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.