Carol, Cillian & Katelyn with Santa at the GAA Pitch on Sunday


Grace & William Ahern









Patsy Hayes & Kathleen Mullane

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.


Timmy Woulfe, writer, historian, dance master, footballer extraordinaire has launched his book “As Tough as Tathfhéithleann”, a list of Irish words and phrases which were commonly used in the parish of Athea in the last century. This would make a great Christmas surprise for our ex pats.

Irish Grinds Teacher Wanted

Looking for an Irish grinds teacher to give grinds to a Leaving Cert student.  Please contact 087 6464795


Mass Intentions next weekend

Fri Dec 17th 7.30pm:    John Dalton. Hannah & Ned Quinn. Jack & Peggy Danaher and their son John.

Sat Dec 18th 7.30om:    Corp. John Geoghegan and his wife Margaret. Joe O’Keeffe. Tommy Kelly. Margaret & James McCoy and James Culhane. Mary Brouder & her husband Connie Snr. and their sons Pat & Joe. Tom (Maucie) Moran, Clash and his sister Bridie Broderick late of Clash & USA, her husband Ben and their son John.

All masses are streamed live on

If you wish to book a mass etc., phone Siobhán on 087-2237858

Ministers of the Word and Ministers of the Eucharist 

Sat 18/12   K. Mullane & Majella Dalton Sun 19/12    L. Hunt & E. Geoghegan

Baptismal Information: Any parent wishing to baptise their child must have completed the baptismal course. Next course Tues Dec 14th – Please contact Theresa for further details 087 1513565

Christmas Mass Bouquet Cards are available in the church.

Christmas Mass Arrangements: There will be three masses on Christmas Eve 4pm, 6pm and 8pm and two masses on Christmas Day 9am and 10.30 am. If you are attending the Christmas Eve Masses at 6pm and 8pm and the Christmas Day Mass at 10.30am please book in advance and indicate the number in your group by emailing the parish office at [email protected]  OR texting 087-2237858.

The Way I See It

By Domhnall de Barra

As I get older some things annoy me a bit more easily than they used to.  I hate the modern Dublin 4, TV, accent that cuts out all the broad vowels and goes up at the end of each sentence. It’s like a cross between an English royal accent, a mid-Atlantic one and a sort of Northern  Ireland twang. Younger people from all over the country are aping this way of speaking as they see it as a way of being accepted in certain social standings. It is almost an apologetic way of speaking and, to be honest, when I hear it I find it very difficult to take the speaker seriously.  What is it about us in the south of Ireland that makes us want to change our delivery?. I have yet to hear a Scots person or one from the North who wasn’t quite happy to converse in their own accent. It was very evident in the last century in people who went to England or America. Some of them adopted the accents of their new homes as fast as they could. I suppose they wanted to be accepted in their new communities but others, despite the fact that there was a certain hostility to the Irish in some areas, clung to their roots and continued to speak as they always did. Yes, they modified it a bit to make themselves understood but then, that is what language is all about; communication. It doesn’t matter what accent we use as long as we can get the message across. Another annoying trend, especially by presenters on TV, is the use of what I call “hand language”. Somebody, trying to get their message across, will try to emphasis their point by flapping their hands in all directions. One would think they were trying to park airplanes at an airport!.  It might not be so bad if the hand and arm movements had any meaning but they just make the speaker look a bit silly. There are, of course, certain hand gestures that do have meaning and we all know what they are e.g. when somebody puts up their hands with the palms facing forward or, if they want to be really rude, raise two fingers, but flapping away to every syllable is just distracting. When talking about hand gestures I am reminded of a true story from the 1960s.  A man from Abbeyfeale was selling a greyhound and he got a message that a certain individual in Castleisland was interested and he was told to ring Castleisland 42 to discuss the sale. At the time there was only one phone in the town and  Dan, as we will call him, had never made a phone call in his life so he asked one of the neighbours to go to the phone box with him. The neighbour turned the handle, asked the operator for the number and put in the two pence before handing the phone to Dan. They talked about the greyhound for a while and then the man from Castleisland asked Dan how tall the dog was. Dan, after a moments hesitation, put his open palm down by his knee and said “about that high”.  The neighbour made sure everyone in the town knew the story before morning!.

Other abnormalities have crept into our way of speaking such as starting every sentence with “so”.  The word “like” pops up every three or four words and everything is “really, really” good or “really, really” bad. That awful American expression “awesome” is getting more use by the day and “you guys” refers to men and women alike. Maybe I am getting more like Victor Meldrew but I miss the time when we all had our own accents and there was great diversity around the country. Anyway, it isn’t worth my time changing now so I will continue to talk with my Athea brogue and make no apology to anyone.

Rural Ireland depends on volunteers who raise money for local clubs and charities. One great way of doing that was the yearly Church gate collection. It was easy enough to get a licence from the Chief Superintendent in Limerick and, on the appointed day, people would man the gates of the local church at Mass times collecting donations from Mass goers.  Athea was a very good parish and always donated generously but alas that day is gone. The Covid pandemic closed the churches for a long time and they are still only catering for a fraction of the crowds they used to. In the past few years there has been a very noticeable decline in the amount of people attending Mass, even before the pandemic, and I can’t see any reversal of that trend in the future. Now, clubs and organisations have to come up with alternative ways to raise funds and it is not easy. Some hold collections outside busy shops but that entails people being on duty all day compared to a couple of hours at Mass times. Abbeyfeale GAA have a stand in The Square every Friday and Saturday, selling their lotto tickets. I have noticed that it is the same few people who are on duty all day long. This, to me is above and beyond the call of duty and we have to come up with alternative ideas. There is the possibility of selling tickets on line but many of our parishioners, especially the older age groups, are not tech savvy and don’t have smart phones. If anybody out there has an idea, let us know.

I had a narrow escape the other morning while walking on the Glin Road. There is a part of the road, between the water treatment plant and Synan’s Gate, that has a blind spot where oncoming traffic cannot see somebody walking towards Athea until the very last minute. If there is traffic approaching from the Glin side there is no place to go for either the motorist or pedestrian. The car that barely avoided me had very good brakes and luckily was able to stop avoiding hitting me or the oncoming lorry. I have written about this before suggesting that a footpath could be laid along that short stretch on the other side of the road without encroaching on farmland. I am not just thinking of myself as this road is a part of Slí na Sláinte and is walked by a great number of people every day.  It is a safety issue and it is better we act in time before somebody gets seriously hurt. We did it before when we recognised the dangers of the narrow bridge and what I am suggesting wouldn’t cost a fraction of the new footbridge. Surely Limerick County Council have a part to play in this.


A West Limerick Man in New York who helped me           By Fr. Brendan Duggan

This is the complete article. We posted some last week.

Timmy Ahern from Rooska, Athea/Carrigkerry emigrated as an 18 year old to Wookside, NYC in the late 1950s. He set up a small paint shop in two blocks away from St. Mary’s Church, Winfield, whose Pastor Monsignor Peter Fox helped Timmy to start a business as a painting contractor. Timmy was deeply involved in the parish, which began in 1854 as a German enclave in Queens. Woodside became very Irish in the early 50’s. At it’s peak St. Mary’s had a school with 1200 children. Monsignor Fox was a great priest with many influential friends and I believe he encouraged Timmy in his career. In 1964 Timmy Set up Ahern Painting Company and it got bigger as he began to be contracted to paint the bridges of New York– Brooklyn Bridge 4½ miles long, costing $165 million over 3 years, Manhattan Bridge, Tribora Bridge etc. Timmy was on a roll and his turnover became over $300 million/year. He also, with his two sons and daughter Ann’s husband ran a construction Company building public Schools for New York City and State. Timmy never forgot Monsignor Fox and the encouragement he gave him. Timmy’s company was in 49th Ave, two blocks away from St. Mary’s Church which I worked in as a priest from 2007 – 2014, before I returned to Ireland.

I arrived in Winfield in 2007 as Curate (Associate Pastor). I also was a Missions Fundraiser. We had a yearly Dance in the Fall which brought in around $50 thousand. I had a journal which used to take in over $30,000 in Ads for $500, $200 and $100. I got to know Timmy, he knew I was an East Limerick man which was a help as he was from Rooskagh. I had no idea where Rooskagh was, I thought it was near Newcastle West, but I was surprised to find it near Athea, in a beautiful but rather remote hilly area. I wouldn’t like to travel it at night as there are many roads to “God knows where”. Timmy had two sons, Tommy Jnr. and Kieran and a daughter Ann who married Liam Hareney whom I got to know well as they all lived in Manhasset, Long Island, a rather posh area.

At one of our dances I had Kieran Ahern as our guest of honour and we raised $60,000 Dollars. Timmy had his bank manager give me $2,000 for an ad and some of his friends and suppliers shelled out $500 page ads (green coloured) . So Timmy was a good friend and a great supporter. Now I am coming to the interesting part. Our parish was poor. We had a lot of Irish families that came to us since we were Irish Priests. I was chaplain to the Irish illegal immigrants in Brooklyn and Queens so we had many Irish emigrants who came to our church in times of need. I dealt with suicides, county Associations, was a regular at the Irish Consulate in the City where I met what I call the Irish Aristocracy. These were the successful Irish in New York and I also met some of our important politician etc., so it was interesting at times.

Anyway our parish was rundown and a few jobs needed to be done, we had a nice gymnasium in the former school with a nice tin roof which some former foolish person painted over with lead paint. Now you all know lead paint is poisonous and it began to flake off. I was afraid some child would pick up some and be poisoned. We had the school and gym rented to a Jewish group running a special needs school for the city of New York and a yearly rent of $350,000 which kept the parish financially viable. It was urgent to repair the gym ceiling asap. I asked Timmy for a job estimate and after three attempts it would cost about $15000. Then he said he would do it for nothing if we could get it for a week, the gym closed. I asked two more Irish painters for an estimate and one guy wanted $30,000 and the next guy $35,000. It was up it was going. Timmy had a new cherry picker and his two men did a fast 48 hour job on cleaning the ceiling and finished the job on  the Friday of the Independence Day (July 4th) week. They painted the ceiling with a beautiful white paint supplied free by one of Timmy’s paint suppliers and costing a few thousand dollars. Val, my maintenance man, got a very long brush over 20 feet long with a small brush on top with which he dabbed extra paint on the parts of the tin ceiling which continued to shed some small pieces of lead paint down. This lasted for a couple of weeks as the painters had not completely cleaned the tin roof of lead. After about a month the job was perfect and beautiful. I reckoned it saved the parish about $60,000 as we had no cost for cherry picker or paint or workers who got at least $40 to 50 dollars an hour and insurance. A regular painter would have taken several weeks. Our bridge in Athea took 6 weeks. Timmy’s men were pro’s however, painting bridges.

Job no 2 involved the repair and rewiring of our Church’s wiring system. Our Church had 24 large chandeliers, each with 4 bulbs using an average of 500 watts or more. I immediately replaced the bulbs on each chandelier with 4 23W Leds. This lowered the electricity bill four fold. I found the Led bulbs were blowing due to the wiring being too old and also dangerous. I brought in a local Italian electrician to change the wiring. His two men changed the wiring in two of the chandeliers costing $1,500 per day. I went to Timmy for advice and he gave me his own electrician, a Filipino, to do the job. The Filipino electrician began at 9am after Mass and together with Val my young man, Don Houshech, the organist and myself, we worked all day until 10.30 and re-changed all the chandelier wiring and charged me $1,200. He even wanted to do it cheaper as he was Timmy’s man who was so good to him. The Church wiring job saved me at least $40-50 thousand. The other guys would have knocked about a month out of it and made plenty of dough.

In 2013 we were planning to leave the Parish of St. Mary’s and to return to Ireland. We wanted to leave the parish property and school in good nick.

The Church was in good shape but the school exterior would remind you of the South Bronx or Spanish Harlem. You could take your pick.

We heard Timmy had a large industrial cherry picker with a 45 foot extension with cabin on top to stand in and he gave it to us free and gratis for as long as we needed it. It was old but in perfect order and he also offered to supply us with diesel fuel free of charge. Last week I asked a contractor what it would cost per week to hire such a machine, I actually saw one a few days ago when I went to my doctor in Monaleen, Limerick. I was told hiring one would cost €1,000 per week. We had Jimmy’s for at least three months for nothing. We also had no insurance to pay or other health and safety costs etc.

Anyway my man painted the school, the paint was not expensive as it was like a coloured water based paint which Timmy was also involved with. I reckon it would have cost us $100,000, perhaps to complete the job. Painters do not come cheap especially in New York where a union guy gets up to $50 an hour or more.

So taking all into account I reckon Timmy Ahern saved our parish around $200,000 for those three services. It is great to have such a generous man. Timmy never forgot his roots. He was a gentleman, very kind and generous and he died rather suddenly on July 29th 2015, one year after I returned to Ireland.

Timmy was also a Trustee of the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He had his own Ahern seat in St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the 17th March Mass. He used to give me 6 tickets for the Mass in the centre of the Church which I would give to Irish guests from say Mayo or Limerick or Donegal. Politicians or County Councillors who would come to NYC for 17th March.

May Timmy Rest in Peace