Great Clean-up

On Good Friday volunteers from Athea Tidy Towns and Cratloe/Keale/Coole West Community Alert took to the roads of the parish picking up rubbish. The photos above show just one of the many skips that were filled and Joan Griffin looking after her own neighbourhood. A great day’s work done by all concerned and thanks to those who had the foresight to organise the event.

St. Bartholomew’s Church, Athea

Mass Intentions next weekend

Saturday April 10th 7.30pm                           Patrick (Pa) Walsh – 1st Anniversary

Paddy & Kathleen O’Connor. Johanna & Dan O’Connell.

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

Church opening

The Church is open daily 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.

Easter Mass Bouquet cards continue to be available in the church this week – please add your intention to the book provided and leave you donation in the box.

Thank You

Sincere thanks to all who assisted in the preparation and celebration of our Holy Week Ceremonies. We thank our Parish Clerks, Readers and Eucharistic Ministers. A special word of thanks to Theresa O’Halloran, Hannah-Mai Collins and john Redmond for the beautiful altar displays they arranged since Palm Sunday to symbolise the message of Holy week. The painting of the tomb was done by Angela Keane of Cratloe. The altar is really beautiful and well worth a visit during the coming week.

Easter Water

Easter water blessed at the Easter Vigil is available at the back of the church beside the sacristy door. We have also produced a prayer card with prayers for the blessing of family and for the blessing of land and animals which are available in the church.

Divine Mercy Sunday

The Divine Mercy Chaplet and Rosary and Novena Prayers will be said before 10.30am mass next Sunday morning April 11th.

Diocesan News

Chris is Risen!  Is an article by Fr Chris O’Donnell on the meaning of Easter published in this week’s edition of the Weekly Observer. You will find the article on page 36 of the paper. We encourage you to read the article.

The Way We Were

By Domhnall de Barra

It was a very different Easter because of the lockdown but at least the weather wasn’t too bad. On Sunday I took my walk on the old railway line in Abbeyfeale and I couldn’t get over the amount of people who were walking, jogging, running and riding bicycles. Every second person had a dog or two on leads and it was nice to see them all getting a bit of exercise. Ned Riordan R.I.P. once told me he walked greyhounds because “I keeps them fit and they keeps me fit.” Anyway people will be a lot healthier for the exercise and I hope they keep it up when the lockdown is over.

As I was walking on Sunday my mind wandered back to the days long ago when Easter marked the end of Lent and a lifting of restrictions including dancing. Having been kept off the floor for six weeks we couldn’t wait to get back to Tobin’s hall. There was always a good band for the first night back and there would be a queue waiting for the door to open at 9pm. It was mostly the girls who were early as some of the lads would take a pint or two down town before going to the hall. Everyone was dressed in their best attire, the girls in lovely frocks and dresses and every one of the lads had a suit with a shirt and tie. Shoes were polished until they beamed which only lasted ’till the first dance was over because there was a type of powder sprinkled on the dance floor to make it smooth for dance steps. This powder rose into the air as the dancers twirled and turned and it covered the shoes up to the ankles. There was no such thing as long hair for men in those days, short back and sides was the order of the day with lashings of hair oil to keep it in place. Brylcream was the favourite oil but there were others as well including a brownish coloured liquid that came in a small bottle with a cork. It was called Brilliantine. A couple of lads from Sugar Hill had a bottle on a shelf by the door and a neighbour who used to travel with them made a habit of reaching for the bottle when he came in and  splashing it on his hair. He went too far one night when he took the last drop in the bottle leaving one of the lads without and having to use water, “ducks hair oil”, to flatten his locks. Nothing was said but the next night they were going to the dance they set a trap for him. One of the lads peed into the bottle and left it on the shelf.  As usual the neighbour grabbed the bottle and gave himself a liberal dose. Off they went to the dance but as the night wore on and the heat rose the smell from the hair got worse. He didn’t get too many dances that night. In those days all the girls gathered at one side of the hall and the boys at the other. When the next dance was announced the boys crossed the floor to ask one of the girls to dance. It could be a bit embarrassing if the girl refused for some reason but we got cute after a while and would usually have asked  for the next dance before the announcement. Even though some couples were “doing a line” they would dance with other people as well and they always came to the dance on their own. Money was scarce at the time so it was hard enough to get the price of the dance for one never mind for two. Some girls were in great demand because of their dancing abilities while others were difficult to steer around the floor but we had all night long to dance with different partners. If you were attracted to somebody you might ask the for two dances in a row and then invite them to have a “mineral” from the bar – no alcohol at the dances in those days. If they came for the drink you were sure of seeing them after the dance for a kiss and a cuddle before cycling home. Things were very simple back then but the excitement of going to the dance kept us going all the following week. The dance hall was where most of us met our future partners and we will always have great memories of those nights.

Fair play to all the volunteers who scoured the roads of the parish on Good Friday picking up litter which had built up over time. There was a staggering amount of stuff bagged and left for collection. I highlighted one road a few weeks ago where there was an extraordinary amount of litter strewn but I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw what was actually found there.  Every kind of packaging, bottles, cans, electrical equipment, a mattress, car wheels, furniture and even an old toilet!  – unbelievable. A great job done but I’m afraid it will be as bad as ever in no time if people don’t change their habits. Keep an eye out and don’t hesitate to report anybody you see dumping stuff, no matter how small it is. Our countryside is beautiful, let’s keep it that way.

Have we become too PC altogether?  You’d need to be very careful about what you would say nowadays in case you would offend some section of the community. Comedy was one area where different nationalities and walks of life were sent up. You had the drunken Irish, the mean Scots the stupid Poles, the loud Americans etc and even locally we had Kerryman jokes. Most of us just took them for what they were, jokes, and were not too bothered but you couldn’t do it today. There is a campaign for the banning of some TV programmes of yesterday from being aired because some people may find them offensive. These includes programmes such as Faulty Towers, one of the funnies ever made. It was a product of its time, a time when we could also smoke in bars, restaurants and aircrafts. At the time there was a programme , featuring Peter Sellers called “Paki Paddy”. It was about a Pakistani who was pretending to be an Irishman and you can imagine how both nationalities were made fun of but, that’s the thing, it was just fun. I say leave them alone and let us enjoy some of the best comedy the world has ever produced.

On similar lines I was amazed to hear somebody on the radio lately saying that it was time the Kerryman changed its name. Should it be the “Kerryperson” ? What utter rubbish and I had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn’t  April 1st. That however is the way things are going and we soon will not be able to open our mouths at all.