Congratulations to Noel and Ann Barry who were married on Friday
last in Killarney

The new railing at the Giant’s Garden

Re Proposed Mast in Athea

Just a note to let the people of Athea know that the proposed erection of the 70ft. Mast at the Garda Station in the Village has been refused Planning Permission by Limerick County Council. I will be awaiting to see if the company (EIR) will appeal the findings to An Bord Pleanála and if they do we will see what other actions can be taken. I would like to sincerely thank all the people that signed the petition objecting to it and the people who sent in personal objections – Athea Tidy Towns, Haulie Liston, Donna O’Sullivan (Horgan), Rebecca O’Rourke and myself. Also to thank Donal & Lillian at the Newsletter for the publicity surrounding it and the shops in the village for letting their premises be used to promote the petition. Thanking you. Yours sincerely, John Matthews.

Graveyard Collection

The envelopes are being delivered in the coming weeks to all houses in the parish. They can be handed in to the Credit Union where a box is available for them or they can be dropped in to the Community Council Office.

Athea Tidy Towns

A big thank you to everyone who supported our gofundme campaign. Over €2,000 was raised which will now be added to any funds raised in our collection boxes in local shops. The final figure will be published in the near future.

We are delighted to learn that planning permission to construct a 21M Mast in the centre of the village next to the Garda Station has been refused. This would have been a complete eyesore in the village. Whilst we agree coverage in the area must be improved, there are other areas in the parish that would be deemed more suitable for a mast. Eir now has the opportunity to appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanala – however if so, we will be ready to continue the fight. Huge thanks to Nelius Hunt who assisted us in putting together our appeal to the planning application. 

Our Contactless Bottle Refill Station was installed on Wednesday last in front of the Butchers, and the water is flowing. We are planning a small low key launch in the near future where the design will be unveiled. Huge thanks to

Sinéad McDonnell & Padraig Vallely at Limerick City & County Council for their support in delivering the project. We also wish to express our thanks to Athea & District Credit Union who have come on board as a sponsor of the fountain to cover the cost of the annual maintenance of the unit.

Thanks to Jim & Jamie (the two J’s) for erecting our Christmas Wreaths in the village during the week. These are admired by all and bring some Christmas Cheer to the village. 

A word of thanks also to Margaret Scanlon who was busy during the week preparing our Accounts from 2019 in preparation for our AGM. We are lucky to have such a skill set on our committee. Our AGM will be held in early 2021, more details later.

The Pursuit of Happiness

By Domhnall  de Barra

I wrote about the importance of the bicycle in our young lives lately and it got me thinking of how things started to change as we got older. The top class bike was great but, like everything new, it became ordinary after a while and I set my sights on something better. I saved up money, week by week, until I had enough to buy a motor cycle. I had seen it in the showroom of a local garage near where I was living with my aunt in Coventry and I was hoping it would still be available when I had accumulated enough money.

As luck should have it the bike was still there and, having parted with my hard earned cash, I rode out onto the street like a champion jockey on board the favourite in the Derby. It was a Triumph 200, also known as Triumph Cub,  and in those days helmets or other protective equipment were not mandatory. It gave me a new sense of freedom as I learned quickly how to change the gears and negotiate sharp bends. I couldn’t wait to show of to my then girlfriend and take her for a long drive in the countryside.  I was on cloud nine for a while but it didn’t last long. I never thought about checking the engine for oil so one day I was driving along and suddenly the engine started missing a beat, like somebody with a bad cough. I hadn’t a clue what was happening so I ploughed on until the engine ceased up completely and the bike died. So much for youthful innocence but I learned from my mistake and was well prepared for my  next venture into the world of motorbikes. I hadn’t intended buying again straight away but a friend of mine, who was moving away from the area, had a motorcycle and side car that he offered to me at a very good price. He also knew somebody who was involved in a financial institution so I was able to borrow the money and became the proud owner of a Matchless 750 combination. This was a very powerful bike with a double seat sidecar that meant I could take my  aunt Nora and the kids in the side car and my uncle-in-law Pat on the pillion. It was a great feeling because, in those days, most people travelled by public transport and very few had  their own cars or motorbikes. I made sure, this time around, that I checked for oil and kept the machine in good mechanical order but alas fate was to deal me another bad hand. One day I was leaving work when a bus appeared out of nowhere. I applied the brakes but, it being the month of February, there was ice on the road and I crashed headlong into the bus. The bike was a write-off but  I escaped with a few cuts and bruises and a badly damaged ego! After licking my wounds I went through a few more bikes before the novelty finally wore off and I began to hate the cold and the rain so my mind turned to motor cars.

I will never forget my first car in the early 1960s, a Morris Oxford that cost the princely sum of £25. It had a split windscreen, no heater and, worse still, no starter motor. To start the engine I had to turn on the ignition, twist a knob to the right and turn over the engine with a starting handle. Younger readers will not know what a starting handle was like but it was a simple iron rod with a handle that was inserted through a hole at the front of the car and enabled the engine to be turned over. With a quick whip the engine would burst into life, if you were lucky but, more often than not, it took several goes before getting the desired effect, especially on a cold morning. I had it only a short while when it stalled at  traffic lights one day. The engine revved up when I put the foot down but even though it was in gear it was going nowhere. I had to be towed to a nearby garage where I was told that the half shaft was broken. I had no idea what a half shaft was but they fixed it and I was back on the road again. A day later, I was driving along a road by Hearsal Common and as I slowed approaching a bend, a wheel passed me out on the nearside barely missing a woman with a shopping bag who was walking on the footpath. I was wondering where it came from when suddenly the back of the car tilted to one side as I rounded the bend and I scraped to a halt. When the mechanic had replaced the half shaft he neglected to put a pin through the  big nut holding the wheel  in place. With the vibration of movement the nut came loose and the wheel had come off. I was lucky that no one was seriously injured.

So, as you can see, my first ventures into mechanical transport ownership were not very successful.  It was a tough baptism but it educated me  in the ways of life and what is really important. We are never satisfied; bicycles lead to motorcycles, motor cycles to cars, cars to bigger and more expensive ones until eventually we realise that they are only means of getting us from A to B. In the same way people want to get more and more money; the rich man wants to get richer and the richer man wants to become the richest. That is why we buy tickets for the Lotto in the hope that we might win millions and then we would live happily ever after. That is an illusion; there is no happy ever after except in fairy tales. Most of our lives are spent dealing with day to day problems, some bigger than others, and we are lucky if we are happy occasionally. That happiness is rarely found in material things but in human relationships. Family and friends are the real wealth and without them we are indeed poor.

I remember when Noreen and myself got married, 50 years ago, we had a flat in Liverpool. A house came up for sale and  we moved into a house like the ones in Coronation Street. By the time everything was paid we hadn’t any money for furniture so at night we used to take the cushions off a three piece suite that came with the house and make a bed out of them on the floor. With every pay packet we got something new, well, it was new to us but more often than not it came from a second hand store. There was a great sense of satisfaction as we watched the house grow around us. We had very little in the material sense but we were happier in that small building with our baby Danjoe than in any of the others we have had since. We didn’t properly realise it at the time because happiness is retrospective and it is only when we look back that we can see it for what it was. So, money isn’t everything but as my friend Peadar Finn used to say “but it is awful handy when you are shopping”.