Dr. Kieran Murphy and his wife Val wish to express their sincere thanks for all the cards, letters, Mass cards, gift vouchers and other gifts that they have received on the occasion of Kieran’s retirement. Kieran says “It has been an honour and a privilege  to serve the people of Athea and surrounding areas over the past 37 years. It was emotional to receive expressions of gratitude from so many people. Thank you all for your kindness, thoughtfulness and most of all your friendship.”


Presents Live in concert a mighty line-up Alan Finn (fiddle/accordion), Keelan McGrath (accordion), Sean Kelliher (guitar/banjo), Annmarie O’Riordan (vocals), for a wonderful night of Traditional Music and Songs on Saturday, February 19th at 8pm. Doors open at 7.20pm. Tickets at €15 are available at Abbey Tiles / Siopa Milseáin or contact 087-1383940. A great night not to be missed.

Fleadh for Athea?

There is a distinct possibility that the Limerick County Fleadh Cheoil will be held in Athea over the June Bank Holiday weekend. This depends on the improving Covid situation, the availability of premises to run the competitions and the commitment of volunteers to run the event. After almost three years  it would be a great lift for the area to have the Fleadh back again bringing a much needed injection of capital into the parish.

Dancing at Lughnasa  – Set in the fictional Irish village of Ballybeg, Ireland. 

The old bog road… Nora Hunt, Theresa O’ Halloran front, Julie Moloney,
Mary Ellen Tierney, Anne Marie Horgan, middle,  Shane McEnery back

The Mundy sisters at their Ballybeg cottage 








When I cast my mind back to the summer of 1936
Michael (Shane McEnery)

It is a memory play told from the perspective of an adult Michael who introduces his nostalgic memories of the summer of 1936 when he was seven years old and the five Mundy sisters who raised him in rural Ireland, acquired their first wireless radio.

Their older brother Michael’s Uncle Jack  had just returned from twenty-five years spent as a missionary in a leper colony in Uganda. Michael was born out of wedlock to Chris, the youngest of the Mundy sisters  and Gerry Evans who deserted her and the child and only returns every couple of years to see her.

The radio which breaks down more than it works unleashes unarticulated emotions in the five women who spontaneously break into song and dance  with or without its aid.

Brian Friel’s play employs the central motif of dancing and music to explore themes of Irish cultural identity, nostalgia, historical change and pagan ritual.

This is one of those plays that will stay with you.. Come along to Con Colbert Hall, Athea & be entranced by the spell that is Dancing at Lughnasa.

The cast is as follows:

The Mundy sisters are Maggie (Theresa O Halloran) Kate (Nora Hunt) Chrissie (Julie Moloney) Agnes (Anne Marie Horgan) & Rose (Mary Ellen Tierney)

Michael the son (Shane McEnery)  Fr. Jack (Tom O’Keeffe) Gerry Evans (Tom Collins)

Play is Directed by Tom Denihan

The play dates  are  Sunday Feb 13th at 3pm Matinee  & then Thurs 17th,  Sat 19th,  Sun 20th,  Wed 23rd, Thurs 24th &  Sat 26th at 7:30pm. Doors Open at 7pm.

Tickets can be booked by texting or Whats App on 087 6926746 €10 per ticket.

We would also like to thank Marie Keating photography for capturing the scene & taking such fantastic pictures for us.

Dance like no one is watching  – The Mundy sisters 

Dancing at Lughnasa – Father Jack (Tom O Keeffe) back from Uganda

Mr Evans (Tom Collins) is back in Ballybeg.

The Way I See It

By Domhnall de Barra

“Anois teacht an Earraigh beidh an lá dúl chun shíneadh,
Is tar eis na féil Bríde ardóigh mé mo sheol.
Ó chuir m’mo cheann éní stopfaidh me choíche
Go seasfaidh mé síosi lár Chondae Mhaigh Eo”

Those are the opening lines of a poem most of us learned at school years ago. It was written by the great Irish poet, or “file”, Antoine Ó Raifteirí and was later translated into English by Frank O’Connor.  It tells us the poet’s intention to go on the road since Spring has come and the days are getting longer. Today, St. Brigid’s Day is traditionally the first day of Spring and a time when the Winter was left behind and preparations started for the time of growth and fertility that was approaching. I found the following piece in an article somewhere:

SAINT Brigid’s Day – Lá Fhéile Bríde – celebrates Ireland’s only female patron saint on February 1 and most people will be familiar with the popular tradition of making crosses in St. Brigid’s honour.

What many people may not know is that the feast day of this 5th century saint was one of the most important days of the year for our rural ancestors.

With its origins in the Celtic festival of Imbolc, St Brigid’s Day was the festival of fertility and marked the beginning of spring in Ireland. It signalled an end to the darkness of winter and ushered in a new season of hope and growth.

As such, our rural ancestors celebrated the day with a festive meal and a host of customs, all aimed at securing St Brigid’s protection and promise of new life and abundance for the year ahead.

There is no doubt that St. Brigid was a powerful woman and was revered by the people of Ireland, Her feast day was celebrated in many ways but there was always a festive meal, much like we have at Christmas nowadays. Coming up to the day crosses would be made out of rushes as it was believed they offered protection for the household.  The left over rushes, after making the crosses,  would be scattered over the fields as well to gain the Saint’s protection against sorcery and pisheogery. It was also a time of celebration and bands of “Biddy Boys” would go from house to house entertaining  those within with music, song, dance and recitations much like what the wrenboys do in our area. The tradition is still alive in places, especially in Kerry where the groups go out either on the eve of the feast day or on the day itself.

The announcement by the government that St. Brigid’s Day is, from now on, going to be a public holiday is to be welcomed as a recognition of the importance of St. Brigid and a gesture to the work of those on the front line during the pandemic. It also has its down side. Some people will say we have more than enough holidays already and that some, especially St. Patrick’s Day, have lost their meaning and are just an excuse for people to “go on the lash” . There is also the plight of employers who will have to fund this new holiday. Employees will have to be paid for the time off and, if they do have to work, will be entitled to double time. This comes at a time when many small enterprises are struggling to stay afloat as it is. I don’t believe giving workers another holiday is just reward for services rendered if it endangers the livelihood of some of the most vulnerable. The feast day could be celebrated on the weekend nearest the date without affecting normal working hours. We will wait and see how it works out.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about the maltreatment of women by church and state in this country. Some people agreed with me but I had a couple of complaints that I was being very hard on men who were portrayed as the baddies. This was not my intention and I pointed out in my article that there were some vicious, ruthless women in the world who were capable of crimes as great, if not greater than men. Both sexes have their fair share of transgressors and I was almost the victim of one myself. Going back to the 1960s, I was driving a truck at the time and was coming back from dropping off a delivery in Sheffield when I stopped at a motorway cafe to get a bite to eat. As I was about to leave, a woman in her thirties approached me and asked me if I could give her a lift as she was trying to get to Birmingham. Without thinking I told her I was going through Brownhills on the A5 and that was as near to Birmingham as it got and she said that would do fine and jumped up onto the passenger seat. I noticed, as I pulled away,  that she had marks on her face like she had been in a row but I didn’t mention it to her. There wasn’t much conversation until we were coming into Brownhills and she said she needed money and that if I didn’t give it to her she would say I had tried to rape her and she had the marks to prove it. Now, this was in the days before DNA or anything like that and I knew I would have a job proving my innocence.  I said I would have to get to a bank so I pulled up near one. Instead of going into the bank I went two doors down to a police station and told my story to the cop at the desk. He called one of his colleagues who came out to the truck with me. When we reached the truck there was no sign of the woman. She must have noticed that I didn’t go to the bank and took off. The policeman gave me a right earful for being so stupid as to be giving lifts to strange women at motorway cafes and he told me that there were a number of them operating the same scam. It taught me a very valuable lesson and that was the last time I put myself in a position like that. I tend to believe that most men and women are good, decent people but there are the exceptions on both sides. There is a physical imbalance between men and women that leaves some at a disadvantage, especially in domestic situations. Anybody who uses their superior size and strength to harm somebody else is nothing but a bully and should be  made accountable to the law of the land. There is far too much domestic violence, especially during the Covid lockdown and every effort should be made by the authorities to stamp it out and find refuge for the unfortunate victims. Apparently there aren’t enough safe houses throughout the country and this should be rectified without delay. It wouldn’t cost the earth and would be money well spent.