Archive for December, 2021

News – 22/12/21


To all our readers, columnists, advertisers, contributors and the shops who sell the newsletter free of charge. May the coming year bring you all you desire.

The first publication of the New Year will be on Tuesday January 11th.

A happy group who made Santa’s nice list when he
visited Páirc na nGael

Graveyard’s Collection

The Envelopes for the Athea Graveyards Collection are being distributed this week. Envelopes can be dropped in to the Community Council Office or to the Collection Box at the Credit Union.

Athea Credit Union

The Credit Union will close on Thursday, December 23rd at 8.30pm and will reopen on Wednesday, January 5th.

We would like to wish all our members a Healthy and Happy Christmas and look forward to serving your financial needs in 2022

Church Notices

Christmas Masses

Christmas Eve, Friday Dec 24th: 4pm, 6pm and 8pm.

Christmas Day, Saturday Dec 25th: 9am and 10.30am.

St. Stephen’s Day, Sunday, Dec 26th 10.30am.


Under current Covid 19 guidelines religious services are restricted to 50% capacity (with all other protective measures remaining in place i.e., mask wearing, hand sanitising, social distancing etc). If you are attending Christmas Eve Masses and Christmas Day Masses please book in advance and indicate the number in your group by emailing the parish office at [email protected]

OR texting Siobhan on 087-2237858.

All masses are streamed live on

Christmas Mass Bouquet Cards are still available in the church.

Thank You and Happy Christmas

Sincere thank you to everyone who helped to keep things going during the year –  Wishing each and every parishioner, our webcam viewers and Lillian and Domhnall a very happy & peaceful Christmas .

The Way I See It

By Domhnall de Barra

I can’t believe we have reached Christmas time again as it seems like only yesterday that I was getting used to writing “2021” on cheques. It is true what they say that the years get shorter as you grow older. When I was young a year was a long time passing, especially towards the end when I was counting the days until Santa Claus arrived. Mind you Christmas was a bit different back then. For a start there were no lights put up before Christmas Eve and there were few Christmas trees and, with no electricity, fairy lights didn’t exist. Decorations were limited all right but they were all symbolic. A turnip would be cut in half and a hole scooped out to hold the Christmas candle which would be placed in each window on Christmas Eve. This “Christmas candle” was a welcome to the baby Jesus and a guiding light to all visitors. It was the custom to leave the door open on this night so that nobody would be left out in the cold. Red berry holly and ivy were placed around the walls as a decoration and that was it except if a parcel came from America containing “streamers”, coloured streams of paper folded like a concertina that would open to stretch from one side of the ceiling to the other. I well remember our first time having a tree. We had great fun decorating it with baubles, shiny, tinsely pieces that glowed in the light of the fire. We were delighted with it and it got better every year with the advent of the ESB and the Christmas lights. The excitement on Christmas Eve was evident in all the children of the house who were too wound up to fall asleep and afraid to be awake when Santa came because we were told that if we were, he would not stop at all. Of course, children being children, we did fall asleep but we were up at cock crow, racing down the stairs to see what presents we got. There was usually an apple and an orange and some small toy. Fruit was a bit of a luxury in those days as the only time you would get an apple was if you were bold enough to “rob” a neighbour’s orchard in the fall of the year. Oranges were seldom seen so we were delighted with them.

The toys varied but in general the girls got rag dolls and the boys got guns. We were really into guns in those days due to the cowboy comics we managed to get a look at now and again and the films we saw when the travelling cinema came to Cratloe creamery. There were two very popular types of film; comedies and westerns, all in black and white until “technicolour” arrived. All our cowboy heroes wore guns and rode their horses at breakneck speed shooting the bad guys or the Indians with unerring accuracy. When we got our little imitation guns we became those stars of the screen imitating the actions of Roy Rodgers or Hopalong Cassidy racing around the field on our imaginary horses. One of the guns I got held a roll of “caps”. These were fed through so that they came under the hammer as the trigger was pulled making an explosive noise like the real thing. I was fascinated with that but of course they didn’t last long and there was no replacement. It never entered our heads that we were killing or injuring people; it was all just great fun. Another item that might be in our stocking was a “lucky bag”. This was full of little treats and small little toys usually made out of cardboard as plastic had yet to make its presence felt. By today’s standards these were meagre gifts but to us they were magical and we got endless hours of fun out of them. As the years went on, and people got a bit more money, the presents became more expensive but somehow they could never compete with simple things that gave us so much joy.

Christmas was very focused on  religion in those days. We always went to early Mass, reluctantly leaving our toys for a while, and there was a great festive feeling about it. The crib in the church was the main focus of attention and we knelt before it looking at the baby Jesus in the manger in awe. Everyone was in a great mood and wished each other a happy Christmas.  We usually got new clothes around Christmas and were very proud wearing our best, even if they were a size too big for us so that we would “grow into them”.  I remember one Christmas morning in particular when my brother and I got two hurleys and a sponge ball from Santa. We couldn’t wait until Mass was over and we got home to try them out. As soon as the lorry we were travelling in parked up at the house we got the hurleys, raced across the road to Phil’s field and began to hit the ball to each other. Suddenly there was an almighty roar from our mother, who was standing on the road with a sally rod in her hand, demanding that we come in immediately and take off our new clothes. It had been raining and the field was very mucky so the damage was done and we knew we were in for a few lashes of the rod as parents in those days didn’t believe in sparing it. It must have been the Christmas spirit because, although she reprimanded us, she put the rod back behind the picture where it usually rested and I thought I saw a little smile on her face. Yes, times have changed a lot, Christmas has become more commercial and has little to do with the celebration of the birth of Christ. Decorations are everywhere to be seen and are going up earlier and earlier and there are two ways of looking at it. One is to say that they take away from the actual festival by being there too long while the other view is that they brighten up a time of year that has the longest nights and shortens the winter for us. I love this time of year and look forward to visiting the grandkids on Christmas morning. I love the feeling of goodwill that exists and am only sorry that it cannot be continued throughout the year.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all readers of this newsletter a Happy and Holy Christmas and a Bright and Prosperous New Year.

“Go mbeirimid beo ar an am seo arís”




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Kathleens Corner – 22/12/21

by Kathlen Mullane


Can you believe it, it’s Christmas week wherever the past year has gone? Anyway firstly I want to take this opportunity to wish each and every one a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a peaceful happy and healthy new year, and to Domhnall and Lillian who continue each week in putting the newsletter together keeping everyone at home and abroad in touch with the happenings in ATHEA, and hopefully Santa will pay his usual visit on Friday night to all the eager little children in our parish. And hasn’t the new printer at Cairde Duchais made a great improvement to the quality of the coloured photos in the newsletter.

Well done to Pat Higgins who did a wonderful job of giving the sermon at Mass on Saturday night last. No doubt this will be the way forward for the future with fewer priests and many reaching retirement age..

If anyone, incidentally, would like to make a donation towards the church Webcam which enables people at home and abroad to watch  ceremonies from all over the world including mass, weddings and funeral’s they can do so by contacting [email protected]. It’s quite expensive to run each year so all help would be greatly appreciated.

Christmas can be a very stressful time of the year for many and bring many emotions which can be tough on families, partners, children and parents. We must all be there for each other and look out for those who may be on their own this Christmas, and who would love a card or a phone call to cheer them up. 


I’ll finish for 2021 with these lines: –

There’s something about Winter as the days draw to a close,

With curtains drawn, lamps all lit, turf fires and cosy toes.

There’s something about winter with warming winter dishes,

Soup with buttered  home made bread, fire gazing making wishes.

There’s something about winter when it’s full of Christmas cheer,

Present buying Midnight Mass, carols sung with families dear.

There’s something about winter cold winds and icy rain,

Then it loosens it’s Iron-Fist, and soon it’s SPRING again.




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By Carrig Side – 22/12/21

by Tom Aherne

The following are the arrangements for Christmas masses in the parish of Ardagh/Carrigkerry. The Christmas Eve Mass on Friday, December 24 will be celebrated in Ardagh Church at 6.30pm and in Carrigkerry Church at 8.30pm. The Christmas Day Mass, Saturday, December 25 will be celebrated  in Ardagh Church at 10am, and in Carrigkerry Church at 11.30am. St Stephen’s Day, Carrigkerry 11am and Ardagh 12.30pm. Confessions will be heard on Friday 24, (Christmas Eve) in Carrigkerry church at 12 noon and in Ardagh Church at 12.30pm.

The following are the arrangements for Christmas  masses in the parish of Coolcappa/Kilcolman. The Christmas Eve Mass  on Friday, December 24 will be celebrated in Coolcappa at 4pm, and 6pm and Kilcolman at 7.30pm. The Christmas Day Mass, Saturday 25 will be celebrated in Kilcolman at 10am, and  Coolcappa at 11am. St Stephen’s Day 26, Kilcolman 10am, Coolcappa 11am.

The recent Trócaire appeal in Ardagh/Carrigkerry parish raised €960, which will be forwarded to Trócaire. Thanks to all who contributed to the collection.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions the annual tradition of hunting the wren St. Stephen’s Day unfortunately will have to be curtailed for the second year in a row. However, the good news is the Carrigkerry Wrenboy Group, weather permitting, instead of their usual house to house visits have decided to perform outdoors at various locations on St. Stephen’s Day. Their opening performance will take place in Carrigkerry at 11.00 a.m. sharp, followed by Knockdown at approximately 12 noon. Kilcolman 1.00 p.m. Creeves Cross 2.15 p.m. Ardagh at 3.15 p.m. with a final performance in the Square, Newcastle West at approximately 4.15 p.m. Hopefully the weather will be favourable, and people will get the opportunity to visit one of these locations. 

The Charity Road Hurling competition run by St Kieran’s GAA club  will be held on Monday, December 27, if Covid-19 allows. It will commence from 11am at the Church car park and cover 4km through Skehanagh  bridge, Cahermoyle House and back to Ardagh. All funds raised on the day will be donated to two charities Milford Hospice Limerick and Temple Street Hospital Dublin.  It is a very enjoyable event for young and aged participants, and growing in popularity each year, and all support will be greatly appreciated.

Kilcolman Rovers soccer club are holding their family fun run/walk event on Tuesday, December 28, commencing at 12 noon from Ardagh community centre, Greenway car park. The same route as 2019 will be used and fees are €10 adult, €5, per child, €25 per family. Prizes will be awarded for the first three male and female runners and medals for all participants.

The Copse family, Glensharrold, Christmas Light’s display continues to attract visitors and will be open to the public (Covid restrictions apply) over the holidays. The charities to benefit this year will be Milford Hospice and Pieta House both based in Limerick City. The house can be located in Glensharrold, 2 miles from Carrigkerry village and 2 miles from the main Ardagh to Shanagolden road, turn off at Kilcolman cross. Eircode V94V6KC.

Jessie Meade, Kilcolman Rovers, was a member of the Desmond Under 13 Gaynor cup team that were defeated by  MGL South Dublin 3-0 in the final of the competition played  in UL on Sunday,  December 11. 

Christmas Wreaths for graves and door hangers are available locally and orders are being taken now. Contact Moira at 069 76256 Mobile No: 0862123560 Proceeds will go to charity.

On sale in the local shops are the 80 page Limerick Annual published by the Limerick Leader costing €4.00, and the 164 page Cork Holly Bough published by the Echo costing €5. The annual contains a look back at events over a year that we will never forget, with articles, photos, sport,  fondly remembered section, and eight pages of local community events (The Voice of the Village) which includes a feature on The Limerick Greenway. The Holly Bough contains the usual mix of seasonal fare relating to our neighbours in  County Cork.  It contains lovely articles, poems, photos, Crossword, Diffney Quiz, fashion, sports and children pages. Both come highly recommended for over the Christmas reading, and either would make a nice gift for that special magazine reading friend.

Ireland’s Own and Ireland’s Eye magazines have also published their Christmas Annuals which contains lots of seasonal reading. Old Moore’s Almanac 2022 €6 is a must buy for many of the elder generation involved in farming and rural activities. It contains the usual mix of the fairs, marts and horse fixtures around Ireland. Monthly Calendar, weather predictions, Eclipses, Sunrise and Sunsets, Hints and Tips, Crossword, Horoscope, gardening and lots more articles to enjoy. I also enjoyed reading Ger White’s poetry book Newspapers on the floor. She is the former Geraldine Faley, daughter of Paddy Faley, Glenbawn, Ballyhahill.

Hunting the wren may not be taking place again this year, due to the pandemic, and  people will be disappointed as it brings joy and enjoyment to so many households on Saint Stephen’s Day.  To fill the void and recall past year’s outings tune into West Limerick 102fm on Saint Stephen’s Day at 6pm, for a one hour and 15-minute programme on the history of the Glensharrold Wren Group from 1956 to 1998. The programme contains music song and story from  the archives and from people who are no longer with us. It is researched  by Tom Aherne and presented and produced by Shirley O’Regan. It is available also as a  Podcast. Enjoy.

The Ardagh Development Association and Saint Kieran’s GAA joint weekly lottery draw took place on Monday, December 13. The numbers drawn were 5, 8, 16 and 25, and there was  no  winner of the €5,700 Jackpot. Congratulations to the five lucky dip winners who received  €40 each: Maria Madigan c/o Timmy Madigan, Margaret Brouder (Online), Mike Magner, Coolanoran, Caroline Daly, Kilcolman, Deirdre Ambrose (Online). Next Monday night’s jackpot will  be €5,800. 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.

Congratulations to John O’Connor , who won €1,000 in the West Limerick 102fm 50/50 draw, held on Friday, December 17. This was the final draw for 2021 and thanks to all for their support. The tickets cost €2, or 3 for €5 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. A number of exciting new programmes are  being broadcast at present with more on the way. The station can be contacted at 069-66200 if people have news of interest to the West Limerick area.

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE: We are lucky to be at home for Christmas but spare a thought for those who are unable to come home because of the virus, and for those who will never again come home. Since last Christmas the sadness of death has struck many a home. On Christmas Day many a tear will be shed when loved ones look across the room and see the empty chair, never again to hear the stories, laughs, and caring word.  Many a cemetery will be visited  to say a little prayer to cope with the loss, and to ease the pain. We think of the many lonely people in our midst, especially those who are alone and may not see anyone this Christmas Day. For those who are sick in hospital, nursing homes and their worried family at home. For the many people in distress, due to job loss, debt, etc,  who are worried about what the year ahead holds for them.

We have come through another year, which has been lucky for some but more difficult for many others. Despite the few joys, and all the trials, we struggle on to another new year with courage and hope. We have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas as it is the time of the year that unites us by the message  it gives, about peace, joy, happiness, caring, and love. Happy New Year to all.

WISHES: These are the final notes for 2021, which was a challenging year for all correspondents, with little social activity to report. I would like to thank everybody who assisted me in the task, and wish all a happy and safe Christmas, and a Covid free  2022.


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