Flood waters today by the bridge. The eyes of the bridge are becoming closed with silt that is washed downriver and there is a danger of serious flooding if we get more rain.

Thank You

I would like to thank all of those who made phone calls and send messages and cards during my recent illness.

The thoughts were very much appreciated.

Patrick Langan 

Athea Graveyard Collection

Envelopes can still be handed in to the box at Athea Credit Union or they can also be dropped in to the Athea Community Council Office.

St. Bartholomew’s Church, Athea

Mass Intentions next weekend

Friday Feb 5th at 7.30pm  Dan Keane (UK and formally of Upper Athea).

Sat Feb 6th 7.30pm –  Liam & Noreen Mullane. Kitty Danaher.

Sun Feb 7th 10.30am – Jack & Peggy Danaher and their son John.

Denis Ahern (R.I.P. UK & Coole East) .

The Rosary & the Devine Mercy Chaplet

The Rosary will be recited before mass on Friday and Saturday evening at 7.15pm and on Sunday morning at 10.15am. The Devine Mercy Chaplet will be said each Thursday evening at 7.15pm.

All masses are live streamed on the Church Services TV network via the following link


Church opening

The Church is open daily from 9.30am – 2.30pm for private prayer. If you wish to book an anniversary mass, a wedding or baptism date or get a mass card signed please contact

Fr. Brendan on 087-0562674 or Siobhan on 087-2237858.

Welcome February and Spring

Feb 1st – St Brigid’s Day.

Feb 2nd – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Blessing of Candles)

If you wish to have some candles blessed, please leave them into the church during the above open hours -place your name on them and place them in the basket in front of the Altar and Fr Brendan will bless them at next Friday nights mass.

Feb 3rd – Feast of St Blaise (Blessing of Throats). Due to the Coronavirus throats will not be blessed this year.

Fr Brendan is not making his normal monthly calls at present due to Level 5 restrictions – but please feel welcome to make contact with him via his mobile – number above.

Fr  Brendan wants to say ‘thank you’ to the family from the parish who called to him on Sunday last to drop of 4 St Brigid’s crosses made by the kids as part of their home schooling work … Mhíle Buíochas.

A touch of Spring

By Domhnall de Barra

“Anois teacht an Earraigh beidh an lá dúl chun shíneadh,
Is tar eis na féil Bríde ardóigh mé mo sheol.
Ó chuir mé i mo cheann é ní chónóidh mé choíche
Go seasfaidh mé síos i lár Chondae Mhaigh Eo.”

That is the first verse of a poem we learned at school long ago composed by the great Irish poet. Antoine Ó Raifteirí.  whose statue can be seen in  Eyre Square, Galway. In it he says that now Spring has arrived and there is a stretch in the day, after St. Brigid’s Day he will hoist his sails and venture into County Mayo. He spent his days wandering from town to town and village to village, telling stories, drinking and composing poems. It is a very fitting piece for this time of year because it officially marks the end of Winter and an expectation of better times to come. I noticed that the birds are singing in the mornings now and some continue all day. Very soon  things will begin to grow and take new life and the cycle of nature will start all over again. I wonder if we really appreciate the beauty that surrounds where we live as we often ignore it or take it for granted. There is a prayer I say every morning that I got from Fr. Kelly a good while ago. Part of it says: “This day is full of  promise and opportunity, let me waste none of it. This day is filled with mystery and the unknown, help me face it without fear or anxiety. This day is blessed with beauty and adventure , make me fully alive to it all.” One good thing that has come out of the current pandemic is that most of us now have plenty of time on our hands to pause and take in our surroundings. I like to walk every day and I also like to vary the route I take. I have written before about the great views to be had from the top of Knocknaboul along the roads through the  windmills over to Keale. Last Saturday I did a walk I haven’t done for a few years; out the Glin Road, down to Barry’s Bridge and back to the village via the Lower Road. It is a bit longer than the other “ring” by the graveyards but it is well worth the extra time and effort. Coming down through Dirreen there are great views overlooking the village and spanning from Rooskagh back to Blot’s Hill. I stopped for a while to take it all in and there was something very calming about it. Something else happened during that walk that was, to me, very strange. As I walked along I began to realise that, though I passed many houses, there was no sign of life anywhere. It was a slightly eerie feeling, not even a puff of smoke from a chimney or a warning bark of a dog and it seemed as if I was the only living thing in the area. I was glad to see a couple of other walkers who passed the way. I suppose it is a sign of the times we are in and the fact that people are staying indoors as much as possible. Anyway, I recommend this particular walk to anybody who appreciates the world around us and, while I am at it, I’d like to complement the people on that route whose houses are so well kept and presented.

Another casualty of the virus is the “Biddy”. Across the border in Kerry, it was the custom for groups of entertainers, like Wrenboys, to go from house to house on St. Brigid’s Day raising money. They were referred to as “Biddy boys”.  At one time they would dress up in straw hats and women’s clothes and carry a straw doll or Brideog. This custom can also be found in parts of Ulster. I remember going with a group to Killorglin raising money for Abbeyfeale Rugby Club. Dr. George O’Mahony was president of the club at the time and he had connections in “Puck”, as we used to call it however, the custom was not strong in that particular area and the takings were light. It was strong around Duagh and Knocknagoshel  but, like many other rural customs have been dying out in recent years. There was great devotion to St. Brigid and some people are of the opinion that there should be a national holiday on her feast day. I wouldn’t mind.

There are a lot of people in the parish working from home at the moment, because of the pandemic, and the chances are that some may never again return to offices on a full time basis. With all the advances in modern technology it is quite possible to work from home for a firm anywhere in the country or throughout the world for that matter. Working from home is not easy if you are used to an office structure and the watchful eye of an overseer but many have found that they actually get more done when they set their own rules and time tables. If it works out it will be a great help in years to come with less cars on the road and less demand for huge office buildings in towns and cities. This should also have an effect on the price of housing since there won’t be any reason to live near the job. It is a well known fact that housing in Dublin is now beyond the reach of ordinary couples. Now, the cost of building a house is the same whether in Dingle, Longford or Dublin; it is the cost of the land on which the house is built that makes the difference in price. If large office buildings are not required, the price of housing will drop as more land becomes available. There will also be less traffic on the roads which should help in reducing our carbon footprint so it makes sense.  To achieve the goal of having the majority of those who can work remotely, it is vital that we have a good broadband system throughout the country and, alas, this is not so.  It is difficult to make sense of some of the work that has been left undone. For instance, the  wires have been laid from Abbeyfeale to Athea, passing my front door. They then connected everyone from Athea as far as Margaret Liston’s, the last house in Knocknaboul, and from Abbeyfeale to Cratloe creamery leaving all of Cratloe along that route without faster broadband. I wonder why but I have since learned of other areas around the country that have the same story to tell. It is vital that the government makes the provision of countrywide broadband a priority. The rewards are there for them if they do.

I recently changed my main fuse board from the old fuses to  trip switches. I should have done it years ago but, as the saying goes, “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”. Anyway, as a result I have a good few fuses that I now have no use for so, if there is anybody out there who still uses them just give me a call at 0876758762 and you  can have them free of charge.