Athea 6th class pupils who were presented with their Graduation Certs.


Linda Hunt and family’ dressed in the 1920s Gear for the Centenary Celebrations






Congratulations to Nora Lynch on her 102nd Birthday.











The Way I See It

By Domhnall de Barra

This was an exciting time of the year for us in our young days because we knew the school year was nearly over and the holidays were around the corner. We would realise this when, one afternoon coming home from school, the sound of the mowing machine could be heard from more than one meadow. In those days farmers did not cut the hay until late June or early July. They would be watching each other to see who would make a start and as soon as the first blade of grass was mowed they all tackled up and started cutting. The plan was to cut just before a dry spell and, since there were no forecasts, they had to rely on one or two farmers who were good judges of weather. It didn’t always work out but most of the time it did and it was just as well because all the work had to be done by hand and without good weather the crop could be lost. They got their information from the cloud formations, the wind, the signs in the night sky, the flights birds and the habits of other wild animals who always knew what weather was in store. My neighbour, Mick Phil Woulfe, was a great man to give a forecast. Mick would put his thumbs inside his braces, look at the sky and the world around and declare “ther’ll be rain tomorrow but not before dinner time”. He was seldom wrong. The hay cut in those days was very different to what is called hay today. Today’s hay is just grass that could as easily be used for silage and is cut in the months of April and May.  The hay long ago grew tall and straight and was laced with all kinds of  herbs and wild flowers. It was not driven by artificial  chemicals but natural farmyard manure and I’m certain was far better fodder than what cattle get to eat today. Anyway The sound of the mowing machine was music to our ears because we knew the Holidays were upon us. Unlike today’s children, who love going to school, we hated every day we had to enter the doors of that stark building where punishment was the order of the day. We had about a mile and a half to walk and the nearer we got to the school, the more apprehensive we got. Corporal punishment wasn’t just allowed. It was encouraged. The mantra at the time was “spare the rod and spoil the child”. Well, there was no fear we were spoiled and it was a rare day we escaped without a slap or two.  Some people castigate those in charge at the time and especially educators from the religious orders like Nuns and Christian Brothers but they were no different from our own parents  who also sought not to spoil us. If you got punished at school, you made sure they did not find out at home because, if they did, you were in for another beating. It was the culture at the time and we lived through it without too much damage  What was far more damaging was the verbal abuse we got if we didn’t know the correct answer to a question. You could be called  ”thick as a mule” , “an ignoramous” or some other demeaning term that made you feel small and unworthy in front of your class mates. No wonder some of us grew up with an inferiority complex that plagued us for much of our lives. Yes, the slap of a cane would hurt for a while but then it would go away however the stinging word settled in the head and festered there  forever niggling away at our confidence and sense of worth. Schooldays were not the happiest days of my life and I envy my grandchildren who love their time in education. I do not, however, look back in anger or with a longing for retribution. In the main the teachers were doing their best to get us an education in the only way they knew how. It was the culture of the time and I am glad it has been consigned to history.

Athea N.S. celebrated 100 years in existence on Friday last and it turned out to be a wonderful occasion. Some of the children and adults dressed up in clothes that would have been worn in the 1920s and it highlighted how far we have come in that length of time. There wasn’t much money about then as it was just after the first world war and in the midst of our own struggle for freedom so clothing was very basic and people were lucky to have enough to keep themselves warm. Now we have a choice of outfits for every day and we lack for nothing Thank God. It was good to see Tommy Moran out and about. He has been a great friend to Athea causes over the years and is an example to would be entrepreneurs who might follow in his footsteps. There was nothing spared on Friday and the large crowd that attended were served teas, cakes, sandwiches and all kinds of goodies. Well done to Mrs. Watters and her staff and helpers who pulled out all the stops to mark a significant milestone in the history of education in Athea.

Athea National School 100th Year Celebrations

Stephanie and Cillian O’Connor and their boys Rowen and Brogan

Past pupils with the Liam McCarthy Cup

Paudie Ahern dressed as a 1920’s pupil