The newly painted Footbridge looking splendid

Athea Tidy Towns

We are delighted to share with you all the finished painted Footbridge which was opened to the public on Monday morning last. Following a public vote a number of months ago, the Athea Maroon Colour proved the most popular choice. A wonderful new splash of colour for our village, allowing us to fully appreciate it’s beauty over the River Gale. This project was funded by the Town and Village Renewal Scheme through Limerick City & County Council, and part funded and fully supported by our local Councillors John Sheahan, Liam Galvin, Francis Foley and Michael Collins. Athea Community Council together with Athea Tidy Towns have also allocated some funds. We are hopeful to carry out some repair works to the lighting over the coming weeks. This project presented many challenges, but thanks to the help and expert advice from Paul Curry, we managed to execute the project. We were also delighted to be in a position to support a local business Scanlon Construction Ltd, Building & Civil Engineering Contractors, who were also the contractors who originally erected the bridge. Many thanks to Tim for all his help and guidance throughout the project. Thanks to you, the public, for your patience and understanding over the last few weeks. Following the completion of the project, we are now working towards getting the bridge officially signed over to Limerick City and County Council who will then take on the maintenance works in the future. Finally, a word of mention for Athea Community Council for their vision and determination down through the years in securing a footbridge in Athea making our village a safer place for all.

Volunteer Wanted

Knockanure Meals on Wheels are looking for a volunteer driver to deliver a meal each day to three people in the Athea area. Two are in Markievicz Park and one in Upper Athea. For more information please contact this office at  068-42533 or 087 6758762


Readers:                                      Sat – Tom O’Keeffe

Sun – Tom Denihan

Eucharistic Ministers:              Sat – B Ahern

Sun – Mary Dalton

Mass Intentions:

Sun Oct 24th 10.30am:              Kit Liston (Month’s mind). Ann, Mary Agnus, Jack & Vincent Barrett.

Mon Oct 25th 2.00pm:   Memorial Mass for Nora Fitzgerald (formally of Keale, Athea & USA).

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

The Church is open daily for private prayer. If you wish to book an anniversary mass, a wedding or get a mass card signed please contact Siobhán on 087-2237858.

Baptismal Information Any parent who wishes to baptise their child must have the baptismal course completed – for further details please contact Theresa on 087 1513565. Next course date: Tues 9th November.

The Way I See It

By Domhnall de Barra

It was great to see people on the street in Athea on Sunday for the annual tractor run organised by Athea Vintage Club. There was something for all the family with a record entry in the main event. I wonder where all the tractors came from. I didn’t count them but I was a long time at the corner waiting for them all to pass by. The Trad Session after at the Top of the Town  was also well attended with plenty of musicians from the very young to old codgers like myself. It was a joy to be able to sit down and share a few tunes with musicians who hadn’t played together going on for two years. It was a lovely day so well done to the organising committee who did a super job.

A lot of notable people in the arts world passed away over the past week or so. First we heard of the death of Clare accordionist Tony McMahon who hosted a very successful programme called “The Long Note” on Radio 1 for many years and also did a TV series with the late Barney McKenna. Tony had a unique way of playing the box. It was very traditional and nobody could touch him when it came to playing slow airs. He would close his eyes and get totally absorbed in the music. His health wasn’t great for a while and the last programme he did was called “Slán le Cheoil” in which he lamented the fact  that he was no longer able to play the box as good as he would like. He leaves behind a great store of recording, none better that an album he made with concertina player and fellow Clare man Noel Hill. It is the best music for set dancing I have ever heard . May he rest in peace.

Next came the news that Paddy Moloney, piper supreme and leader of The Chieftans, had gone to his eternal reward. Paddy came to prominence when he was a member of Seán O’Riada’s group “Ceoltóirí Cualainn”.  Seán wanted to present traditional music in a new way while still staying true to the tradition. He paved the way for the many groups who followed on, none more famous than The Chieftans.  As the front man of the group Paddy was superb. He had a great way about him and endeared himself to all who met him. He succeeded in bringing Irish traditional music to the international stage and some of the most famous artists in the world performed with the group and made many recordings. He took the group to China and made an album on the Great Wall. He brought back a little Chinese folk tune that could be played on the whistle and I learned it from him. Some years later I was part of a small group of traditional musicians that was sent to China by the Dept of Foreign affairs in conjunction with a trade delegation. We got to play on the Great Wall at the same place where The Chieftains made their recording. One Sunday morning we were taken to a small square in Beijing where traditional Chinese musicians gather and play. It was like a Fleadh Cheoil with music every where and when they saw we had instruments we were asked to play and after a few selections I took out the tin whistle and played the tune I had got from Paddy’s playing. At once you could see the eyes light up and some shouted “Chieftans, Paddy Moloney” before joining in. Soon there were about fifty musicians playing away with me and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  That is how well known Paddy was and how he made it easier for the rest of us to communicate musically with other cultures of the world. It was also lovely to hear the piping of our own Louise Mulcahy of Abbeyfeale, when she played in the background as tributes were paid to Paddy on TV. Louise is a daughter of Mick Mulcahy who was learning the box at the same time as me  many moons ago. There were only two of us in the area then, look how many there are now!

Brendan Kennelly, the renowned poet from Ballylongford who spent most of his life as a professor in Trinity College, Dublin, also passed away over the weekend. Brendan was a genius but one of the nicest, most down to earth people you could meet. He said one time that if he had any airs and graces they would quickly be knocked out of him when he went home and helped in the family pub. One time, a wily old farmer was in the bar and said to Brendan “what are you at now?”  Brendan said he was teaching English to which your man replied “that would suit you alright, a fine soft job” and turned away.  Brendan loved Kerry and Dublin as well and he left many books of poetry and prose. The last time I met him was in Lystoll nursing home when myself and Noreen were visiting my aunt Mary. As we were coming out Noreen spotted Brendan in a sitting room so we went in to say hello Alas, Alzheimers had set in but he remembered Athea though and regaled all those in the room with a few verses of that comical song “The Road to Athea”. He was very happy and had that renowned twinkle in his eye. He has left a rich legacy that will be invaluable to future generations  He will be sadly missed but always remembered with great affection as somebody who left a huge footprint on the cultural landscape.

Bridie’s Book of Gems Launched

Bridie Murphy from Glenastar, Ardagh launched her first book ‘Connections’ at Carrigkerry Community Centre on Sunday, October 17, before a very appreciative  attendance. Bridie, a retired teacher, is known far and wide for her photography and now this talented lady has used her time during Covid to compile a selection of her poems, articles and photographs in book form. Gerard Liston was MC and he read one of the poems from the book and  told a story about the glitter ball. Traditional music was provided by Donal O’Sullivan, Diarmuid O’Brien and Mike Murphy. Frances Kennedy told some funny stories about Bridie and Stephen in her own humorous way. Jeremy Murphy from the publishing company paid tribute to Bridie and looked forward to working with her again.

Bridie’s son, Stephen, read out a poem by her other son Kevin who was unable to attend  telling the family story of the progress of the book. Seamus O’Rourke, Leitrim,  author of Standing In Gaps  and many funny rural stories came all the way to  perform the launch.  He told two of his own stories including the drawer and paid tribute to Bridie’s work before declaring it launched. Bridie read two of her poems and thanked all who helped to bring it to fruition. The book is available from Bridie and from  local shops and is an ideal  read. The proceeds from the book will go to Temple Street Children’s Hospital and the Irish Air Ambulance.