Gortaglanna Commemorations

Sadly commemorations planned to mark the centenary of the deaths of Volunteers in North Kerry in the War of Independence have to be postponed due to Covid restrictions. The monuments erected by the North Kerry Republican Soldiers committee many years ago had been done up by the present committee for the occasion.

Instead we are asked to light a candle and place it in the window in our homes on the anniversary of the Gortaglanna atrocity on May 12th at 9pm.The monument will be lit up all during the night.

The book and C.D.—Rhyming History the Irish War of Independence and the ballads of atrocity in The Valleys of Knockanure by poet and writer Gabriel Fitzmaurice is in the local shops.

Another book called—When Freedom’s Sword was Drawn – The Troubled Times in North Kerry by Martin Moore is also on sale.

Thanks to John Hunt for identifying the young dancers in last week’s edition.

The picture  of the dancers in the front of the parish newsletter are – from left to right, James hunt 2nd year, Abbeyfeale, TJ Hunt 5th year, Abbeyfeale,  Sarah O Brien, (Hunt cousin) leaving cert, Abbeyfeale and Ciara Hunt, applied languages in UL, currently studying in Barcelona.

I think you organised this night to celebrate  Irish music and dance

St. Bartholomew’s Church, Athea

We offer our sincere sympathy to the family of Patrick Dalton, Gortnagross whose funeral took place on Saturday. We also offer our sympathy to the family of Dick Woulfe whose funeral took place on Monday and to the family of Noreen Horgan whose funeral will take place next Thursday at 12 noon. May their gentle souls Rest in Peace.

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


Churches Open on the 10th of May

We are delighted with the news that from Monday 10th May churches and places of worship will be open for people to attend Mass or other religious ceremonies. Our first Mass open to the public will be on Friday May 14th at 7.30p.m. More on this next week.

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.

The Way I See It

By Domhnall de Barra

If you like Irish traditional music and song, and I think most of you out there do, tune into Fleadh by the Feale on YouTube, if you haven’t done so already, and pick from the concerts on Saturday night, Sunday night and the bone competition on Monday. Because of the present restrictions the organisers did the whole programme on line and did a fine job of it too. I was privileged to be part of the concert on Saturday night and, though I looked forward to seeing it, I dreaded watching myself on screen and especially hearing my own voice. The rest of the concert was brilliant as was the one on Sunday night with the best of local talent plus many from outside the area on show. For me personally, it was great to be part of it but I got far more satisfaction from watching many of my former pupils and their children give such great professional performances. There are few areas in the country that have so many fantastic traditional musicians as the West Limerick region. It is a far cry from the times when I started teaching music in the early 70s when you could count the young musicians on the fingers of one hand but, thanks to Comhaltas and people like Tadhg O’Maolcatha from Templeglantine, the classes paid off and now we have an abundance of riches in musical talent. One of the singers in the concert was Ely May Dwyer from West Cork who has connections in Athea through the Quille family. She was the singing tutor at the fleadh and sang one of my favourite songs, The Land of the Gael, which was written by the late Gary McMahon from Listowel. This song tells the story of a man who is in New York but longs to be back home in his native West Kerry Gaeltacht.  I get quite emotional when I hear it because it reminds me of men I knew in England and America. One part of the song goes: “Its fifty long years since I left there, a young fellow still in my ‘teens. Do you ever go back there you ask me, I go back every night in my dreams”. Some of the men I knew did just that – emigrated in their ‘teens because there was no employment in Ireland  and fell in with the gangs working on the roads and the buildings. They found  digs where they were sharing a room in a private house so there was no place to go at night except to the pub. They soon got into the habit of drinking and, as it is addictive to some, they never really got to break the habit. The pub was the centre of everything, even the weekly wage was paid by the subcontractors at the counter. Because they worked a week in hand they had to get a sub each Monday and they never got out of debt. Some of these men ended up in hostels run by charities like the Salvation Army, pining for their homes in Ireland. Alas most of them never saw their homes again. Another performer in the concert was banjo player Gearóid Keating who did a duet with his wife, concertina player Mairéad Corridan. Gearóid is a grandson of Mick “the Junior” Dalton from Knocknagorna. Mick’s mother was a famous concertina player who featured on Radio Éireann before any of us so it is no wonder that Gearóid inherited the talent. As they say “briseann an dúchas…..” Any way I hope you enjoy the virtual festival.

The forced resignation of Arlene Foster as leader of the DUP in the North has thrown the cat among the pigeons. When chosen to lead, she was perceived to be a hard liner who would not give an inch to Sinn Fein but, like many leaders before, she had to soften her approach in the real political world.  Her enemies did not come from outside but from within her own party who now want to go back to the politics of “no surrender” espoused by their founder Ian Paisley. The DUP split the Unionists and now they are splitting themselves. It is not a good time for Unionists. They feel betrayed by Boris Johnson who used them when he needed them but turned his back on them as soon as they weren’t of use to him any more. They can see that the nationalist population is growing at a far greater degree than theirs and it is almost certain that Sinn Fein will be the largest party in the next election.  Their next leader will probably be a hard-liner and if it is Edwin Poots, the front runner, God help us. This man really believes that, despite all the evidence, the world was created just 6,000 years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if he also believed that the earth is flat!. If the party moves too much to the right they will lose the support of the middle ground and the prospect of a border poll will be all the more realistic. They call themselves Loyalists but the truth is the vast majority of the British public couldn’t give a damn about the North of Ireland. There is a real danger of a return to violence if the fundamentalists get their way and nobody in their right mind wants that. The welfare of the people of the North should be the priority of the politicians, not what background or religious persuasion those people come from. Each side teaches their children to hate  and mistrust those of a different persuasion. It is easy to become indoctrinated when young. At school, one of our teachers was very republican and we learned to love Ireland and hate England. All our songs were rebel songs like The Bold Fenian Men, Step Together and  The Foggy Dew. We were made aware of all the atrocities committed against the gallant Irish rebels. We were ready to die for Ireland against the brutal English and would have joined a movement like the Hitler Youth if it existed. I got a big surprise when I first went to England to find out that, far from being brutes, they were a very decent race of people. The working class in England suffered at the hands of the aristocracy just  as much as we did. Whoever leads the DUP will have to deal with reality and not retreat into the past. Because of Brexit there has to be a border somewhere and it is unthinkable that it will return as before dividing North and South. Politicians have to come up with solutions that will win the support of both sides. It is a time for those with vision, tolerance and common sense to come to the fore. We just cannot go back to the past with the bombings, shootings and general mayhem that tore this country apart for so many years.

Darkness into Light

2021:  You can join us at Sunrise – Saturday, May 8.

Sadly this year again we can’t come together as a community and walk together, but we can still join Pieta and Electric Ireland for a special Darkness Into Light sunrise, and give the gift of hope to those impacted by suicide and self-harm.

T-shirts are available this year as part of the registration, but if you have an old Darkness into Light t-shirt we would love if you could reuse it. This keeps our running costs down and is kinder to our planet.

Cratloe/Keale/Coole West Community Alert are organising a walk along the Keale Rd. from Knocknaboul. Contact Maura Keane @ 087-7934796 for details.