Helen Barry & helpers from Batts Bar

Athea Tidy Towns

A huge thanks to everyone who came out on Good Friday to take part in the Team Limerick Clean up. We had over 90 people out covering all corners of the parish in a day of glorious sunshine. Litter was picked as far as ‘the bad bends’ in Carrigkerry, as far as Healys Forge on the road to Abbeyfeale and as far as the shop in Knockdown! Bags were collected throughout the day by Henry Moran & Damien Ahern in a van that was kindly provided by Adams of Glin which helped us greatly on the day.

Refreshments were also kindly sponsored by Paul Collins at Collins Shop. Councillor John Sheahan also came to our rescue by delivering some extra litter pickers which were in short supply. We lost count of the amount of bags collected and the skip we had ordered was full in no time! Unfortunately it is a constant battle to keep our roadsides free from litter – we live in hope that someday attitudes may change. Thanks also to Maura Keane for mobilising the Cratloe Community Alert Group.

Huge thanks to everyone for volunteering their time on Good Friday and finally, a special mention to the many volunteers throughout the parish who keep their ‘own patch’ litter free by conducting litter pick ups regularly throughout the year. Your support throughout the year is very much appreciated.

Our committee is now out of hibernation (yipeeeee) and have started back with socially distant Thursday evening cleanups as of last Thursday. On the agenda last week was maintenance at the River Walk, Rose Bed and Wildflower Meadow. A new surface at the entrance to the River Walk will be laid in the coming days which will then allow us to remove the gate at the entrance and open up this area to the public. We have also received delivery of two benches for this area which have been kindly sponsored by two generous families in the area.

The Flower Pole which was damaged last year has also been removed to be repaired and will be returned to the front of Mullanes in preparation for our hanging baskets, which we will be busy taking care of in another few weeks.

The Flower Pole which was damaged last year has also been removed to be repaired and will be returned to the front of Mullanes in preparation for our hanging baskets, which we will be busy taking care of in another few weeks.

We are always looking for help and support with projects so If anyone would be interested in joining us and contributing towards our work on Thursday evenings from 6.30pm – 8.30pm please call 087 9042477.

We also continue to work with Limerick City & County Council in arranging for the repainting of the footbridge which is requiring some maintenance since its installation in 2005. This project is proving hugely expensive due to the large scale operation required.

Finally a huge thank you to Michael & Madonna Lambert (nee Collins) for their very kind donation which we received in the post recently. Your contribution and thoughtfulness is very much appreciated.

St. Bartholomew’s Church, Athea

Mass Intentions next weekend

Sunday April 25th 10.30am     Eileen Brosnan (4th Anniversary).

Nora Barrett (Rooskagh)

Ellie & Bob Scanlon (Knocknagorna).

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 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.

Thank You

Fr Duggan wishes to thank those who contributed to his Easter Dues collection recently and also those who contributed to the Trocaire collection and the weekly offertory collection over the past few weeks. Your generosity to the parish is appreciated and we are grateful for your continued support.

The Way I See It

By Domhnall de Barra

The Church Gate collection has been  one of the best ways of collecting money from the public to fund charities, sports clubs, community based organisations, political parties and many more. There was hardly a Sunday in the year when there wasn’t a collection at the gate so people going to Mass were prepared for it and put a few extra bob in their pocket to contribute. Athea, in particular, was a great place for collections with every worthy cause being supported generously. This has all changed with the pandemic and there have been no collections for over a year with the churches closed to the public. This has created problems for many clubs and organisations who depended heavily on that income. It has also affected the church collections themselves. Moneys collected at Mass go to the dioceses to help pay a salary to the local priest and the upkeep of the church buildings. With dwindling returns there is a real danger that we may lose the church in Athea altogether. Fr. Duggan may very well be the last priest we get and people may have to travel to Newcastle West or Abbeyfeale to get Mass and the Sacraments. Even before the pandemic hit there was a marked decline in the number of people attending Mass on a weekly basis so, if Covid had never come, the church would be in trouble as would all the clubs and organisations who took up annual collections at the gate. Only a fraction of the people in the parish are supporting the weekly collection so there will be no point in complaining once the horse has bolted and the stable door closed. There are many Catholics out there who do not attend Mass but would like to keep the parish alive. There are also those who go to Mass in neighbouring parishes, for various reasons and that revenue is also lost. It is as simple as this. If we want to keep the church in Athea we have to support it financially as we used to do down through the years. The people of the parish have never been found wanting when it came to such support. They rallied round when the building had to be renovated and paid for it all in no time. I’m sure that we will  do so again so, have a look for the envelopes that are hiding somewhere in the house and give a little every week  if you can afford it. There is also the fact that there is a shortage of priests today. Vocations are down and the few that are left are having to take on bigger workloads covering more than one parish. Unless there is a change in policy and women and married men  are allowed to be ordained into the priesthood we are in trouble. It is only 100 years ago that women got the right to vote. They have broken many glass ceilings since but the Catholic Church fails to recognise them as equals. To be honest, if I was in trouble I would far prefer to seek help from a woman rather than another man. It is time for change, a change that might very well be the saving of the church.

It is not that long ago when churches were full to overflowing for several Masses at the weekend. The vast majority of the public attended Mass, a weekly ritual that gave them the opportunity to dress in their “Sunday best” and meet the neighbours as well. It was a great opportunity for women to do a bit of shopping or for the men to have a quiet pint while waiting for them. When the missioners came to town the church would be crowded for the week or however long they stayed. There was always at least two and they would play good cop / bad cop. One would be jovial, all smiles and soft spoken and usually led the singing. The other would have a very different demeanour, scowling at the congregation promising hellfire and damnation for us all if we didn’t change our ways. He usually had a loud, booming voice that rose in pitch as he warmed to his sermon. His job was to frighten the life out of us and in many cases he succeeded. There is the story told of a missioner who was giving a very harsh sermon one night saying at one point that everyone in the parish was damned. Heads were bowed except for one woman near the front who continued to smile. This annoyed him so he made it his business to meet the woman at the end of the service asking her why she was smiling while others were covering their faces. She replied:  “You said every one in this parish was damned but sure I’m not from this parish at all”   There was a service every night of the week with a different topic each night. On one occasion it was announced that the following night’s sermon would be devoted to company keeping and sexual relations. An elderly couple were going home in their trap afterwards and were discussing the mission.  The wife said to the husband: “do you know them sexual relations –  do we have any of them?”. The husband thought for a moment and then said: “ by gor, if we have, I didn’t see any of them at your mother’s funeral”.  On a more serious note I witnessed a happening in the church in Abbeyfeale when a missioner called on men who were standing at the back to come up the aisle and take the seats that were available. They were reluctant at first but he kept at them until one broke the ice and then they all complied except for one man. He was a very shy individual who couldn’t bear the thought of being the centre of attention as he walked up the aisle so he turned to leave the building. The priest roared at him that if he left he would be damned but it was too late and he was gone. It affected him badly afterwards. Some of the neighbours shunned him and it got so bad that he ended his days in the mental institution in Killarney. I often wonder what they were trying to achieve with all the negative comments they made. At that time people were not rich. Money was scarce and it was difficult at times to make ends meet. People were made to feel guilty for the smallest transgression which did nothing for their mental wellbeing. I sometimes think they did more harm than good and that kind of behaviour would not be tolerated today.

In last week’s edition I wrote that the reference in an article on the spread of the Covid virus relating to an employer who did not obey the rules had nothing to do with Enright Kitchens. It had nothing to do with Brouder’s Garage either so there is no point in idle speculation where two and two do not always make four. It is time to put it all behind us now and move on.