Jackie Sheehy and Mary Browne
stepping it out

A fine bunch of Athea footballers from the 1960s ( Both photos from K. Mullane)











Graveyard Collection

People can still contribute to the Graveyards Collection in the box at the Credit Union or at the Community Council Office.

St. Bartholomew’s Church, Athea

Mass Intentions next weekend

Saturday Feb 20th 7.30pm              Jim Larkin (1st anniversary)

Ella Ahern (4th anniversary)

Start of Lent

Ash Wednesday Feb 17th – Mass will be live streamed at 10.30am. The ashes will be blessed at this mass and will be available at the church and local businesses afterwards.

Lenten Pack

This year we also have a Lenten Pack which includes blessed ashes, a prayer card for lent and a Trócaire box. These are also available at the church for collection.

Offertory collection & Lenten stations

Any parishioners wishing to contribute to the Church Fund or Spring Stations are welcome to do this next Sunday Feb 21st between 2-4pm at the church.

Sincere thanks to all of you for your ongoing generosity to the parish.

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.

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 at any stage.

A Prayer of Hope

Oh Lord, when we grow Weary –

especially in these difficult times – please help us to remember each aid every day to –

Count our Blessings and not our Crosses.

To Count our Gains and not our Losses.

To Count our Laughs and not our Tears

To Count our Joys and not our Fears.

To Count our Health and not our Wealth.

And most of all to Count on God

And not ourselves.


By Domhnall de Barra

The three Rs, reading, writing and arithmetic, as they were referred to, were very important when we were going to school long ago. Grammar and pronunciation were hammered into us ‘til we became very good at writing properly. We mightn’t be that good at the spoken word but we knew how to put a sentence together on paper.  I have noticed lately that some of the language used on radio and television falls short of what might be deemed acceptable. I will use one example. On an ad for the provision of more space to cyclists in cycle lanes, a person shows by outstretched hands how much space is needed from cars and trucks and then says, “just a little more space for a lot more safe.”  Now, as far as I understand, the word “safe” is an adjective and should not be used like this. It should be  “a lot more safeness”, or even safety.  I know that if I used it in an essay long ago, Jim Kelly would have some strong words for me.  I don’t want to be picky about language but, if this is the standard that is allowed on the national airways, it gives a very bad example to young people who will now think it is ok to do likewise. It is not important in daily communication where we all bend the rules and that’s fine. After all language is just a means of communication and as long as we make ourselves understood we have achieved our aim. There are so many accents around the country and throughout the English speaking world that there is not one of them that is 100% correct. Even those upper classes in the “Home Counties”, who should be the standard bearers, pronounce words finishing in or or er as ah. They will say rathah and mothah for rather and mother so there is an excuse for us.  The way we speak around here is changing as we go forward but it was created from the Irish language which, only just a few generations ago, was used as our means of communication. English was a foreign language to our forefathers who were forced to learn it. That is why the structure of some sentences  seemed to be a bit higgledy-piggledy because they translated straight from the Irish and used the structure of the native tongue. Brendan Ferriter, R.I.P., came from the Gaeltacht behind Dingle to teach in Athea. He told me he fell in love with the way we expressed ourselves because he felt we were talking Irish through the medium of English.

It is difficult to understand how an island as small as ours can have such an array of accents and dialects. There is a vast difference from Donegal to Cork and from  Dublin to Galway; there are at least four very different accents in Dublin alone!  The accent we use in Athea is fairly neutral; it is the way we use it that causes problems. For a start, we speak too quickly and run our words into each other.  We also often pronounce E as I  in certain words. For instance, a man coming into the company of other men may say “how are the men” but what he will actually say is “how’re th’min”  Another example is the way we would say “the beast from the east”  It would sound like “th’beast from theesht”   Describing a man gone to England to make a living we might say “ he’s gone tingland tearin money”.  We have no problem understanding this but people from outside the area will. I have been to a good bit of the world and I never once thought  about changing my accent but, especially when being interviewed on radio or television or giving a talk on music maybe, I had to consciously slow down my delivery and leave a space between the words. I love the diversity in accents and I hope that they won’t disappear too quickly but I have my doubts.  Young people today are getting their way of speaking from the TV and unfortunately some of it is the worst of American rubbish. Every sentence starts with “so” and if I ever hear the word “awesome” again, I will puke. That is why it is important that our national airwaves gives good example and does not accept grammatically incorrect content in any broadcast.

I am writing this on Monday and tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday. Maybe it has become better known now as “Pancake Tuesday” but it had great significance in days gone by. It was the last day before Lent, a time of fast and abstinence that had to be strictly observed for the seven weeks leading up to Easter, with the exception of St. Patrick’s Day. People were allowed one full meal a day and two snacks that couldn’t weigh more than a few ounces. I remember, in my own house, bread being weighed to make sure the Church rules were observed.  Dances were not allowed during Lent either so it was not really a time to look forward to.  Shrove Tuesday was also the last day people could get married, as no weddings were allowed during Lent, so there was a flurry of activity, especially by match-makers, leading up to it. It became a very popular day for weddings and if there were any bachelors left after that day they would get a bit of a ribbing from the rest of the community. The match-maker played a big part in rural life and was adept at putting suitable couples together. There was nothing romantic about this; it was a serious business as dowries had to be agreed on where land was involved. A young girl was often matched with a much older man because he would have to wait until his parents were ready to give up the farm before he could bring in a wife. I often wonder how these young women felt going into a house that had, not only her husbands parents but also maybe a maiden aunt or bachelor uncle as well who now depended on her. I’m sure there was a lot of differences of opinion and the husband might be torn between loyalty to his wife and mother but most of the marriages seemed to work out. There was one place in Ireland where couples could get married during Lent and that was Skellig Island off the Kerry Coast. The monks were allowed to perform the ceremony and  couples who needed to get wed, for one reason or another, could take advantage of it. It was also felt that it was a bit romantic, a bit like eloping to Gretna Green in Scotland. John Francis Brouder, R.I.P., from Knocknasna (a brother of the late Mick Brouder, father of Dote and Donie) Upper Athea, composed a very humorous poem about the “Skellig Shore”. In it he mentioned all the local courting couples he met on Skellig in a very light-hearted way. Alas, it wouldn’t make much sense to anyone younger than myself today as all the people mentioned in it have gone to their eternal reward.  Lent hasn’t got the same meaning today but it is still a time when we can  give up something we like; eating, drinking or doing and contribute a bit of money to charity.  It won’t do us any harm and we may feel a little better about ourselves.