to BETTY COTTER,TOP OF THE TOWN, for their wonderful  & most appreciated  support  towards our club over the past 20 odd years. We wish BETTY & JOHNNY  the very best in their retirement.. We will all miss them & we wish them both the very best for the future. Thank you Betty & Johnny. Included in pic. L to R. Timmy Murphy, Pat McSweeney, Betty Cotter, John Fealy, Jerry Brouder.

Athea branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann making a presentation to Betty Cotter

Lillian O’Carroll & Domhnall de Barra making a presentation to Betty Cotter on behalf of Athea Community Council Lucky Numbers Draw for all her support through the years.
Wishing Betty & Johnny a very happy and healthy retirement


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 10th.







St. Bartholomew’s Church Athea

Beannachtai na Nollag.

Fr. Tony, Fr. Willie and Fr. Dan wish all parishioners a peaceful and blessed Christmas. We welcome all who are visiting the parish for the Christmas celebrations. We pray that the joy of Christmas will raise the spirits of the bereaved, the sick and the housebound. May all in our community be enriched by the hope that this holy season brings.

Christmas Masses. We extend an invitation to all parishioners and all who are visiting Athea for Christmas to join us for the celebration of Mass on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Masses on Christmas Eve will be celebrated at 5.00pm and at 8.00pm and on Christmas Day at 11am. There will be a warm welcome for everyone.

Weekday Masses and Confessions this week.

Tuesday morning at 9.30 followed by Eucharistic Adoration and the Devine Mercy Chaplet.

Thursday evening at 7pm – Mass Intention – Mike Hayes 1st Anniversary. Confessions after Mass.

All Masses are streamed live on https://www,churchservices.tv/athea

Christmas Mass Bouquets available in the church now, just inside front door.

We wish to thank the children of Athea NS and their teachers for the beautiful Christmas Art

displayed now in the church.

Parish Office: Mon-Fri 11am-1pm. Call 087-3331459 or email [email protected]

The Way I See It

By Domhnall de Barra

I can’t believe it is Christmas week already and another year is gone by. It seems like only yesterday I was getting used to ‘22 instead of  ‘21 and  now 2023 is knocking at the door. “Tempus fugit” as they used to say in Latin and  when I was young I couldn’t understand it because every year seemed to be so long. We couldn’t wait for various times of the year to come and Christmas always seemed to be so far away.  As you grow older the years go by at a faster pace all the time and I feel like shouting “stop the world, I want to get off”. There have been great changes since my earliest memories of Christmas. When I was born, in 1945, there was no electricity in our area and, as the war was just ending, there was very little money or employment around. That did not stop people celebrating and enjoying Christmas. It wasn’t about possessions or spending sprees, it was more spiritual and meaningful. Because there wasn’t electricity, the only light was from oil lamps and they were only used in one room. It wasn’t a strong light but it seemed like a warm glow that was barely visible from outside. On Christmas Eve, and not before, the decorations were put up, Holly and Ivy were placed around the kitchen and on the mantlepiece next to the Christmas cards that the postman had been bringing for a week or more. Some people who had relations in America got “streamers” in a parcel. They were coloured paper that folded up like a concertina and were hung diagonally across the ceiling. Christmas trees were unknown to us at this time, they became popular a few years later when the electricity came. Tall candles were prepared for each window. My mother would get empty jam jars to put the candles into and they were solidly secured by packing sand around them. Our job was to put holly and ivy around the base of the candle to “show it off”. When darkness came the candles were placed in each window and lit. As each flame sprang into life, my grandmother would say, “the light of heaven to the poor souls”. We would run outside to see the  lights shining brightly in the darkness and then we would look around at neighbouring houses and across the river to Toureen and Ballaugh with all their windows alight and it was, as the great story teller Eamon Kelly once described it, “as if the world was upside down and all the stars were on the ground.  We would then all kneel down to say the rosary and on this special night it was somehow more profound. We never liked having to say the rosary and we paid more attention to the black clogs running across the floor than the prayers we were supposed to be saying but on this holy night all the words had a special meaning for us. The same could be said for Christmas  Mass. We didn’t go to midnight Mass, we always went to 8 o’clock Mass in the morning in Abbeyfeale. Every one was dressed in their very best and some people, who had got the parcel from America, wore clothes that couldn’t have been bought in the local shops. The priest, who normally rebuked us for our sinful ways, took a softer tone and spoke about the importance of the birth of Our Lord and wished us all a Happy Christmas. When Mass was over, everybody lingered outside the church door, shaking hands and wishing each other the best for the festive season and the New Year. Home then to play with the “purties” Santy had brought and to look forward to the Christmas dinner. Most people had a goose in those days but we always had turkey and you could smell it cooking over the fire. We might get a bottle of orange or lemonade and it was such a treat. As the bottle emptied until there was just a small sip left, we would put it into our mouths, not swallow it, and let it flow back into the bottle again just to prolong the experience. We always ate too much at dinner and  felt like sleeping but this was the time for family games and even the odd song or two. All too soon the day was over and we had a whole long year to wait for the next one. Maybe that is why time goes so fast now because there is very little to look forward to. Most people are well off compared to days long ago and there is a good dinner every day. I miss the magic of those days, the awe, expectation and sheer enjoyment of a time that was special. There are those in our community who will be struggling at Christmas and we should be on the lookout for them and give them a helping hand if we can.

There are a few photos of presentations to Betty Cotter, Top of the Town, in this issue. The Top is closing after Christmas and many organisations wanted to show their appreciation to Betty for her great service over the years. Herself and Johnny made us very welcome and they were great financial supporters of our fundraising events. We wish them a long and happy retirement. The good news is that the Top is not closed for good. After some refurbishment it will open before St. Patrick’s Day and we wish the new owners every success in the future.

That is me finished for another year so there is nothing left for me to do except to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a bright New Year. Sure we won’t miss it ‘till next year!!

Members of Athea C.C.E. Trad music and singing classes with teacher Micheál Broderick at their recital in the Top of the Town last Friday night