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 https://www.churchservices.tv/athea

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”