Athea GAA Club/Healthy Athea were delighted to present Cormac Hayes of Hayes Christmas Lights with a cheque for €1,250 recently, the proceeds from Santa’s Visit to Pairc na nGael. The charities benefitting are Milford Hospice Limerick, Children Ark Unit Limerick University Hospital and St Gabriel’s School Limerick. Many thanks to everyone who donated and helped on the day. Athea Drama Group
Happy New Year to everyone from Athea Drama Group
We have good news to start the year!
Our play Dancing at Lughnasa will be going ahead with a slight change of dates but will still be happening in February.
Dates will be announced in the next week or so. Keep an eye & an ear out!
We would love to see you there.
It really is one not to be missed.
Con Colbert Hall AGM
Con Colbert Memorial Hall AGM will take place on Wednesday January 26th at 8pm at the hall. New members are especially welcome. All those attending are asked to bring a mask and maintain social distancing at all times. 
Graveyard’s Collection
Envelopes can be dropped in to the Community Council Office or to the Collection Box at the Credit Union.
Golf Society AGM
The AGM of Athea Golf Society will be held at the Library on Thursday, January 20th at 8pm. This will include election of officers and programme for the year. Please bring your masks. New members especially welcome
























As tough as a táthfhéithleann – an absolute treasure!

This book was gifted to me by my wonderful thoughtful sister-in-law Grainne & family, and the last few days, following its arrival, have been enlightening to say the least.

It has brought joy to my heart, a lift to my soul and took my mind for a lovely walk down memory lane… not to mention it got my brain in top gear as Gaelige

It has made me smile and laugh and even brought a tear to my eye a few times, as I remembered clearly my dad (Tom Ahern) saying those words.

I will treasure it, and I will use those words now with more “teaspach”, knowing their origin!!

My personal favourite is “dríodar”, as my story goes a few years ago I was asking around about the word that sounded like “dreedar” meaning “only a sup” or a little bit at the bottom of a bottle and no one seemed to know what I was talking about, I was sure we used to say it and so I tried googling it but sure with no luck as I didn’t how to spell it and at the time didn’t even stop to think it may have been an Irish word, and low and behold there it was in the book, staring out at me, a joy finally to find it.

And the most interesting for me are, “fuaster” – a hurry, “Faic” – nothing and “Feirc” – to throw!

Just a superb idea and so glad it came to fruition. What an achievement, a very special book, well done to all involved. Thanks for “making my day”!

Go raibh míle maith agat, agus abú


In the mid 1950’s the ESB Rural Electrification scheme came to Athea parish and changed the lives of everyone who availed of it.  It brought many benefits and labour-saving  appliances to make life easier for all of us. Of all the benefits, the facility to have piped water on farms and in homes was probably the greatest.  Anyone over 70 will remember the drudgery of drawing buckets of water from the nearest spring well. Availing of this facility wasn’t cheap or without complications. It meant getting a water diviner to locate a viable water supply on your land, boring a well (sometimes up to two hundred feet deep) running an electrical supply from the dwellinghouse, building a pumphouse and providing a pump.  The cost of all of this would have been out of reach for most people at the time, and there was no County Council water supply available in rural areas.

The only other alternative was what was called a Group Water Scheme, where groups of people came together to provide a water supply to their homes. These schemes were initiated by the Dept. of Local Government and the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA) under the slogan “Turn on the tap”

In 1961, Thady Hunt, who was very active in the young farmer’s organisation, Macra Na Feirme, and just 23 years old at the time, was the driving force behind the formation of two such local Group Water Schemes, one in Knocknaboul and one on  the Clash Road. The inaugural meeting of the Knocknaboul group was held in Jim Kiely’s kitchen and was attended by an Engineer from the Dept. who advised on how to proceed with the scheme.  He suggested that a visit to see a completed scheme would be worthwhile and Thady drove to the Limerick/Tipperary border to speak to Thady Ryan who was the master of the Scarteen Hunt and had just completed a similar scheme.  The Dept. insisted that the water diviner would be on their recommendation and that the pumphouses would be of prefabricated concrete.  The creamery lorry, driven by Thady Woulfe and accompanied by his brother Tom and Thady Hunt went to Dublin to collect the pumphouses from the manufacturers.  There were  22 houses in the Knocknaboul Group and 21 in the Clash Road Group.

A Government grant of £100 was available for every house connected and a levy of £15 per house and £25 per farm to be collected locally.  These figures might seem insignificant now, but sixty years ago it was anything but, and Thady had the unenviable task of collecting it.  To ease the burden, the committee of the local creamery instructed the manager Denis Murphy to put up the money on behalf of those who couldn’t afford it and hold back a nominal sum from their creamery cheques every month until the debt was cleared. The creamery also very generously acted as guarantor for the cost of all the materials.  For a bit of perspective:  £100 in 1960 would be the equal to £2,453 today (figures courtesy of

This venture took a major voluntary effort and one wonders if the same would happen today.  There were no big yellow diggers in those days and all the pipe trenches were dug by hand, with spades, pickaxes and shovels.  At a rough estimate, this involved approximately 3000 metres of trenches for the Knocknaboul scheme and Clash would be near enough the same.  The sites for the pumphouses and wells were located in Martin Denihan’s and Jack Hunt’s lands, and were given free of charge.  Both wells were classified as “deep wells” and had an electrically powered submersible pump.

We were seeing Wavin pipes, right angle bends, offsets, elbows, reducers, stop valves, and Belfast sinks for the first time.  Connie Brouder had the contract for installing the sinks.  Each house had a single half inch brass cold water tap and a waste trap under the sink.  It was primitive by today’s standards but it made it possible for people to put in ranges with back boilers and copper cylinders and have piped hot water in their homes.  That the whole scheme was completed on time and on budget is a great tribute to everybody involved.

In this country we have a tendency to wait until somebody has passed on before  we acknowledge their good deeds and express our gratitude.  So, while Thady Hunt is still very active and in the best of health, I would like to thank him on behalf of everyone who benefitted from his initiative and foresight all those years ago. For the Knocknaboul scheme he was ably assisted by Denny Kelly who also put in countless hours of work from start to finish.  Mikey (Paddy) Fitzgerald played a similar part in Clash.  Some months ago, it was announced that there were 2,267 homes in rural Ireland without a piped water supply.  I believe that were it not for Thady, some of those houses might well be in Knocknaboul, because the Council water supply might never have been extended to include them.  Both schemes were taken over by Limerick Co. Council in the early 1980’s but the original pipework installed in 1961/62 is still functioning today.  I am also grateful to Thady for supplying much of the detail to enable me to write this.

Tom O’Keeffe.     

The Way I See It

By Domhnall de Barra

It’s the time of year again that brings with it very mixed emotions. The festivities have come to an end, “goodwill to all men” has been put back in it’s box and we are glad to be getting back to a normal routine but, there is also a sense of “flatness”, especially when we look at our bank, credit card and Credit Union statements and realise how much we have spent over the past few weeks. There is a kind of madness comes over us and we stock up on supplies as if the shops weren’t going to open again for a month. Now the bins are full of food we didn’t really need and we think of all the expensive presents we bought for people who probably neither needed nor wanted them. Most of us have a collection of gifts we have no use for either. Why do we give such presents? I have no problem with getting something for somebody who has been good to us throughout the year and expect nothing in return but the reality is we buy gifts because we get gifts so I buy for you and then you feel obliged to buy for me. It is a vicious circle and something that should be stopped. Many families are now in debt because of having to borrow for Christmas so I think it is time for us all to cop on and give just token gifts by agreement. After all, it really is the thought that counts. With regard to spending at Christmas I have a little tip for you all. From now on, put €20 a week away in a savings account or a box under the bed  each week. You won’t miss it and by the time next Christmas comes around you will have the guts of €1,000 ready for spending and no need for borrowings. Wouldn’t that be nice.!

Christmas is getting longer at one end and shorter at the other. Lights and decorations go up earlier and earlier each year and for a few weeks beforehand the radio shows are full of Christmas songs. If I never again hear “O Holy Night” it will be too soon. It is usually sung by opera singers or boy sopranos screeching at the top of their lungs like demented banshees and it is played on every music show that is aired, so you might hear it six or seven time a day for weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against Christmas songs but when you are bombarded with them every day you go off them as would happen with any songs. Anyway, though the time before Christmas is extended, the festival itself is being cut short. Many households take down the decorations after the 1st of January. To my mind this shows a lack of understanding and disregard for the Christian festival which is 12 days long and ends after the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th. When I was growing up this was a Holy Day of Obligation and everybody went to Mass. There was almost a repeat of the Christmas dinner and, no, I never saw the men doing any cooking; “Nollaig na mBan”  hadn’t reached us yet. It is such a pity that the Catholic Church did away with that Holy Day because it had great significance in rural Ireland and marked the proper end to Christmas.

I had a really good Christmas this year. I went nowhere, did practically nothing and ate and drank too much. It was the family made it special. We had five of the eight grandchildren around us, most of them teenagers, and the crack was mighty. They spent many hours playing board games, ignoring the smart phones and tablets and it was great to see it. I was sorry to see them leave but already looking forward to the next visit.

There is a saying “what goes around comes around” and I thought of it last week. I had a problem with my left ankle for the past few months, getting gradually worse. When I got out of bed in the morning I wasn’t able to put any weight on it at all. It was as if I just sprained it. After a few steeps it got to be bearable and if I went for a walk it would be fine after  100 yards or so. There would be no problem until I sat down for a while and then, when I got up, the pain was back again. I tried a couple of remedies, to no avail, so eventually I went to a physiotherapist in Abbeyfeale. He took me after six one evening, as a favour, and I was stretched out on his couch, as he massaged my ankle, when a knock came to his door. I heard a voice asking if there was anybody inside who owned  a silver Yeti. I knew immediately it was trouble and I saw the look of worry on the face of a girl in her twenties as he brought her into the room. She told me she had hit off the front wing of my car while parking and she had a piece of paper in her hands with her phone number on it. I said, jokingly, “will I kill you now or wait ‘til later” to lighten the mood as I could see she was upset.  I said I would be with her in a minute as I was almost finished and she left. She was waiting for me when I got out and she showed me the damage which looked to be very minor but difficult to see properly in the dark. I said it wasn’t bad at all and not to worry that we would work something out. We left it at that and went our ways. In the morning I had a good look at the wing and, despite a few scratches, it wasn’t bad at all. As I was looking at it, my mind went back to an incident that happened many years ago. I was into building farm roads at the time ant I was taking a machine on a low loader down to a farm near Kilcolman.  It was on a Sunday morning and, in those days the Mass in Carrig was well attended. Cars were parked on both sides of the road with just barely enough room to pass between them. As I crawled through I stopped to have a word with Paddy Aherne (our correspondent Tom’s late father) who was standing on the roadside and then proceeded on my way. I knew Paddy well as he was chairman of the local branch of Comhaltas and a great writer. I dropped the machine and came home to be told that Paddy was trying to get me on the phone (landline; no mobiles in those days). I rang him back and he told me that the back wheel of the low loader had scraped the front wing of a car as I pulled away from him that morning. He told me the owner’s name, where he lived and said “I’m just letting you know that this fellow can be awkward”. I sat into the car straight away and headed for a house between Carrig and the Old Mill. An elderly woman met me at the door and told me the man I was looking for wasn’t home. I told her my story and left her my details. A couple of nights later a man called to my house and told me he was the owner of the car I had hit. I apologised to him and told him I wouldn’t have known about it only for Paddy Aherne. I asked him if he would take the car to Pat Mulcahy’s Garage and I would cover the cost. He jumped up to leave and said, “don’t worry about it, that wing was already damaged but you are a lucky man you called to the house or I would take you to the cleaners”.  I had this in mind when I rang the girl and told her the damage was minimal and I would look after it myself. She asked me, in a relieved voice , if I was sure and I said I was. We wished each other a Happy New Year and hung up. Yeah, what goes around comes around and it was great to be able to give back what , years ago, had been given to me. I felt better after that phone call than if she had given me €1,000.


Mass Intentions next weekend

Sat Jan 15th 7.30pm:   Sean O’Halloran. Mickey Liston. Dan Keane and his parents Con & Maureen and deceased members of the Keane & O’Sullivan families.                                                                                     Sun Jan 16th 10.30am: Sr. Margaret & Sr. Josephine Lynch.

All masses are streamed live on

If you wish to book a mass etc., text/phone Siobhan on 087-2237858 or email the parish office

at [email protected]

Ministers of the Word and Ministers of the Eucharist

Sat 15/1   Angela Cafferky / Margaret Enright Sun 16/1   John Redmond / Mary Hunt

Baptismal Information: Any parent wishing to baptise their child must have completed the baptismal course. Next course Tues, Jan 11th – Please contact Theresa for further details 087 1513565