two graveyards. Thanks to those who volunteered to keep the place looking tidy during the lock down. It will be a while before we get back to normal but we will do our best with the resources we have.

People from all over the world logged on to Athea Tidy Towns Facebook page, last Sunday, to witness Mass in Athea Church. Fr. Tony deserves our gratitude for making this possible and we hope it continues. It is a great comfort to the faithful in these challenging times. There is only one problem: there is no collection!  It is difficult to see how the clergy can continue without the revenue from the weekly collection plates. They still have the same expenses, such as the upkeep of the buildings etc., and they, of course, have to provide for themselves. Some mechanism should be found to facilitate donations to the Church. If people donated what they usually gave weekly it would solve the problem. Food for thought.

An incident that was reported on the media last week reminded me of days gone by. When Boris Johnson decided to relax the restrictions in the UK and allow sports like golf, tennis and fishing to resume, Scotland did not agree and kept their lockdown going. As a result , on a river that divides England and Scotland, English anglers were out in force on the southern side while their Scottish counterparts could only look on in envy from the opposite bank. That took me back to a time, mid-way through the last century, when nearly all the people in this neck of the woods were practising Roman Catholics. In those days fast and abstinence were strictly enforced, especially during Lent when just one meal a day was allowed plus two collations. A collation is  “a light meal allowed on fast days in place of lunch or supper” ( I had to look in the dictionary for that!). The collation could not be over a certain few ounces and I remember my parents weighing out their meagre portions with a weighing scale.  At that time there was also prohibition on the eating of meat on Friday which became a day for eating fish instead. One of my neighbours, a devout man, would not dream of eating meat on Fridays so he fried sausages instead!! In his book they weren’t meat at all. Fasting from midnight the previous night was also required of those who were about to receive Holy Communion. Bearing in mind that transport was limited at the time and most people walked or cycled to Mass, many would be fasting from midnight to noon the following day. They definitely earned their rewards.  Eventually the laws were relaxed and eating meat on a Friday was no longer banned but it was not done on a unilateral basis. It was left to each diocese to decide when they abolished the obligation. Kerry diocese had moved before Limerick so, for a while, those living in Kerry could eat meat on a Friday but their neighbours in Limerick could not. The river Feale divides the two counties and at the time it was a great source of income for salmon fishermen from around Abbeyfeale. Salmon were plentiful and there was a ready market for them so, from the season’s opening on the 1st of March, the banks would be lined with anglers. They fished all day and took packed lunches with them. Bill Cotter, a great character and wit, was fishing with a group on the Limerick side of the river one day but, when it came to lunch time, his friends were surprised to see him crossing over to the other bank. They were wondering what he was up to until he pulled out a fine cut of cold bacon and began to make a sandwich for himself. It was Friday so Bill announced that since he was now on Kerry soil he was entitled to eat meat while the boys in Limerick could not. You could not make it up if you tried.