By Tom Aherne

Welcome back to your church from Monday April 10, all mass ceremonies will be open to the public. Due to Covid 19 restrictions the numbers in attendance  at Mass is limited to 50 at each gathering. If it is possible  for you to attend  a day mass  in lieu of the weekend mass (Saturday/Sunday) please do so, in order to facilitate people who are working during the week and therefore can only attend at the weekend. Thank you for your patience and understanding at this time.

The Ardagh/Carrigkerry sacristan’s collection will be held on Saturday/Sunday, May 15/16. Both Bernard and Mary have done great work keeping both churches ship shape over the past year, with all the extra work involved due to Covid-19 guidelines.

Sympathy is extended to Theresa and Cathal O’Sullivan and family, Carrigkerry on the death of Theresa’s father Denis (Dinny) O’Sullivan, Ballintubrid, Newcastle West on Monday, May 3, peacefully at his residence surrounded by his loving family. Predeceased by his wife Mary, parents Con and Josie and sister Eileen. A private Funeral Mass was celebrated in Monagea Church on Wednesday, May 5, followed by burial in Monagea cemetery.  He is survived by his daughters, Theresa and Julianne, sons-in-law Cathal and Mike, sister Mary, brother Paddy. Grandchildren Criona, Conor, Donagh, Daniel and Molly. brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces and a large circle of friends and neighbours. May he rest in Peace.

The Old Mill Ladies football club are holding a fundraising  clothes collection on Saturday, June 5. Reusable clean clothes, shoes in pairs, belts, handbags only. No duvets, sheets/towels. More details from Moira McEnery at 086-8110634.

The good news for primary school students is that the annual Kellogg’s GAA Cul Camps will be held again this year in line with all the government guidelines, from June 28 to August 27. For all the details on the Kellogg’s Cúl Camps see

The Ardagh Development Association and Saint Kieran’s GAA joint weekly lottery draw took place on Monday, May 3. The numbers drawn were 10,12,25, and 26, and there was no winner of the €5,500 Jackpot. Congratulations  to the five lucky dip winners who received €40 each: Nicky Kelly, Duncaha, Kate Ambrose,  Liskilleen, Jim Geaney, c/o Josie, Geraldine O’Keeffe c/o Timmy Madigan and Eddie O’Mahony, Churchtown, Newcastle West. Next Monday night’s jackpot will  be €5,600. People can play online using club force on the club’s Facebook page, with 6pm on Monday evening the deadline. The tickets are also on sale at the usual outlets, and all support will be appreciated.

Creeves Celtic held their split the pot draw on Monday, May 3. Congratulations to Shane Scanlon  who won €110 The weekly entry fee is €2, with €1 going to the club and the other €1 to be paid out in prize money each week. The envelopes to place your two euro in plus details, are available at  Hanley’s Food Store Creeves,  and from committee members.  People can also sign up by standing order for €9 per month. The  draws will be held on Monday nights, and all support will be appreciated.

The next West Limerick 102fm draw will be held on Friday, May 14, at 12.45 pm on the Exchange show. The tickets cost €2, and they are available from volunteers, in local shops, (including Moloney’s Carrigkerry, and Denis Greaney’s Shop Ardagh) or from the radio station. All support will be appreciated as finances are tight due to lack of fundraising. The radio station is off limits to members of the public at present, with only volunteers allowed access. When restrictions are lifted all will be very welcome to visit and get involved in programming. A number of exciting new programmes are in the pipeline for later in the year. The station can be contacted at 069-66200 if people have news of interest to the West Limerick area

Wednesday, May 12 is the one hundred anniversary of the shooting of three young men at Gortnaglanna near Knockanure  in North Kerry. The brutal execution of Flying Column fighters Paddy Dalton,  Jerry Lyons and Paddy Walsh by the Black and Tans is still recalled and spoken about. A number of ballads were written about the event which helped to keep the incident fresh in the minds of people, and plans were in place to mark the centenary, but had to be postponed  due to Covid restrictions.

West Limerick was associated with the atrocity because Paddy Dalton was from Athea  a few miles from the Kerry border. Growing up we heard the older generation speak and discuss this terrible incident from the dark days of our history. Relations of Paddy Dalton lived around my locality which created more interest about it each May when commemorations were held at the roadside monument. Today  May, 12, let us join with them in remembering the great sacrifice he made for Irish freedom.

Recently I came across the following piece  about a Rooska West man in a local newspaper from 1988, which I would like to share. The death has taken place of Jeremiah  Murphy recently in New York at the great age of 101. He was the son of Patrick and Johanna, and he had received his education  from  the famous teacher William Danaher at Clash School in Athea. He worked as a farm labourer with Paddy William Flanagan from Killoughteen, Newcastle West after leaving school.

In time he decided to emigrate to the USA and was due to sail on the ill-fated Titanic on its maiden voyage.  After his nephew Maurice Greaney suggested to him to postpone his sailing until a later date, fortunately Jeremiah did that and had a great escape, as the ship hit an iceberg on the night of April 14/15, 1912, with approximately 1,500 people drowned. One of those who died  in the disaster was  Maurice O’Connor of Ballyloughane, Carrigkerry.

Jeremiah later sailed in a ship  of the Cunard Line, and he worked in the New York Fire Department. He married Catherine McCarthy, formerly  of Sugarhill, Templeglantine, and they had five children, three girls and two boys. Two of the girls entered the convent in New York and were professed as nuns. During his 76 years in New York Jeremiah paid one visit home in the early  1960s. He is survived  by his five children who all live in New York. Jeremiah was an uncle to the well known and very popular Paddy Murphy, and Nell King who live in Rooska West. Since then both Paddy and Nell have also departed this life and may they all rest in Peace.

Con Colbert Remembered       By Tom Aherne

CON COLBERT was shot on May 8, 1916 for his part in the fight for Irish freedom. Last week we brought his story up to the night before his death. David Smith wrote the following lines about Con’s last night, before his execution.

Con Colbert’s Farewell

Farewell my lovely Moanlena, I’ll not see you more,

Farewell to Athea also, Where I lived in days of yore,

My Bible to my sister I leave, my comfort through the years,

Do not sigh or do not weep, for the Lord will wipe away all tears,

Do not visit me, in this place, it would grieve us both to touch,

For I pass away at dawn of day for a cause I loved so much,

These three buttons I also leave, from my uniform-worn proud,

For I have nothing else to give, and await my funeral shroud,

When you hear the awful shots, around the heavens roll,

Say ‘An Ave’ for my comrade’s dear, and their departed souls.

The British soldier who was ordered to pinion him, asked for the privilege of shaking his hand. Together with Michael Mallon, Sean Huston, and Eamon Ceannt, Con was shot in Kilmainham Gaol at daybreak on May 8, 1916 and buried in quicklime in a mass grave in Arbour Hill Prison.

Such was the noble, and dignified death of the brave young Volunteer from West Limerick, who died as he lived, a soldier and a saint. Con had his own definite opinion as to where his duty lay- to God and to his country. He went that way regardless of censure, no matter what the source, and so he lived and died happily.

Around the heart fires in the homes among his native hills and valleys, of Athea they still speak of Con with love and reverence, and the passing years have but helped to mellow the honour and respect with which his name is spoken. Colbert Street, and the Community Centre, is named after him.

The people of Athea erected a beautiful hall in his memory which was officially opened by President Erskine Childers on January 20, 1974. His name over the door and the tricolour flying high ensures that he will never be forgotten, for the part he played in Ireland’s fight for freedom.

A plaque was erected on the gable wall of the farmhouse, where he was born at Moanlena, the inscription reads,

Hero and Martyr enrol his name in a scroll of fame, in letters of Purest Gold.

A monument dedicated to the memory of Con Colbert, one of the executed leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, was unveiled beside the Con Colbert Hall Athea, on Saturday October 24, 2015. The unveiling was performed by his great-niece Aide Colbert Lennon, who traced the Colbert family history around Athea, during her address. Aileen Dillane was the MC, and the event was organised by West Limerick Republican Monument Committee. A good crowd was in attendance, and the afternoon was dry apart from a few light showers.

The location of the Plaque was amongst the trees and placed on the elevated pathway wall. The special guest speaker was Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, who praised Con’s involvement in the Easter Rising, and spoke about the current position in Northern Ireland. A highlight was Johnny Mullane’s song about Con and Athea. Short extracts from his final letters to relatives were also read out. A lovely exhibition compiled by the children was on display in the Hall, and refreshments were provided there also.

Con Colbert is still associated with Limerick Railway Station, and a new book was  published about him by John O’Callaghan. That year Con was very much in the limelight as Ireland marked the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. A full limestone statue of Con, crafted by O’Connor’s, was unveiled at the gable wall in Moanlena, by Mayor of Limerick Liam Galvin, and by his granduncle Con Colbert on Sunday May 8. The oration was delivered by John O’Callaghan, historian and author of the book about Con.

A bronze bust of Con, crafted by Jarleth Daly was unveiled by his granduncle Con Colbert in Athea village on Sunday September 25, 2015. The oration was delivered by widely known Timmy Woulfe. It was part of a Commemoration Weekend and a lot of events were held to mark the centenary of his death. I will conclude with a few lines I put together about a man whose favourite phrase was for my God and my country.


For the way you loved your fellow man

For the way you fought and never ran

For the way you fought away all crime

And stood on guard all the time.

For all your deeds so gallant and brave

For the way you loved and the way you gave

For the way you walked in the light of God

And prayed each day to our almighty Lord.

Every Limerick man will remember you

For all the brave deeds you did do

When you died all Limerick was sad

For you were the bravest soldier we ever had.

Five years later on May 12, 1921 another Athea man Paddy Dalton was shot by the Black and Tans at Gortnaglanna. Paddy Dalton was born on February 23, 1986 in Coole Athea, son of Michael and Hanora White.  He was educated locally and went into employment  as a hardware assistant in Listowel. Paddy became  a member of the North Kerry Brigade of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and participated during the  War of Independence (1919–1921).

The most famous ballad of the events is Bryan Mac Mahon’s “The Valley of Knockanure”, written in 1946. In memory of Jeremiah Lyons, Patrick Dalton and Patrick Walsh, murdered by Crown Forces at Gortnaglanna, Co. Kerry on  May 12, 1921.

There was Walsh and Lyons and Dalton, boys, they were young and, in their pride,
In every house in every town they were always side by side,
The Republic bold they did uphold though outlawed on the moor,
And side by side they bravely died in the Valley of Knockanure.

The film titled “The Gortnaglanna Tragedy”  by Leo Finucane was shown in the Con Colbert Hall Athea on November 9, 1979, and at other parish halls around the locality. Captain Paddy Dalton’s name is kept alive in Athea  with the naming of Daltons Terrace on May 16, 1971 on the 50th anniversary commemorations a plaque was placed on the corner house. Another  film about the events was made in 2009, and a couple of books have been written  recently to mark the 100 anniversary which is today.