News 27/03/2020

Strange Times

by Domhnall de Barra

Due to the current state of affairs with the Covid-19 pandemic we have had to stop publishing  Athea and District News. With all the clubs and organisations grounded there simply isn’t anything to fill the pages. It is the first time in almost 30 years that we have been unable to get copies onto the shelves but theses are not ordinary times. Athea is quiet but not as quiet as other villages. Collins’ shop continues to provide an essential service along with the butcher, chemist, garage and a few tradesmen. The CE scheme is continuing on a limited basis but the workers are managing to keep the streets tidy and are cutting the grass that has sprung up all over the place. It is strange to see the Church closed, especially on Sundays. Fr. Duggan, who is on retreat at the moment, tells me he is thinking of his parishioners and saying Mass for them every day. Children must find it hard to pass the time, but then we all do. I have noticed a big surge n the use of social media with people swapping news and funny videos that lighten the mood. Most people are observing the social distancing advice but there are always a few idiots about who have no regard for their friends or neighbours. By working together we can minimise the effects of this outbreak and return to what passes for normality in this area. One good thing has come out of it already; a realisation of what is really important in this world and it is not material possessions or “success”. Family, friends, caring for each other and human decency have come to the fore and we must never forget the sacrifices of those who put their own welfare on the line to provide us with essential treatment and necessities. They are the real heroes and we salute them.  We will continue with a piece online, if there is anything to report so feel free to contact me if you have something to say. Stay safe, stay healthy.


Abbeyfeal Notes

by Marian Harnett

ABBEYFEALE COMMUNITY ALERT:  The most important thing you need to do today is write out your Eircode and place it by your phone.  If, God forbid, you have to call the emergency services this is all the information they require to arrive to your hall door.  The Gardai are available to help out with bringing messages to older people so if you need help just ring 06830010.  These are strange times and we must all pull together and look out for our neighbours.  Remember that the best way to stay safe is to wash your hands with soap, stay a couple of meters from the next person and self-isolate if you don’t need to go out.    Elderly people need to stay active so imagine there is an orange between your shoulder blades and that you are squeezing it – this will improve your posture and stop your shoulders rounding. Set an alarm for every 45 minutes and get up from the chair and either walk up the stairs or up and down the hall or thank God now that the weather has improved we’ll be able to get outside.  Stand by the worktop, put your hands on it, do squats or stand on one leg for 10 seconds and then change to the other leg.  Drink water all day.  Do circles with your arms while holding a bottle of water or a can of beans to keep your muscles active. We have heard of people calling to the elderly in urban areas offering to test them for the virus at a cost or do shopping for them or to fumigate the house and that mar ya they have been sent by the HSE– that will hardly happen here but if it does, don’t entertain them. If you need shopping or messages, contact the local committee who have been set up by Abbeyfeale Community Council on 068 31169/068 32080/ 087 7571144 any day between 9-5pm. Ring Abbeyfeale Gardai on 068 30010 (Three hundred ten) if you have concerns over callers/ travelling salesmen, if the phone is unattended the call will be answered in NCW and the local squad car will be notified.  When you reach the age of 65 and live alone or with a person/s aged over 65 you are entitled to receive a monitored alarm system. But if you have younger people living in the house who are out for long periods of the day then,  because you are spending hours alone you are also entitled to the system provided that you are over 65.  The free equipment is provided by Pobal following an application from Abbeyfeale Community Alert, there will be a monitoring fee to be paid from the second year of installation to the installing company of €72.  Please note that this fee has increased by €6 and is payable in a lump sum each year after year one.  Should you not have a landline the installing company Task provide a sim card at a rate of €7.50 per month payable from day one.  Then, in year two you will also receive a bill for the monitoring fee so in year one the bill will be €90 and in year two and every other year after it will €162 approx.  Committee members are Michael O’Kelly N.T., Seamus Stack, Mossie Gleeson, Kathleen Collins, Mary McArthur, John O’Sullivan, Billy Quirke N.T., Cllr. Francis Foley, Catherine Daly, Marian Harnett.

 CALLING ALL TEACHERS, STUDENTS AND PARENTS! World Vision Ireland’s Climate Change essay competition 2020 is opened until March 31 for children between the ages of 8 and 18. The winning essay writer will get the chance to meet Ryan Tubridy in the RTE Studios and will also win a €500 Smyths toy voucher.

For more information on how to enter, go to our website

HELPLINES:  Men suffering domestic abuse, operates 36 hours a week on 1800816588.  Limerick Social Services:  061-314111.    AA    061/311222 Al-Anon 086/8143425. Parent Support worker 068/31019.  Accord NCW 069/61000.   Samaritans Freephone 116123 or text 087/2609090 or email [email protected] Aware (Depression & Anxiety) 1980 303 302 National Suicide Helpline (Pieta House) 1800 247 247 Irish Advocacy Network (Peer advocacy in mental health) 01 872 8684 Pieta House (Suicide & self-harm) 01 623 5606 IACP (Counselling & Psychotherapy) 01 230 3536 Shine: (Supporting people affected by mental ill health) 01 860 1620 061 – 412111 or Free phone 1850609090 A.A. 061-311222.  Al-Anon 086-8143425 Bereavement Support: 068 / 31203    068/ 31262    068/51984    St Vincent De Paul    Tel 087/1213560 .  Counselling Appointment    061/314213.  ALONE; has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Professional staff are available to answer queries and give advice and reassurance where necessary.  The support line is open Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024. Hours may be extended to meet the demand.  SPRING FORWARD:   Clocks go forward on Sunday, March 29.  This year’s spring equinox fell on the earliest date in 124 years. The first day of spring occurred on Thursday, March 19, 2020, at 11:50 p.m. EDT for those in the Northern Hemisphere, which is marked by the arrival of the Vernal (Spring) Equinox.

CHURCH SERVICES:  Mass is being celebrated every day in the Church of the Assumption and broadcast on and Monday to Friday the Stations of the Cross are also being broadcast at 3pm.  RTÉ will air Mass every weekday at 10.30am from St. Eunan’s and St. Columba’s Cathedral,  on RTÉ News Now.  If you have a neighbour who is not on the internet then ring them and place your phone beside your laptop and they will be able to hear Fr. Tony or Fr. Shoji celebrate daily Mass.  Adoration from 11am to 6pm each day except from 2.30pm – 3.30pm when the Stations of the Cross are on.  Exposition will be in the Main Church to facilitate social distancing.  Enter the church by the Blessed Sacrament church door as all other doors will be locked. We regret these changes but we must adhere to the HSE guidelines.

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Unfortunately this will be the last newsletter for the foreseeable future. Stay Safe everyone.

Corona Virus  (Covid-19)

This is a Community Announcement to make people aware that O’Riordan’s Pharmacy, Collins’ Shop and Griffin’s Butchers are open for business. We will be organising deliveries for vulnerable members of our community who do not want to leave home. Please phone us and we will do the rest.

O’Riordan’s Pharmacy 068-42418

Collins’ Shop 068-42111

Griffin’s Butchers 087-4375719.

Our community co-ordinator Mary Ita Casey can be reached on 087-4141157or any other member.

Liz O’Mahony 087-6711886

Liz Flynn 087-6352416

Derek Byrne 087-6326232

Pat O’Sullivan 087-2997728

John Hunt 087-7875378

Mike Flynn 0876309300

Ann Marie Horgan 087-9614131

Knockdown Vintage Club

 Charity Road Run 29/03/20 Postponed

Due to Government Recommendations in relation to Covid-19, the Knockdown Vintage Charity Road Run in aid of the Symptomatic Breast Unity, U.H.L. Has been postponed until further notice.

All draw tickets purchased will remain valid for the rescheduled event.

We hope to be in a position to make an announcement regarding the rescheduled event in the future.

Please stay safe and be aware of the needs of sick and elderly neighbours.

The Knockdown Vintage Club Committee

Athea Utd Soccer

Weekly Draw cancelled until further notice.

Athea Community Council Ltd Lucky No’s Draw

Weekly Draw cancelled until further notice. All tickets sold will be kept safe until things get back to normal.

C.D. Printing

Due to the virus the office will be closed from today until further notice. I will be working from home and can be contacted on 087 6758762 or 068 42351.

Ce scheme

The CE Scheme (FAS) has been suspended by a directive from the Dept of Social Welfare. This means there will be no street cleaning in the mornings so it is up to everyone to make sure they clean outside their own premises. If we all co-operate we will have a tidy village.

Notice to all Parishioners in relation to Funerals and other Services

Statement issued by Bishop Brendan Leahy,

Bishop of Limerick on

Sunday 15th of March 2020

In the current emergency situation, “No one should attend funerals unless they are immediate relatives or very particular friends. While I do, of course, understand the desire of others to attend, to do so if not members of immediate family, or a very particular friend could enter into the realms of recklessness.  And, of course, in keeping to the HSE advice, there should be no hand-shaking or hugs regardless. Social distancing must be observed now as difficult as that is.”

“Once this crisis has passed, Memorial Masses and other ceremonies of remembrance will be arranged for all those who should not attend funerals now, to gather and pay their respects in that great Irish way and let the bereaved family know you share their loss. In the meantime, phone-calls, texts and social media can be used to convey your support for them.” End of Statement.

Further Information

Connect a relative or neighbour to Mass: If you have relatives and/or neighbours who would like to participate in an online Mass, who do not have access to a computer or tablet, you might consider supporting them by setting up your laptop/tablet for them so they can be part of the online congregation.

West Limerick 102fm Community Radio: Will broadcast Mass from Newcastle West Church on St Patrick’s Day at 10.00a.m.

St Patrick’s Day Mass from Abbeyfeale Church: Parishioners can participate in Mass for St Patrick’s Day via the local Church TV Services. Simply go to and click on the image of the parish church and you will be able to participate in Mass. Mass will be celebrated on Monday evening 16th March at 6.30p.m. St Patrick’s Day Mass at 9.15a.m. and at 12 noon.

Ní neart go cur le chéile. There is no strength without unity.

Difficult Times

By Domhnall de Barra

Hard to know where to start this week with the times that are in it.  Difficult to believe that the human race is almost on its knees due to one  virus but that is the situation.  I keep thinking it is a nightmare and I am going to wake up at any moment to life as I knew it but no, we are in a bad situation.  The biggest problem with this virus is the lack of knowledge on how to deal with it. Medical experts are doing their best but there is conflicting advice which is most evident in the difference between the approach of the government here and the assembly in the North. Schools closed here last Thursday but remain open across the border. They say the schools will close eventually but not yet.  What are they waiting for? Surely it is logical that the sooner action is taken the better the chance of containing the spread.  Children are very active beings with boundless energy and they get into all sorts of places. They are also very physical in the way they deal with each other and are always in groups. This is ideal for passing on the virus even if they don’t know they have it. There may be no visible signs but a child can infect a whole household who in turn may pass it on to other members of the community they come into contact with. It makes sense therefore to close schools and all places where people gather in the hope that the virus will have the least possible impact on all of us. It is difficult also to know how the government is going to keep going if it lasts for any great length of time. Hundreds of thousands will be on social welfare but there is only so much money in the kitty and  that will dwindle further with the fall in revenue from income tax and other taxes on goods such as alcohol now that the pubs are shut.  What about repayments on cars and mortgages on houses?  There won’t be enough money to meet them if the weekly wage is gone. In these circumstances it is time for banks, credit unions and other lending institutions to step up to the plate in the national interest. There is a case to be made for freezing loans that are in trouble until the virus scare has passed. I know it is a lose, lose situation but everybody is going to be adversely affected be this in some way or other.

Did we ever think we would see a time when St. Patrick’s Day would not be celebrated on this Island/?  It is the only national holiday that I know of that is celebrated world wide as well. Millions of Euro will be lost by the hospitality sector while airlines, who normally are full to capacity at this time of year, are flying almost empty or grounded. All this will have a knock-on effect that some may not ever recover from.

In the meantime what can we do?  For a start we can do what we are told, not something most of us like. Last weekend some pubs and clubs were packed to capacity despite the advice given to us about spacing etc.  This was mindless behaviour by those who put their own profits ahead of the nation’s health. We all have to obey the basic rules about hygiene and socialising. We also need to ignore some of the fake news that is spreading on social media. Some people get a kick out of scaremongering so we should listen to the advice of the government and the HSE who have daily briefings. It is also time to stop the  videos that are funny alright but it is now gone past that stage and is no laughing matter. I hope that the best brains in the world, who are working on a vaccination, will have  success in the near future. That is the way to put an end to all this.

In the meantime let us all be careful and look out for each other. If you are a healthy active person maybe you could help some elderly neighbours with shopping or other chores. Be aware of those who are more vulnerable than ourselves.  There is an old saying in Irish “people survive in each others shadow”  and that is how we will be able to deal with this.

On another depressing note, what has happened our weather? Some will say it is global warming, but they will say that anyway whether it is too hot or too cold. I can never remember a time when we got so much rain and so many storms  in quick succession. It is raining since the end of July last and got really nasty in the past couple of months. Grass is growing at the moment but the cattle cannot be left out because the ground is so wet. There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel from Thursday on with a bit of high pressure approaching. It will be more than welcome and we look forward to more seasonal weather. We could do with something to cheer ourselves up.

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We are delighted to be donated this Coursing Cup from the Ward Family in Abbeyfeale which will be housed in our Library. Inscribed on the cup is ‘The Gale Trophy’ – Athea Coursing Club 1948. A return to the parish after 72 years.


Corona Virus  (Covid-19)

Everybody is advised to please observe good hand hygiene practice, in the home, workplace etc. as it is believed to be most important in breaking the chain of infection. Anyone who has been subjected to close contact with a person from a designated risk area who develops symptoms should immediately contact a GP via phone and not attend  a GP or emergency department in person. If possible apply surgical mask and isolate yourself. Also keep up to date with any and ever changing regulations in this regard. Keep safe.

Knockdown Vintage ClubCharity Vintage Run

Sunday 29th March 2020 at 1pm. Light Refreshments will be served. Music by  Deel Dinger from 4 – 6pm.

Raffle for numerous prizes including a Weekend Away.  Proceeds in aid of  the

Symptomic Breast Unit UHL.

1st. Prize: 2 nights B&B at Lough Rynn Castle Estate & Gardens, Mohill, Co. Leitrim. 2nd. Prize: €100 Voucher for The Devon Inn Hotel, Templeglantine. 3rd. Prize: Monster Hamper plus numerous other prizes.

Draw will take place in The Knockdown Arms on Sunday 29th. March 2020 at 6pm after the Vintage Runs. Tickets €2 each or 3 for €5. For Further information Contact  Patrick Langan 087-2452695

Dave Noonan 087-2500938

Athea Tidy Towns Volunteers Jim Sullivan, Eileen Sullivan, John Scanlon, Margaret Scanlan, Thady Hunt, Jamie Kelly, Henry Moran & Colin Mumbray working on the River Walk

Athea Tidy Towns

Athea was the proud host of the Newcastle West Municipal District Area Meeting on Wednesday last at the Carnegie Library. This meeting is usually held in Newcastle West, but thanks to a motion put forward by Councillor John Sheahan, it was agreed to hold the meeting in Athea and to receive a presentation from Athea Tidy Towns. There were 14 in total in attendance at the meeting including Councillors Sheahan, Foley, Collins, Ruddle, Scanlon and Galvin as well as Gordon Daly  Director of Service for the District, Ger O’Connor, Senior Executive Engineer, and Padraig Vallely Executive Engineer Roads. Athea Tidy Towns were invited to present at the meeting on projects completed with the assistance of Limerick City & County Council Funding in the last number of years and also current issues facing the development of our village. All present were thanked for their assistance since our group were established in May 2012.Some notable projects completed include; Construction of Defibrillator Telephone Box, Erection of Flower Basket Ornate Poles, Purchase of new Entry Signage, Development of the Athea Heritage Trail, Upgrade of Athea Library and development of River Walk all made possible by the assistance of our local authority.

Going forward, our group have requested the council’s help with the development of an overall plan for the village which would take into account the streetscape, parking, public lighting, traffic calming, under-grounding of services etc. We are also requesting further engagement with the owners of Derelict Buildings in the village which are a blight on our streetscape.

All present were suitably impressed with the progress Athea has made in the last number of years – commenting ‘Athea was not only an example to the county, but was also an example to the country on what can be achieved by a committed group of volunteers’. The various representatives and staff have all pledged their support  and have already been in contact with us to arrange a follow-up meeting.

Work continued at the River Walk on Saturday morning, spearheaded by our landscape specialist, Colin Mumbray. A variety of mixed fruiting hedging was planted and is now almost complete. As soon as the weather improves we hope to begin work on the path. We welcomed Padraig Cronin from the Hen Harrier Project to Athea on Wednesday to give him a tour of our new River Walk project. We are very grateful to the support received from the Hen Harrier Fund towards this project

The Athea Tidy Towns local competitions will return in 2020. Categories to include

  1. Best Kept Front Garden
    2. Best Kept Business Premises/Private House on Colbert Street/Barrack Street
    3. Bee Friendliest Garden

Terms and conditions:
1. Areas to be judged MUST be located inside the speed limit signs
2. Applicants may enter more than one category
3. Judging to take place in July/August
4. Prizes will be awarded at an awards ceremony in late September
5. There is no fee for entry into the competition

More details to follow.

For the last 7 years, the annual Athea Tidy Towns Fashion Show has been a highlight of the social calendar of the year in Athea. Year on year we have been completely humbled by the support of our local community and visiting boutiques. Following a committee meeting, we have decided to postpone the Athea Tidy Towns Fashion Show for 2020. We are lucky to be a part of a very active community with a variety of active local organisations. Events already scheduled to take place during Easter includes a Concert at the Church in aid of Athea Lourdes Fund, Team Limerick Clean up on Good Friday and Athea Midnight Walk on Good Friday Night in aid of Athea Lourdes Fund & Athea GAA. Also Rás na Mumhan will pass through Athea on Easter Saturday. It is fantastic to see such activity happening around us but as a committee, we have decided not to put a strain on our parishioners by asking them to support our fashion show during this busy week. However, we would encourage you to get out and enjoy the above events and appreciate the hive of activity taking place around us at the moment.

Finally, we would like to pay tribute to Margaret Carroll and her team who have expertly organised the fashion show for the last number of years. The reputation of the Athea Fashion Show is a testament to your commitment and ability. We will be back!

Common Sense

By Domhnall de Barra 

I am indebted to Amena Parkes who sent me the following during the week. It was posted in the London Times a few years ago by Ian Armstrong .  It is even more relevant today than  it was back then.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

  • Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
  • Why the early bird gets the worm;
  • Life isn’t always fair; and
  • Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.
Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.
He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;

  • I Know My Rights
  • I Want It Now
  • Someone Else Is To Blame
  • I’m A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Corona Virus

Covid 19 is wreaking havoc around the world. This morning’s news is that Italy is in lockdown because of the scale of the infection in the population. It will have the same effect as a world war with businesses going to the walls because of sickness and shortage of components. Governments who are already strapped for cash  will have to find resources from somewhere to keep the economy alive. There is talk here of putting a type of national government together for the duration of the crisis. This makes good sense because this problem transcends party politics and we need a strong administration to make what may be unpalatable decisions. It has not got out of hand here yet but Italy was where we are now just a couple of weeks ago. With this in mind, is it time for us to act locally to prevent  the spread of the virus?  I think it is. Unnecessary  public events and meetings should be postponed for the time being and everyone should observe the hygiene advice, especially about washing hands and keeping them away from faces. Bodily contact with other people should be avoided at all times; no handshakes or hugs. Remember this is not forever, it will pass away before the summer, hopefully, but we now have a chance to stop people getting sick and even dying from unnecessary contact with someone who is infected. Our immune systems are not as good as they used to be, especially in those of us who are not so young anymore. Clubs and organisations should think seriously about acting in the public interest before it is too late.

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