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
June is Aphasia Awareness month. Eighteen months ago I did not know what Aphasia was but I soon found out. Aphasia is a condition that affects your ability to communicate. It can affect your speech, as well as the way you write and understand both spoken and written language. Aphasia typically occurs suddenly after a stroke or a head injury. Jim has aphasia which is why I am referring to it now. He cannot speak, read or write. Treatments such as speech therapy can often help recover some speech and language functions over time, but many people continue to have problems communicating. This can sometimes be difficult and frustrating both for the person with aphasia and for family members. It’s important for family members to learn the best ways to communicate with their loved one. Suggestions might include the following:
Include the person with aphasia in conversations
Simplify language by using short, simple sentences
Repeat key words
Use a natural conversational manner at an adult level
Encourage all types of communication, including speech, gestures, pointing, or drawing
Don’t correct the person’s speech
Give the person plenty of time to express themselves
Help the person become involved outside the home, such as through support groups.
For some people, computers can be helpful for both communicating and improving language abilities. Unfortunately Jim’s ability to speak has not improved but we get by with gestures and pointing etc. But it can be very frustrating and impossible to have a normal conversation. I just say all that here to bring awareness to this condition. It does not mean the intellect is damaged – just the ability to communicate through word or writing. Those of us who are not affected by it should be grateful. And I am. I would find life very difficult if I could not speak, read or write. Thankfully Jim is tolerating it very bravely.
As well as it being Aphasia month, this week is Carer’s Week which is relevant in my life now too. There are lots of events planned for carers all over the country. Busy times.
Abbeyfeale Notes 20 June 2022
PILGRIMAGE TO KNOCK: The Abbeyfeale Eucharistic Adoration Committee
organised a wonderful day in Knock on Saturday last joining pilgrims from all over Ireland in attending the National Eucharistic Adoration pilgrimage. A big thank you to Kathleen Kennelly and Teresa O’Connell who organised the bus and arranged for a comfort stop in Roots Restaurant in Kilcolgan on the journey up and down where we were met with great hospitality and a fine choice of menu. Then it was onto Knock where the weather was grand and we were able to participate in all the outdoor activities and attend Mass in the Bascilica.
A word to anyone planning a trip over the next few months, the shortage of priests is also affecting Knock and there are long queues for Confessions so maybe make that your first stop when you arrive. There are also queues for getting Masses said but at least its volunteers you are dealing with there. Because the Basilica was full for the ceremonies and again because of the shortage of priests the blessing of the sick was moved to the foyer after Mass as they were trying to cater for the bus loads who had been told to return to their busses around 4.30pm. We were delighted to meet Fr. Tom McMahon late of Duagh parish in the foyer as we queued for a blessing. Our bus driver Timmy Quinn from Kilmorna was very obliging and bent over backwards to help us and there was no rushing no matter what speed us elderly ladies were moving at. So, a great day was had by all and again a huge thank you to Teresa and Kathleen who took on the onerous task of minding 30 of us.
ATHEA DRAMA https://www.athea.ie/category/news/
The Mundy sisters at their Ballybeg cottage When I cast my mind back to the summer of 1936Michael (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.
Taken from Athea News
The Way I See It
By Domhnall de Barra
I often wonder about the people we have elected to govern our country and whether we have made the right choices. I don’t suppose any of us voted for a Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael/Green coalition but that is what we got. The government seems to stumble from one blunder to another, the latest being finding a way to reward front line workers for their efforts during the pandemic. Somebody had an idea that they should be given a financial bonus and that is what it should have remained – just an idea. Unfortunately some of those in high office ran with the idea and almost promised it. It is a nice thought but totally impractical as it is almost impossible to determine who should qualify for the bonus. No sooner was it mooted than the scrambling for places at the trough took place. Gardai, taxi drivers, bus and train drivers, shop assistants and many more who worked during the crisis had a right to a claim, as they saw it. What was a bit much was the teachers unions wanting their members included even though they weren’t actually working for a lot of the time with schools closed. To be fair, it was the unions and not the teachers themselves who made the claim and I was delighted to hear many teachers on the airwaves stating that they did not want to be included. Let’s call a spade a spade; we simply can’t afford it. The government might be talking about throwing money around like confetti but we aren’t just broke, we are in serious debt. Look at all the money that has been spent since the start of the pandemic in supporting businesses and workers. It is money we didn’t have in the beginning and our national debt has now gone so high that our children’s children will be paying it back. Then there is the other idea of creating a new bank holiday (why don’t they call it what it is – a public holiday) either in November or February. Haven’t we got enough public holidays as it is? It is not a “free” day off, somebody has to pay, and again the government will have to pick up the bill for the public service. No doubt the hospitality sector will be all for it but there are a lot of small businesses out there who just couldn’t afford to give their workers an extra day off with pay or pay double or triple time for those who may have to hold the fort. No, it is not the way to proceed. Sometimes governments have to make unpopular decisions in the public interest and forget about trying to buy their way at the next election The proper way to compensate the frontline workers is to overhaul the health service so that in the future our hospitals will be properly staffed and waiting lists will be a thing of the past. This would take financial investment but that is what it is, an investment in the future of our country and the health of the nation. The two tier health scheme has to go. I am not in favour of totally free health insurance, every one should pay according to their means and it would be ridiculous to see millionaires included, but medical assistance should not depend on whether you have money or not. A couple of years ago Noreen was taken into hospital and was waiting for tests. She was in a bed in a corridor and we were told that we would be there overnight. I happened to mention to a nurse that we did have private insurance and, within ten minutes, she was put into a semi-private ward. I felt guilty because there were old people in that corridor in a far worse state than Noreen but they had to wait for a public bed even though there were plenty of empty private beds in the hospital. That is just the way things are but it shouldn’t be. There should be a national insurance scheme, run by the health service, where nobody would lose out because of lack of means. There is a line in an old song that goes “If living was a thing that money could buy, the rich would live and the poor would die”. How tragically true!
“You should never speak ill of the dead” That was drummed into us as we grew up and, to be fair, it is seldom done. The opposite is in fact the case. As soon as somebody passes they become almost saintly with all the good things being said about them. It is now customary for some family member to say a few words about their loved one at the funeral Mass and it must be a great comfort to other family members. However, I have noticed that some of these words of praise can go on for too long and go into too much detail. Sometimes, as they say, less is more and a concise contribution can have a much greater impact than a long-winded one. Why should we wait until somebody dies to show them what we think of them? As an example, there are those who have given great public service during their lives and it is only after they die that they are shown appreciation. Would it not be better if that was done while the person was alive and made aware of how much they are loved and respected. Never pass up a chance to tell a loved one how you feel about them. Too soon the day will come when they won’t be there to hear it.
Congratulations to Athea GAA on their newest venture, the tarmac walkway. I walked it the other day and it is a great improvement on the track that was there before. It gives people a very safe place to exercise away from roads that can be busy and dangerous at times. Athea GAA are very progressive and, through all the improvements they have made in recent years, they now have one of the best club pitches in the country. It is good to see that they are not just thinking of the footballers and hurlers and are not afraid to spend money on a facility that will be of benefit to all the parish. Well done and keep up the good work.
By Carrig Side-05/10/2021
by DomhnallDB under By Carrig Side
By Tom Aherne
Ardagh author Mary Kury’s new book is titled “In loving memory”. As the name suggests it is a survey of four graveyards: Clounagh, Coolcappa, Kilscannell and Rathronan and a review of Cillins/Killeens in the Parish. Each graveyard survey has a map with an index and a list of all the monuments there. The earliest gravestone is dated to 1728. It commemorates Patrick Felan owner of Cahermoyle House at that time. His descendant sold the property to Nicholas Smith in 1765, It then came into the hands of William Smith in 1774, he was grandfather of William Smith O’Brien. The most noteworthy monument is Smith O’Brien’s Mausoleum at Rathronan Graveyard
Other graves of note are the Massy Mausoleum also at Rathronan. The Conway grave in Kilscannell is the resting place of Jim Quinn’s sister. Jim was one of the finders of the Ardagh Chalice. He emigrated to Australia and is buried in Falkner Memorial Graveyard in Melbourne. There are many stones with beautiful carvings: Crucifixion’s scenes, angels, cupids and Celtic knotwork are plentiful especially in Clounagh Graveyard. This graveyard is difficult to access, and this isolation has helped conserve the stones.
Coolcappagh is a new Cemetery with the first internment taking place in 1983. It is located next to the Church car park on the site of the old Parish Church. Priests who were buried in the church have been relocated here and there are two stones to commemorate them. Many who are interred in Coolcappagh, Clounagh and Kilscannell went to school in Coolcappagh. Therefore Coolcappa Boy’s school register has been included. It lists the students who attended there from 1863 to 1907. The book will be launched on Thursday October 14, at 7pm, at Cahermoyle House Ardagh and a further launch at Rathkeale Tourist Office/The Old Court House on Thursday October 28. Tea / Coffee and light refreshments will be served. So do come along and catch up with your local history.
Bridie Murphy from Glenastar, Ardagh will launch her first book ‘Connections’ at Carrigkerry Community Centre on Sunday, October 17, at 7pm. Bridie is known far and wide for her photography and now this talented lady has used her time during Covid to compile a selection of her poems, articles and photographs in book form. Seamus O’Rourke, Leitrim, author of Standing In Gaps and many funny rural stories heard on radio and TV will perform the launch. The numbers are limited due to hall capacity, but the book will be available from Bridie and many local shops after the launch.
“Such a timeless and beautiful book you will never tire of. Bridie has captured the beauty of everyday events in this walk-through time with her gifted view of the world.” Is how singer and storyteller Frances Kennedy, Listowel describes it. Quote: “This is the perfect collection of stories, poems and photographs to while away the hours and raise the spirits.” From author Vincent McDonnell. With those two wonderful recommendations the book is eagerly looked forward to. The proceeds from the book will go to Temple Street Children’s Hospital and the Irish Air Ambulance.
Ardagh Notes from Tom Aherne Sept 2021
Saint Kieran’s Heritage Association was formed five years ago on September 1, 2016. It was to cater for the St Kieran’s area, comprising of Ardagh, Carrigkerry Coolcappa, Kilcolman, and neighbouring Townlands and was held in the Community Centre Ardagh, with 21 people present. The dictionary describes heritage as something inherited at birth and anything that has been transmitted from the past or handed down by tradition. Heritage is all around us as we go about our daily work and now is the time to preserve and record what we have before it disappears. There is an increased interest in our heritage at present and people in all areas are doing wonderful work to preserve it.
Ger Greaney, genealogist, facilitated the meeting, and Saint Kieran’s Heritage Association was formed. The officers elected were Chairperson John P O ’Sullivan, Secretary Mary Kury, and Treasurer Richard Mc Donnell, and more, officers were added at other meetings afterwards. A lot of different areas of heritage were discussed and people were asked to look at their own areas and to start recording what is around them. For example, the name of fields, bridges, crossroads, rivers, forts, Cillian’s, blessed wells, old church graveyards, which may be lesser known to the general public, and need to be preserved.
The Saint Kieran’s area contains a lot of well-known sites, Ardagh Chalice, Ballylin Ring Fort, Ballyine, Mass Rock, Glenastar Waterfall, Campaign House, Carrigkerry, Carnegie Library in Kilcolman, Dunmoylan Church, Munnamohill School, Kilbradern Graveyard, Murray’s Hill, Mannix’s Folly, The Blue Hall, Clounagh, St Kyran’s Well, Lisnacolla Castle, Ballyegna Castle, Elm Hill, and other places of interest. The aim of the Association was to record everything possible, and to mark important dates and anniversaries. A Facebook page was also set up for viewers to check the ongoing progress of the association. A lot has been achieved to date with events held to commemorate The Fenian Rising, Bishop Lacy, Ardagh Chalice, and Ballyloughane School, to name a few. Since the arrival of Covid in March 2020, all activities have ceased, and members have only participated in a few events. Mary Kury led a walk and talk around Ardagh on Saturday, August 21, and last Wednesday published a fine article about Ardagh Graveyard. With the easing of Covid restrictions hopefully activities may be able to resume in the near future.
The Way I See It
By Domhnall de Barra
The upgrading of the greenway that runs from Rathkeale to Abbeyfeale, and will eventually continue to Listowel, has created business opportunities that were not there before. Barnagh Gardens has re-opened and is full every day with tourists and those who walk or cycle the greenway stopping for a coffee or tea and to relax in the beautiful surroundings. At various stops along the way bicycles can now be rented, at a reasonable fee, to individuals and families who want to combine sightseeing with exercise. The bikes come in all shapes and sizes to suit everyone. They even have ones with little trailers that would seat two toddlers and are covered from the rain by a plastic hood. I walk from Abbeyfeale towards Templeglantine a couple of times a week and I have noticed a great change since the new surface was laid. There are now far more cyclists than pedestrians and, at last, there are rules to be followed by all users. I think they have got it wrong though because pedestrians are asked to walk on the left hand side of the path. This means that the cyclists, who ride on the left as well, approach the walkers from behind. Surely it would be better if pedestrians walked on the right hand side facing the oncoming bicycles. Anyway, it is lovely to see this facility being used by locals and visitors alike. The other day I was overtaken by a young lady on a bike that had no saddle or no structure to hold one. It meant she had to keep standing on the pedals with no chance of resting the body. It reminded me of when I first learned to cycle as a young lad in Cratloe. My mother’s bike usually rested against the gable end of the house and I couldn’t wait to try it out. The first few attempts ended in disaster with both myself and the bike on the ground. At last I got a bit of momentum going and managed to balance as the bike raced down the hill. Unfortunately I lost control and crashed into the hen house, which was not a very pleasant landing. I had no major wounds but the house was damaged and the handlebars of the bike were twisted. That wasn’t too bad until my mother appeared waving a sally rod to make sure I never forgot the incident and would not be so foolish in future. The few slaps did me no harm, neither did they deter me from trying out the bicycle when her back was turned and eventually I managed to cycle all around the small field. I was so small that my backside couldn’t reach the saddle and, like the young lady on the greenway, I stood on the pedals and cycled like that for a couple of years. In those days a bicycle was a kind of a luxury and had to be minded. I remembered this when I came upon another couple last Saturday mending a puncture by the side of the road. Fixing a puncture was a necessary skill long ago. We didn’t have the money to replace tyres when they got worn so eventually they would pick up punctures on roads that weren’t as smooth as they are today and we had to be prepared to take off the tyre, pull out the tube, smooth off the affected area, removing any thorns or other sharp objects, apply a sticking solution and covering it with a patch. Then we had to wait while the solution set before putting the tube back inside the tyre and pumping up the bike. The older the tyres, the more patches were applied. I remember having one tube that had so many patches that it looked like it had a rash. When I started secondary school in Abbeyfeale I was still on my mother’s bike and had to wait a couple of years to get the first bike I could call my own. At first I used to take great care of it, wiping it down and oiling the chain and all the moving parts but, as time went on, I got a bit careless and wanted to move on to “three-speed-gear”. Ah, how simple life was back then. It is great to see renewed interest in cycling, a great means of exercise and an alternative mode of transport to the cars that use fossil fuels and are soon to be banned. My son Danjoe lives in Copenhagen and on a visit there I noticed that the place is full of cyclists. They have their own cycle paths on the main streets and have right of way over motorists at junctions. Maybe more could be done at government level to promote cycling in this country. Many of us could do with the exercise and we would all be healthier.
Heartiest congratulations to GAA Chairman, Paul Curry, and all the other Mayo natives in the area on Mayo’s fantastic win over Dublin on Sunday last. It was indeed a great achievement and it was fitting that it should be Mayo that eventually put a halt to the Dub’s gallop. Having said that, Dublin have been a fantastic side, probably the best the game has ever seen, but all good things come to and end and Mayo await either Kerry or Tyrone in the final. Nobody would begrudge Mayo getting their hands on Sam after such a long time having come so close on several occasions, but they will have to earn it.
The events unfolding so rapidly in Afghanistan are frightening. The speed at which the Taliban took over the country surprised everyone and it begs that question as to why the government forces didn’t put up a better, or any, resistance. The evacuation of American troops left the door open and the Taliban needed no invitation to walk through. America learned nothing from the Vietnam war. They went into Afghanistan to wipe out the Taliban but only succeeded in killing some of the leaders while they were no match for the guerrillas in the mountains. Twenty years later, with thousands of lives lost, the Taliban are stronger than ever and are going to inflict their religious beliefs on the community. Already we hear horrifying tales of murder, torture and rape. These terrorists treat animals better than women who, in their eyes should not be seen outside the house and have no place in society. They took the country with the type of savagery that was seen when the Russian forces entered Berlin at the end of the war in 1945. No woman was safe then as is the case now in Afghanistan. Ireland will try to provide asylum for some of those who may be looking to flee the country and we should welcome them with open arms. I know there will be those who say “look after our own first” but, in comparison to those unfortunate people, we have the life of Riley.
Does anybody know when electricity came to Athea Village? The rural area got electricity in 1956.
If you know do please contact us at 068 42533 or 087 6758762
The Way I See It
By Domhnall de Barra
I met a neighbour while I was out walking the other day and we got to talking about the freedom the top of the Cnoceens gives us especially during a time when people in towns and cities were confined to back gardens not big enough to swing the proverbial cat in. She said: “I never thought I would say how lucky I was to live in the bog”. I know exactly what she meant. When we were growing up the bog was thought of as wilderness by town and city dwellers and those who lived on more fertile land. There were different types of land; good grassland, usually limestone based, mixed land with some wet rushy fields as well as good arable land, and bogland which was useless for growing grass or hay. There were mainly two types of people in our area; those who owned land and those who did not. Most of those who didn’t own their own land got employment from the bigger land owners but, on the verge of the bogland, there were several small holdings with very mixed land, who augmented their meagre earnings by working in the bog during the summer months. People from the bogland areas were thought of as stupid, to put it mildly. To call someone a “bog man” or “bog woman” was not at all complementary. Two brothers from Ardagh were members of the Limerick county senior panel a good few years ago. When they would arrive at training at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, the manager, who hailed from the city would say: “the boys from the bog are landed”. I remember, quite a few years ago, doing a video on the music of West Limerick and Athea in particular, which was aired on Comhaltas live on U– Tube. I spoke about and played the polkas and slides of the area and played a few of them as examples. I got very favourable comments on line except for one that stood out. It simply said “typical bog man and his music”. My first reaction was anger but, the more I thought about it, the more I realised that he was, unwittingly, paying me a compliment. If I am a typical bog man then I am very proud of that fact. Our bogs are rare and special, full of flora and fauna and the most invigorating fresh air in the world. There is a certain smell in the bog that is subtle but very pleasant. Many of you will remember the taste of tea in the bog. It is the best tea you will ever drink. We always call bogland “mountain” even though it may not be that elevated. That is how Athea got its name from the Irish Áth an tSléibhe, “The Ford of the Mountains” because it is surrounded on all sides by bogland. As my mother used to say, “people from the mountain are great to make out” and indeed they are, some of them could give lessons on the art of survival. It is a pity that the turf cutting is coming to an end. Even if there wasn’t a green agenda, it will be all cut away in a few years. It would be nice to think that it will be left as it is but I fear that it will all get planted with even more Sitka Spruce or some other fast-growing trees. We should enjoy it while we can.
Talking about beautiful places, I was playing in a golf competition in Killarney on Sunday afternoon last. As I was about to take a shot I spotted some movement out of the corner of my eye and next thing a big deer passed in front of me taking no notice whatsoever. They roam free around the golf course and have no fear of humans. There was also an abundance of rabbits but what fascinated me most of all were the crows. I was on one green, having left my bag about 330 yards to the left when I saw a crow perch on the bag. He opened the zip with his beak and pulled out what he thought was a chocolate bar but it was only the wrapping I was taking back to the bin. The Killarney members told me that they have become quite adept at thieving like this and they pick on unsuspecting visitors as they know the locals are on to them. Isn’t nature wonderful
I was passing the sewage plant on the Glin road, the other day, when I spotted a skip lorry inside collecting a skip that was under a chute. I didn’t take much notice until that lorry passed me as I was crossing over the bridge near the office. The smell of raw sewage was overpowering and spread throughout the village. Surely it is not legal to transport raw sewage in an open skip. I thought it should at least be in an enclosed tanker and I dread to think what would happen if that lorry had an accident. The water section of Limerick Council have questions to answer.
The older you get, the more friends you lose. Two of mine died in the past week. Back in the ’eighties, when there was a very bad depression, myself and Billy Sullivan worked with each other to try and keep a roof over our heads. We both had old lorries and a couple of machines and spent more time doing repairs than actually making money from them but we survived and had many good and bad days together. What we had we shared and eventually got on our feet and went on to live better lives. Billy drove a truck until he recently retired and, fittingly, it led the way before him to the church. He leaves me with great memories
The second friend was a more recent acquaintance made through our love of golf. Mike O’Connor, originally from Keylod, Moyvane, was a member in Castleisland Golf Club for many years and we played together regularly, especially in the seniors competition every Monday. We were also members of the Billy O’Sullivan competition team that represented the club. He was always enquiring about people from Athea that he knew from the time when he drove the milk lorry for Kerry Co-op. He used to say, “be sure and let me know if anyone is dead”. Alas it is now his turn but I will miss him as a great friend and a wonderful gentleman who never had a bad word to say about anyone. May they both rest in peace.
By Carrig Side-29/06/2021
by Domhnall DB under By Carrig Side
By Tom Aherne
There is a Holy Well in Clonagh (Reens Ardagh) that is about halfway between the road and Clonagh graveyard. Saint Kyran’s well is a small spring that is enclosed by some rough stone. There was a statue over the well, but this has been taken down. The pattern was held on September 9. In his work “Holy Wells in Co. Limerick” Kevin Danaher stated that the rounds were still made in 1955. Small offerings were also left at the well. The water is believed to cure eye ailments.
John O’Donovan (from 1840) tells us that the poorer members of the district used to do the stations here. Legends about the well are many and varied. The well moved when clothes were washed in it. A woman who was praying at the well was interrupted by a man who later died. There is reputedly an underground passage that leads from the well to the graveyard.
Long ago there lived a man who dreamt that there was gold hidden in the churchyard at Clonagh. His mother who believed in dreams, forced him against his will to dig for it. At last, he went to dig for it at night. He worked so as not to be seen by the neighbours. After digging for hours, he came to a flag. Under it he found an amount of beetles.
Those he put into his bag to give his mother a fright. In the morning when she arose, she saw the bag, and she was delighted, and got holy water and went over to it and shook it on it. On opening the bag, she found it full of gold coins instead of it being full of beetles. The above story was written by Maureen Mullane, aged 12 years in 1935, and included in the School Folklore Collection It was told to her by her father, a farmer, whose address was Riddlestown, Rathkeale.
Doctor Kieran Murphy, Athea has issued a letter, to the Carrigkerry Community Centre Committee, regarding the closure of the GP Satellite Clinic in Carrigkerry Community Centre. Since the onset of the pandemic and the first lockdown last year he has suspended his attendance. His reason was that it was a walk in centre with just the doctor in attendance without reception or secretarial support, and it was not possible to maintain social distancing and adequate hygiene and PPE standards. As it is his intention to retire this coming December and as it is unlikely that it will be safe to resume attendance at Carrigkerry possibly before the autumn, he has taken the decision that his attendance should be suspended permanently. He has been in contact with the HSE to inform them of his intention.
He goes on to say it has been both a pleasure and a privilege to serve the community of Carrigkerry since 1984. Unfortunately the current pandemic has had a dramatic effect on many aspects of our society and many things will not be the same again. Please accept my thanks and appreciation for the assistance and support of the committee over the years. On behalf of all his patients, community thanks is expressed for the service he has provided.
From Tom Aherne
By Carrig Side-02/03/2021
by DomhnallDB under By Carrig Side
By Tom Aherne
Congratulations to Sophie Hennessy, Ballyloughane, Carrigkerry, daughter of Mary and Dan who received a Rachel Kenneally Memorial Award. Rachel from Tipperary passed away aged 26 back in 2018. She played Gaelic football for her county and the bursary (value €750) is funded by Munster LGFA and one student from each of the six counties was chosen for the award. Sophie is a first year student in Mary Immaculate College Limerick training to become a primary teacher. She plays football with Old Mill, and Limerick junior football team, and will perform the role of ambassador, with the other five award winners to champion ladies’ football in their club, county and province of Munster over the next 12 months on behalf of MLGFA. Sophie’s grandfather Sean “Foxy” O’Connor was an outstanding hurler with the local club, Knockaderry in senior hurling and he also represented his county in National League, and Tournament matches.
The death has taken place of Tom Kennelly, Templeathea East, Athea, and Kerrikyle, Ardagh on Wednesday, February 17 at Saint Michael’s Nursing Home, Caherconlish, Co. Limerick. Predeceased by his parents Ellen and John Kennelly (Ardagh), and cousin Mike Enright (Athea). Sadly, missed by his cousins Margaret Enright and family, Jack and Tom Enright, Nora Philips, Bridie Liston, the management, staff and residents of Saint Michael’s Nursing Home, Saint Joseph’s and O’Connell House Residential Care Centre, Newcastle West, cousins, neighbours and friends. The Requiem Mass took place in Saint Molua’s Church, Ardagh on Friday, February 19 at 11am, followed by burial immediately after in Templeathea Cemetery, Athea.
Tom, an only child, grew up with his parents in a house situated on the border of Kerrikyle, and Glensharrold. His parents were small farmers and Tom attended Kilcolman National School and was a very bright student. He played games with his school friends, and the other local boys, and he was a lot taller than all. When his parents died the farm was sold to Patie Wrenn from Clounleharde, and Tom moved away. In later years Tom was based in O’Connell House Residential Care Centre Newcastle West, and he was a familiar figure around the town running errands for staff, and fellow residents. Tom was a kind and gentle figure who was around the 70 year mark, and he will be sadly missed by all. May he rest in Peace.
Back to the Future
By Domhnall de Barra
Happy New Year to you all. Even that sounds a bit strange the way things are at the moment when we have no idea what tomorrow will bring. If someone had told me, when we faced the first lockdown back in March, that we would be in a worse situation at the start of 2021, I don’t know how I would have reacted. I thought it would last for a couple of months at the most and we would be back to normal by the Summertime. Hindsight is a great thing and it is now very easy to blame the government for opening up the country too early but they had a very difficult choice to make at the time and, if we all did as we were supposed to do, maybe we wouldn’t be in the position we are now. Certain sections of the community decided that they knew better and refused to wear masks or maintain social distancing while others continued to party like there was no tomorrow, especially over the Christmas period. Their actions have resulted in a catastrophic rise in the number of cases, people in hospital and ICUs. We hear these statistics on the news every evening but behind these numbers are real people. Those who died are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters and the sad thing is that their deaths were entirely avoidable. The selfishness of some has resulted in too many broken hearted families and, least we think the misbehaviour was only in the cities and big towns; it is not. It is right here in our own community. I passed a house the other day that normally has three people living in it but there were eight cars parked outside. Now, you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to work out that the government advice given a few nights before that was being totally ignored by those visiting and mixing in this house. This is not an isolated incident, as anecdotal evidence would suggest, so there is no need to point the finger elsewhere – we are to blame ourselves. I know it is difficult at times and we all get fed up of not being able to see our families and friends but, if we are ever to get off this vicious circle of lockdowns we simply must fall into line with the health experts’ advice. If we can knuckle down for a few weeks we can make a difference and, don’t forget, the longer we go on the more people will have been vaccinated and the nearer we will be to returning to normal life.
This is a great time of year for looking forward and backwards. The usual new year resolutions will be made and soon forgotten but lately we have had plenty of time to reflect on the past and ask ourselves some questions. One of those questions came to mind lately and it is “what is you biggest regret in life?”. I thought about my young days and what if I had taken a different path in life but I soon rejected that because I probably would not then have married Noreen and have the great family we enjoy. Though it was difficult at times I wouldn’t change a whole lot because I have had such a variety of jobs from teaching to working for the likes of Murphy’s and Wimpy’s in England. It would take far too long to list all the various positions I have held except to say that I met some great, and not so great, people in all of them. I will say that I have met far more intelligent men, labouring in trenches all over England, than government ministers I had to do business with when I was President of Comhaltas. So, what is my biggest regret? It is the amount of time and money I wasted in pubs over the years. Now, don’t get me wrong, anyone who knows me understands that I like a visit to the tavern now and again and there is nothing wrong with that but I grew up in a time where there was far too much drinking, especially in England. People who were living in digs had no place to go in the evenings after work so the pub became a kind of second home. This led to long sessions of drinking that left some permanently broke and depending on the “sub” to carry on. Many of these men died young due to organ failure and the conditions they worked in. It was not as bad in Ireland because there wasn’t as much money in circulation. My father had a lorry in the years after the 2nd world war when there wasn’t any coal to be had and turf was in big demand. Lorry owners made a fortune at the time and could afford to spend long hours at the bar counter. I have many memories, as a young boy, of waiting in the lorry at night or sitting in the corner of a bar, supping Nash’s lemonade and eating Marietta biscuits waiting for my father and his friends to finish their session. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to smoke and drink and of course I didn’t. As soon as I started going to secondary school I took up smoking. There was a shop near the school that would sell a single cigarette for two old pence. If you were really stuck and only had a penny the proprietor would cut the cigarette in half with a blade. Soon after that I started to drink. There was a certain pub where we would be sold a half pint of Guinness or a bottle of “Time” beer. Today that sounds really bad but, back then, smoking was not thought to be harmful, indeed it was supposed to make you relaxed, and Guinness was good for you. So we got into bad habits at an early age and some of us went on to drink and smoke a way more than was regarded as normal. Being a musician did not help either as most of the gigs were in pubs and it wasn’t unknown for customers to leave a drink for you if they liked what you were playing. The fact that you were playing in the pub meant that you were entitled, as “staff”, to stay after hours and of course I did, sometimes until dawn of day. That is the one thing I would change because, apart from the health and financial hazards, it took away valuable time I could have spent with my family. We can’t, however, change anything that happened in the past but we can learn from our mistakes and pass on a bit of advice to those coming after us. I look forward to the day I will be able to have a few drinks, especially with my musical friends, and enjoying the great atmosphere that is typical of the Irish pub but you won’t catch me throwing it back ‘till all hours of the morning.
I want to complement Fr. Duggan, and his colleagues in Abbeyfeale as well, for the way they looked after the needs of their parishioners at Christmas time. The webcams have made a huge difference and I would say there are now more people attending Mass, albeit online, than ever before. This is one of the best things about social media and it is amazing how quickly some of the older generation have adapted to smart phones and laptops and are quite skilled at finding the site they require. One woman told me lately; “it is like having your own private Mass”. They are also great for having face time with family and loved ones so, 4-+ though they have other uses that can be harmful, they can be instruments for good in all our lives. Stay safe out there.
HISTORY August 2020
John Mikes Bar
MEADE’S FORGE ON MAIN STREET
When people frequent the bar for the first time and make their way into ‘Jack & Nora’s Kitchen’ to the rear of the bar, one of the first things that catches their eye is this beautifully hand-painting of a thatched cottage, expertly painted by Mary Stenson Shanahan. We’re often asked about it, here’s the history behind this somewhat iconic painting of Main Streets last standing thatched cottage.
In the painting are Patie Quirke (right), Patie Meade (centre) and Jimmy Culhane (left). This painting is based on a photograph which was used as a postcard for Abbeyfeale for many years.
Originally, all the houses on Main Street in Abbeyfeale were thatched. Gradually, in the late 1880’s the houses were replaced by slated dwellings. The Meade Family did not follow suite and change their dwelling. This thatched dwelling, incorporating the forge, remained as a link with the past. The house belonged to Patie Meade and his sister Mag Meade. Patie was a blacksmith and his forge was a social centre for all who came on business or merely to exchange news and jokes. The forge was a busy place. The thud of the hammer on the anvil and the hiss of steam were familiar sounds to the passersby.
The implements the blacksmith used were - a bellow for blowing the fire and increasing the heat, a hand hammer for driving nails, an anvil for barring the shoes resting on while turning them, a rash and file for paring the hoofs of the animals, pinects for withdrawing shoes from animals and a tank for holding cold water.
The blacksmith played an important role in the community; he not only shod horses, ponies and donkeys as a farrier, but also repaired agricultural implements such as barrows, spades and ploughs, shod wheels and often made gates and railings.
Meade’s forge was demolished in February 1979. Patie and his sister had already gone to their reward. Golden Scissors Hair Salon, next to the Fire Station occupies the site of the former Meade Family Forge.
There was also a forge at Bridge Street that was owned by the Begley Family (opposite Twohigs Supervalue). Another forge was located at St. Ita’s Road (just below Kelly’s old secondary school entrance) that was owned by the Lane family. Paddy Brosnan from Cordal worked in his forge below the old Boy’s school, now Teach na Féile at the end of New Street.
Credit: Echoes of Abbeyfeale
By Domhnall de Barra July 2020
This was the week we looked forward to long ago because it was the first week of the summer holidays. On the last day of school there was an air of excitement until we put the bags on our backs and ran back the road for home as if we had escaped from prison. Children love going to school now but, in our day, it was a different story. I spent many, many years attending school and college and I have to admit that I hated every one of them, with the exception of “station” days, sports days and school outings. (The “stations” were held in the school so that people from the locality could attend Mass and pay their dues to the clergy). Cratloe School was a tall, grey forbidding building ran by teachers who believed in the saying “spare the rod and spoil the child”. It was rarely a day went by when we weren’t punished for some misdemeanour and I am convinced that some of the teachers took out their frustrations on us. You can imagine how we felt when we had two whole months ahead of us free from school and all that went with it. It was the time also when farmers started to cut the hay. Unlike today, nobody started cutting until July came around. There was no forced grass in those days; the only help it got was from farmyard manure that was spread in the spring. I can still hear the click-click-click of the horse-drawn mowing machine as we cautiously peered over the ditch. There was usually an older man , sitting inside the gap, edging blades that would be replaced every so often. Although there was such a thing as a one-horse mowing machine, the custom in this part of the country was to use two horses. They were fine strong beasts who never complained as they pulled the heavy machine all day. I loved watching the cut hay falling in swarths from the machine and lying neatly in rows. It was different hay in those days because it was mingled with wild flowers and plants that have been killed off in recent years by the use of artificial fertiliser. As kids we spent a lot of time playing in meadows, especially after the cocks were made and woe betide us if, in our boisterous play, we managed to knock one of them. There was another treat in store when the hay was being drawn in; riding on the “float”. The float was a flat haycart that could tip up to allow a cock of hay to be winched on board. We would find a seat behind the cock and ride back and forth all day, if the man in charge allowed us. Hanging around the meadow had other benefits. it was the practice at the time to bring the tea to the meadow so that the work would not be too delayed. The basket contained buttered bread, cuts of bacon and strong hot tea in a bottle covered by a woolen sock to keep it warm. We were never left out and there was something magical about that meal. You have never really tasted tea until you drink it from a bottle in a sock in the meadow or bog. ‘Twas easy please us in those days but we didn’t know the meaning of the word “bored”. Days weren’t long enough for us to do all the fun things we did in summer and we had to be called in as night approached, much to our great disappointment. By todays standards we were poor but we did not know that – nobody told us. We didn’t need money or possessions because our imaginations were rich with possibilities. Yes, being young in the summer holidays was great and we enjoyed every minute of it.
At last we have a new government and I wish them well in trying to get the country back on its feet after the ravages of Covid 19. There is much on the media about the appointment of ministers and the lack of representation from Limerick to Donegal and through Tipperary to Waterford. It may come back to haunt them yet because Sinn Fein now have a golden opportunity from opposition to make all the right noises and moves and mop up the votes of some diehard Fianna Fail and Fine Gael supporters who did not agree with the joining of the two parties in government or are up in arms about the overlooking of some of their TDs who would have expected to be handed a portfolio. they will however have to stop blatently flouting the health regulations as they did during the week when hundreds attended the funeral of Bobby Storey in Belfast. It must be galling for some people who have had to miss the funerals of their own loved ones to watch this display lead by major SinnFéin leaders. There cannot be one law for them and another for the rest of us. Historic times indeed but the day may not be far off when we may see Sinn Féin in Government and our first female Taoiseach. Watch this space!!
Congratulations to Patrick O’Donovan and Niall Collins who were both given junior ministerial appointments during the week.
Glin County Limerick Books.
There are many publications about Glin and by Glin people and most of these are in Glin Library.
The Knights of Glin – Seven Centuries of Change
and editions of
The Glencorbry Chronicle
that include the following articles:
Glin Heritage Centre by Mary M Moore
Food for Thought by James O’Donovan
Glin Workhouse by Bernard Stack
Hamilton Terrace by Kathleen Fitzgerald
The Treasures of Glin Castle by Desmond FitzGerald
Glin Tennis Club by Margaret O’Leary
The Death of John Murray by Thomas J Byrne
Glin During the Great Hunger by Tom Donovan
Roibeard Breathnach? Anseo a mhuinteoir! by John A Culhane
Glin Bridewell by Tom Donovan
Some Thoughts on Religious Practices and the Survival of Faction by Patrick Coleman
The Glin Drowning Tragedy by Tom Donovan
Typhoid at Glin by John Curtin
The Local Fishing Industry by Jason Windle
The Boston Pilot by Tom Donovan
Spanish Letter by Margaret O’Leary
Book Reviews by Tom Donovan
The Lime Kilns of Glin by Bernard Stack
Micheal O’Longain by Catherine O’Connor
Prehistoric Structures at Ballyhahill by Gerard Curtin
Grave Dispute at Glin by Tom Donovan
A Centenary Record of Famine in West Limerick by John Curtin
The Four Brothers – Eighteenth Centtury Knights of Glin by Thomas J Byrne
A Big Top Down Under by Tom Donovan
Some Recollections of Old Glin by John O’Shaughnessy
Parson Weldon’s Ledger by Tom Donovan
Home Thoughts by John Curtin
Two Popular Glin Tunes by Tom Donovan
Business Survey of Glin 1926-1942 by Christina Craft
Some Old Glin Wills by Tom Donovan and Anna Costello
May 23 2020
by Domhnall de Barra
This week we have articles form Marian Harnett (Abbeyfeale Notes), Tom Aherne (by Carrig Side), Kathleen Mullane (Kathleen’s Corner) Peg Prendeville (Knockdown News) and Jer Kennelly (Knockanure Notes).
I had a few enquiries about publishing anniversary notices, thank you prayers, novenas etc. Yes, we can publish those as well as any items for sale, notices etc. Email them to me or just drop them through the letter box in Athea. I call every day to pick up mail etc.
The death has taken place of Nora Fitzgerald (nee Shine) formerly of Dirreen, The Hill, Upper Athea and Waterford City. Predeceased by her husband Tom. Nora’s passing is deeply regretted by her sons, daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren, son in law, daughters in law and all her Athea relations. May she rest in peace
With the phased return to work, some of our CE Scheme workers are back in business. At the moment it is those who work outside and we are limited to the number who can be employed at any one time. Safety measures have been put in place and already the sign of their work can be seen, especially in the two graveyards. Thanks to those who volunteered to keep the place looking tidy during the lock down. It will be a while before we get back to normal but we will do our best with the resources we have.
People from all over the world logged on to Athea Tidy Towns Facebook page, last Sunday, to witness Mass in Athea Church. Fr. Tony deserves our gratitude for making this possible and we hope it continues. It is a great comfort to the faithful in these challenging times. There is only one problem: there is no collection! It is difficult to see how the clergy can continue without the revenue from the weekly collection plates. They still have the same expenses, such as the upkeep of the buildings etc., and they, of course, have to provide for themselves. Some mechanism should be found to facilitate donations to the Church. If people donated what they usually gave weekly it would solve the problem. Food for thought.
An incident that was reported on the media last week reminded me of days gone by. When Boris Johnson decided to relax the restrictions in the UK and allow sports like golf, tennis and fishing to resume, Scotland did not agree and kept their lockdown going. As a result , on a river that divides England and Scotland, English anglers were out in force on the southern side while their Scottish counterparts could only look on in envy from the opposite bank. That took me back to a time, mid-way through the last century, when nearly all the people in this neck of the woods were practising Roman Catholics. In those days fast and abstinence were strictly enforced, especially during Lent when just one meal a day was allowed plus two collations. A collation is “a light meal allowed on fast days in place of lunch or supper” ( I had to look in the dictionary for that!). The collation could not be over a certain few ounces and I remember my parents weighing out their meagre portions with a weighing scale. At that time there was also prohibition on the eating of meat on Friday which became a day for eating fish instead. One of my neighbours, a devout man, would not dream of eating meat on Fridays so he fried sausages instead!! In his book they weren’t meat at all. Fasting from midnight the previous night was also required of those who were about to receive Holy Communion. Bearing in mind that transport was limited at the time and most people walked or cycled to Mass, many would be fasting from midnight to noon the following day. They definitely earned their rewards. Eventually the laws were relaxed and eating meat on a Friday was no longer banned but it was not done on a unilateral basis. It was left to each diocese to decide when they abolished the obligation. Kerry diocese had moved before Limerick so, for a while, those living in Kerry could eat meat on a Friday but their neighbours in Limerick could not. The river Feale divides the two counties and at the time it was a great source of income for salmon fishermen from around Abbeyfeale. Salmon were plentiful and there was a ready market for them so, from the season’s opening on the 1st of March, the banks would be lined with anglers. They fished all day and took packed lunches with them. Bill Cotter, a great character and wit, was fishing with a group on the Limerick side of the river one day but, when it came to lunch time, his friends were surprised to see him crossing over to the other bank. They were wondering what he was up to until he pulled out a fine cut of cold bacon and began to make a sandwich for himself. It was Friday so Bill announced that since he was now on Kerry soil he was entitled to eat meat while the boys in Limerick could not. You could not make it up if you tried.
Fr Michael Noonan has been in touch with the following update. Mass will be streamed live via Facebook from Ardagh Parochial House on Saturdays at 7.30pm from this Saturday and on Sunday at 10.30am. Also Mass at 9.30am on weekdays, and the Rosary on Saturday mornings at 10.30am.The contact link is https://www.facebook.com/100456194998744/live/
Know your 5K is a new initiative from the Heritage Council and National Museum of Ireland. It is as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and what people see in the vicinity of their own 5K locality. They are inviting readers to share their discoveries and insights about the hidden heritage found in peoples own homes and locality. Heritage is a very broad term including archaeology and architecture like ancient monuments, old graveyards or historic buildings. It would be a nice project for members of Saint Kieran’s Heritage Association to participate in. They could share all this information at future talk nights. You can find out more information about Know Your 5K at www.ouririshheritage.org/content/category/archive/place/knowyour5k
HISTORY: Saint Kieran’s GAA Club whose catchment area includes Ardagh/Carrigkerry and Coolcappa/ Kilcolman parishes, was formed in May 1972, following Carrigkerry’s County Junior Football Championship win. Before this since the GAA was founded football and hurling teams from the area played under all the different parish names. The time has now arrived to include all the material that is available from the four areas and beyond together in book form in a complete club history.
A small group of people have come together to oversee the project during the current lockdown of all club activities. This is a window of opportunity to put the wheels in motion, as the time frame is just two years. Many club members may use this time to recall their association with the club, over the years. The history will include a memories section , recalling the successes, and disappointments, the personalities involved, and companionships formed within the club over the years.
All are welcome to share their recollections be they passed players, club officers, or loyal supporters, with a special appeal to the elder generation. The West and County winning Captains are invited to share their thoughts and memories of their big days. The role of the dual player, and players that came from other clubs, or went and joined other clubs, would make interesting reading. The carnival matches and tournament games were legendary with many incidents worth recalling. The many dinner dances, club functions, and Scór successes were all part of the club’s story and are worth recalling.
This work can commence now and be submitted to the club in the coming weeks. The club would appreciate 600 words or thereabouts, and ideally your contribution by email, but a written memory can be transcribed afterwards. People may be spring cleaning at present, and they may come across old newspaper match reports, cuttings, match programmes and other memorabilia of interest. These can be stored in a safe place until required and photographs would also be most welcome in time and can be scanned and returned.
This is a major club project to record for posterity the dedication, and contribution of men and women in most households within the parishes, and all help will be greatly appreciated. Since last week’s notes appeared a few people have been fast off the mark and submitted some lovely reminiscences. It is planned to have the club history ready in time to launch it to mark the jubilee of Saint Kieran’s in two years’ time.
Bits and Pieces
by Domhnall de Barra
I have a nasty old cold at the moment which is more annoying than painful. There’s lots of coughing, tightness in the chest and a little factory that keeps churning out mucus at an alarming rate!. Usually, when this happens to me, I am over it in a couple of days but this time it has been with me for more than three weeks. A visit to the doctor has provided me with some medication so, fingers crossed I will be back to my old self (and a lot less grumpy) in the near future. Because of the cold and the terrible weather, I was housebound over the weekend, no golf, but at least I had some company. Danjoe and his family were on a short visit from Copenhagen so we had plenty of time to chat and catch up. We watched a few matches on TV and it got me thinking about the futility of playing field games at this time of the year. On Sunday, Clare and Laois were playing in Ennis in the middle of storm Dennis. Hats off to the players who togged out in such conditions but what did this encounter achieve? With the storm force wind, rain, hailstone and soggy underground conditions there was little room for exhibitions of skill with most possession being gained by mistakes that were unavoidable. Even still we got glimpses of what these great athletes are capable of but wouldn’t it have been much better if the game was played at a later date? There is too much competition at this time of the year. We have just finished minor challenges like the McGrath Cup, which was at one stage a competition for the weaker counties. It now has no real meaning but it forces teams to go into training at a very early stage. Remember that, in the middle of the Summer, there will be very little activity as teams get removed from the championship. The league was once a high profile competition but it is now treated as a chance to experiment with new players and nobody seems to mind if they don’t win it. I would favour a system where the league and championship were combined with the country divided evenly into four divisions who would compete on a league basis but that the top two teams in each division would progress to the championship. It would cut down the length of the season and would leave more time for club matches. There is the old argument about the provincial finals but, when you look at it, they are not really on an equal basis. In hurling, for example, there is no championship in Connaught and a very limited one in Ulster because of the amount of teams taking part. In football there are plenty of teams but there are more teams taking part in Leinster than Munster and Connaught put together. It could still be possible for provincial finals to take place with the best two teams in the league system. Better heads than mine will be needed but something must be done to spare players from having to try and perform in bad conditions at the worst time of the year.
The play in Athea is over again for another year and it was a great success. The hall was full for every performance, including the first night, something we have never before seen. I enjoyed my visit and I must applaud the actors from Athea Drama Group who gave great performances. Indeed it was the quality of their acting which rescued what was a play with very little substance. There is a great following for amateur dramatics at the moment as evidenced by the large crowds that attended. It is great for local actors who work so hard for months in search of perfection. There are many long cold nights spent going over and over the same scenes as well as the time spent at home learning all the lines. It takes huge commitment but it is all worthwhile when the curtain goes up and adrenalin starts flowing. At the final curtain, when the crowd are showing their appreciation, there is a great feeling of satisfaction, elation and sheer joy. I think what makes Athea a bit more special is the work of the backroom team. No detail is ignored providing a set and props with sound and lighting second to none. When I was watching, I would have given anything to be up there on that stage again. Congratulations to all and already looking forward to next year.
When Danjoe was home last week we got talking about several topics, as we do with the aid of a couple of single malts, and of course the state of the country got a good airing. The cost of housing and the exorbitant rents being charged, especially in the major cities, came up and he told me something that surprised me. In Denmark they do not have property bubbles or the boom and bust graphs that we have here. Though the cost of housing is not cheap, it is still within people’s budgets and rent prices do not fluctuate like here. One of the reasons for this is the fact that Danish people are entitled to own one house only. If you own a house, you must live in it. It cuts out the speculators and the vulture funds who buy up property to rent at the expense of families who are trying to get on the property ladder. I thought it was a brilliant idea and would make huge changes if it was applied here. I am however a realist and I know there are too many vested interests in the corridors of power to allow a gravy train to leave the station for the last time. He told me a lot more about their system that I haven’t room for here but I might return to it in the future. What I am sure of is the fact that we should be looking towards Scandinavia for our modus operandi than towards the failed capital systems of the western world that make billionaires of a few and paupers of the majority.
Time for Change
By Domhnall de Barra
When I was much younger, and working as hard as I could, I looked forward, in my mind, to the day I would reach 65 and be able to retire. Like many another I had to earn my bread by the sweat of my brow and, over the years, I have had many different jobs from teaching to digging trenches, driving all kinds of machinery, long distance lorry driving and bus driving, pipe laying, brick laying, electro plating, cultivating roses, piano tuning, playing music, supervising engineering projects overseas, working as a full time organiser for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, supervising FAS schemes, and many more as well as doing some sub-contracting and owning my own businesses ending up with printing. Not having a silver spoon in my mouth when I was born I started from scratch and Noreen and myself toiled to pay off a mortgage we got from Limerick County Council to build our own home in Cratloe in 1975. Along with this we had to put the children through college without the aid of grants so, for many years, I worked during the day and played music or taught music at night. This is no sob story as I enjoyed what I was doing but I always wished I had a little more time so you can understand why I looked forward to being 65. In the early days that seemed light years away but gradually the birthdays came and went and the years flew by, getting shorter it seemed each time, until the day came when I celebrated that noted landmark birthday. However, now that it had arrived I wasn’t ready for it and didn’t feel any different to what I had always felt so retirement was put firmly on the back burner. You could say I was eligible but not ready! By now, the house was paid for and the children had grown up and graduated so there wasn’t the same pressure to work so hard but I wanted to get up in the morning and have something to do for the day. Thank God for the health that saw me through my life. I had an anaesthetic for the first time last Friday when I had veins removed from my legs. Gradually, over the past few years I have noticed myself slowing down a little. I look in the mirror and see an older man looking back at me. The hair is almost gone and there are more wrinkles by the day but that does not bother me in the least. I do, however, realise that the time has now come for me to slow down even more and curtail some of my activities. Since I returned from England in 1972, I have immersed myself in local organisations. I am proud to say I was instrumental in bringing 10 Fleadh Cheoils to Athea since then and it looks like there will be another one next year. We also had a few TradFéiles which brought further boosts to the local economy. I can also look back with a little satisfaction on my years with Athea Drama Group, Cairde Duchais and Athea Community Council. It was a labour of love and an opportunity to serve the community and help to enhance our parish, a place I truly love for its landscape and caring people. But, all things come to an end and I have made up my mind that my time to retire has finally arrived, not at 65 but at 75 which is my next birthday. I will also be married 50 years in February. The energy simply isn’t there anymore and there are plenty of young, energetic people to take up the tasks. I, therefore, will not be seeking re-election to Athea Community Council Ltd, Athea/Old Mill/ Carrigkerry Ltd, or Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann when the AGMs come up in the near future. I will, if required, stay doing the weekly Lucky Numbers Lotto until the loan on the building is paid off and I would like to continue with the Newsletter especially since Lillian now has taken over the lion’s share of the work. I will also do a little printing but not a lot!! There are a few things I would like to do while I am still able and a few places I want to visit. No doubt I will miss the voluntary work and I thank all those who worked with me over the years. You did the major work, I was just a small cog in a very big wheel. Athea is a very special place and deserves all the accolades it receives. But it needs new blood to keep it going. There is no monetary reward in working for your locality but the satisfaction of knowing you played a part in preserving our society is worth more than mere money. If you have any spare time on your hands, please become involved. There are numerous organisations and clubs crying out for new members. You won’t regret it as I don’t, in fact I got far more out of it than I ever put into it. It is time for a change.
One has to have great sympathy for our beef farmers in their protest against the meat factories. There is no doubt that they are getting underpaid for their produce at a time when the factories and the supermarkets are cleaning up. There is no way they can continue producing beef at a loss year after year so they have every right to fight for a fair deal. However, I think they shot themselves in the foot the other day when they prevented lorries full of cattle from entering a meat plant that was expecting a visit from a Chinese delegation who were coming to inspect the premises as part of setting up a new deal to export beef to China. Because there were no cattle to slaughter the visit had to be cancelled and the deal is now in jeopardy. This helps nobody in the long run. The protesters should have held off for that day and allowed the visit to take place. They could have resumed their blockade afterwards and would have lost nothing. It is high time the government stepped in and brought some clarity to the whole affair. We cannot allow our farmers to be treated in this way and we will be the losers when they go out of business and we will be eating sub standard beef from South America.
William Colbert, First of 13 children : 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #6
Feb 12, 2019
Prompt for 2019, week 1 — “First”.
My great-grandfather, William Cornelius (aka Willie) Colbert, was the eldest of 13 children. He was baptized on 31 January 1877, in Moanlena, Mahoonagh Parish, Co. Limerick, Ireland, to Michael Colbert and Hanora Josephine McDermott.
william colbert baptism record_mahoonagh parish_limerickgenealogy
William had 7 sisters, and 5 brothers, one of whom was Con Colbert, who was executed on 8 May 1916, after the Easter Uprising.
Sometime in 1890 or early 1891, the family moved from Moanlena to Athea, as William’s youngest two siblings, Dan and Bridget, were baptized at Templetathea West, Athea parish, Co. Limerick. Williams’ mother Hanora died in childbirth with the last child born, Bridget, on 17 Sep 1892.
As a young adult, Willie became attracted to a young dairy maid named Eileen Houlihan, daughter of Charles Houlihan and Anna Carmody, also of Athea, Co. Limerick. The story goes that William’s father Michael wanted no part of William being involved with Eileen, so Michael paid the passage for Eileen to go to San Francisco, where her older sister Margaret had immigrated to in 1897.
As one might suspect, that got Michael nowhere, as Willie soon headed to San Francisco himself. I found a passenger record for a William Colbert from Athea, who traveled to New York from Queenstown on the SS Etruria in July 1899, at the age of 22. That fits with what I know of my great-grandfather. It also fits with the stated immigration date given on the 1910 Federal Census.
This and That
By Domhnall de Barra
We had a spate of funerals in the parish lately and we said goodbye to some people who had a great presence in Athea. Because of this we witnessed some of the biggest gatherings at funerals for a long time. One of those who died was a neighbour of mine, Con O’Connor from Cratloe. He was the last surviving member of a family that were well known and respected in our area. Con was a few years older than us when we were growing up but we all mixed together and he became our idol. He always dressed in the latest fashions and had a motorbike when we had only old bicycles. He worked at Michel Reidy’s shop in Abbeyfeale where he repaired bicycles, motorbikes, radios and basically anything mechanical. He also drove Michael’s hackney car at a time when few people in the country areas owned their own cars. The busiest time they had was on Sunday mornings taking people to Mass. Very often neighbours would share the car but they would sometimes have to make three or four journeys to the one Mass. Of course they all had to be taken home again afterwards and it was a bit of a rush because there was another Mass coming up and more people to be ferried. Anyway “Conneen” as we used to call him, took it all in his stride and always had a joke handy to lighten the mood. When we started to go to dances he took us to places we would never have reached, like the Rose of Tralee festival or the dance in Ballybunion during the summer. He would also give us the use of the car to do a little courting if we were lucky enough to “shift”. He loved music and Irish music in particular so he organised a session in the house in Cratloe on Saturday nights. I was in my early teens at the time and I couldn’t wait for Saturday nights to put the accordion on the carrier of the bike and cycle the short distance over through the glen and up the passage to the house. There were some fantastic nights with musicians such as Colm Danagher, Timmy Woulfe, Jack Fitzgerald, Patie Boy Hartnett, Jack Morrissey and many more playing away until the small hours of the morning. He introduced us to the tape recorder, one he got from his brother Fr. John who spent most of his life in the missions in Africa. It was the first time we heard ourselves playing but also the first time I heard my own voice. It was totally different to what I imagined it to be and to this day I still can’t listen to myself. Con’s mother was one of the Fitzgeralds from Abbeyfeale and we got to know all her relations who regularly attended the sessions – magical days. Con also loved guns and was a great marksman. He kept the pot full with game birds and at night he would roam the countryside in search of foxes. He made a living from them when there was a good bounty to be had. Eventually we all grew up and went our separate ways and lost touch. Time goes by so fast and the world that we knew disappeared. We don’t have our rambling houses anymore, more’s the pity, but I will always remember that house in Cratloe and all the help and friendship I got from Con. It is fair to say he had a big influence on me in my formative days when he was like a big brother. May he rest in peace.
Last Sunday night was a great success for the Lourdes Fundraising concert in the Church. We had an exhibition of local talent that kept the audience entertained for just over three hours along with some distinguished artistes from outside the parish who gave their time free to help raise funds to send people to Lourdes. I must admit to being a little disappointed with the attendance from our own parish. If we took out all the people who came from outside the parish the attendance would be poor enough. The admission to this concert was a meagre €10 which is just a fraction of what it would cost to see a show in any theatre. The people who stayed away don’t realise what they missed. Any way thanks to all of you who did make the effort and showed such appreciation for the performers on the night.
Fr. Duggan is to be commended for organising this event and also his committee who did great work behind the scenes. We can be proud of all the talent that exists in our parish and we should have more concerts like this to give them the platform they deserve. I did meet one woman who did not agree with having such a concert in the “house of God” as she put it. I am sure that God does not mind people being happy and enjoying themselves, after all, it was He gave us the talents we have so why would He not want us to share them with his people in His own house. Didn’t he change water into wine at a marriage feast so that the guests would enjoy themselves? By sharing our music, song and dance we are offering praise to the Lord for what he has so generously bestowed on us and, in the process, if we can help to send some deserving people on the Lourdes pilgrimage, isn’t that a bonus. Well done to all involved.
Preparations for the County Fleadh which will be held in Athea over the June bank holiday weekend are ongoing. We are currently seeking adds and articles for the programme so there will be some of our members calling to you in the near future. We ask you to support our efforts to give a big boost to our village which is highly regarded throughout the county as a home of all things traditional. We will also need lots of help at the weekend so, if you can spare an hour or two, we’d love to have you. It promises to be a great occasion.
From Liam O'Mahony
A happy New Year to all recipients of this email.
Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh uilig.
Firstly, four points that the officials and politicians associated with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport [DTTAS], Limerick City and County Council [LCCC] and Kerry County Council [KCC] might reflect upon:
1] Why had the home page of the website (http://www.dttas.ie/tourism/english/greenways) only featured promotional videos of the Mayo, Waterford and Westmeath Greenways while omitting the link (https://youtu.be/zGDnCBpslEY which was commissioned by LCCC)? [The DTTAS website was only updated after GST Ltd. contacted the Department a fortnight ago]
2] How is it that EuroVelo route1 signage can be found along local roads in Wexford and Waterford but not in Limerick? The attached photo (Pic5) was taken recently in the Waterford Gaeltacht at a location some 15km from the Waterford Greenway. It is directing cyclists along a coastal route to Ardmore. It is also about 15km from the Great Southern Greenway Rathkeale Trailhead to Adare and LCCC have failed to provide signage along quiet local roads to this historic village despite several requests by the Great Southern Trail Ltd.
3] With the hopeful expectation that KCC will be successful in their funding applications for Listowel and Fenit could they undertake any necessary clearance of vegetation etc. in the early months of 2019 to avoid being delayed by habitat regulations during the summer months.
4] Will LCCC and KCC refrain from titles such as 'Great Southern Greenway Limerick', 'North Kerry Greenway' and 'Tralee-Fenit Greenway' to avoid confusing visitors? Why not use "Great Southern Trail Greenway'' throughout to illustrate that the route is a nature trail rich in flora and fauna as well as acknowledging its origins when the "Great Southern Trail" was planned as Ireland's first long distance rail-trail thirty years ago? (See www.southerntrail.net)
As the year 2018 drew to a close approximately 100 people of all ages enjoyed the annual 27th December Great Southern Trail Greenway Christmas Walk/Cycle organised by GST Ltd. This year the chosen route was the 9km from Tullig Wood (Templeglantine) to Abbeyfeale. The participants were ferried to the starting point by Coach House Travel courtesy coach thanks to Phelim & Margaret Kinahan and the ever obliging driver, Pat Liston. The weather was spring-like and enabled everyone to admire and enjoy the surrounding countryside. At journey's end there were copious quantities of delicious mince pies to be enjoyed in the homely atmosphere of Leen's Hotel and the personal attention of Olive, Mary and the team.
We welcome the commencement of works by LCCC to reconnect the Barnagh Tunnel with the main Greenway and look forward to celebrating this event in the springtime D.V.
A New Year Dawns, by Domhnall de Barra
So, we begin a new year and as usual we make our list of resolutions that we firmly believe we will stick to for the foreseeable future. It is a natural reaction after a period of celebration, eating rich food and overindulging in the alcohol department. For those of us who are used to working every day and have regular eating habits it is totally unnatural to be inactive for any period of time and although we look forward to the time when we have nothing to do, when it actually comes we don’t know what to do with ourselves. If we are honest, most of us are glad when Christmas is over and we can return to what resembles normality. We do of course want to make our lives better, hence the new year resolutions. We go on diets, give up beer and cigarettes, chocolates and sweets etc. The only thing they all have in common is that the vast majority of resolutions fail. We mean well starting off but we are only human after all and, bit by bit, we return to our old habits. Perhaps we are making the wrong kind of resolutions. Instead of dealing with material things we could try to be better to our families, friends and neighbours. It will not cost us anything and will give us that “feel good ” factor that enriches all our lives. The new year brings us hope, an expectation that things will be better from now on. The longest night has passed and each new day brings a little more daylight. Hope is really what keeps us going. It was so important to the people who came before us who lived through troubled times. When they had very little material wealth and struggled to make ends meet they always had the hope, through their religious beliefs, that there was a better life to come when their suffering would be over and they would enjoy happiness in Heaven. While we have hope we get the will to carry on and it keeps us going.
My hope, this year, is that the political turmoil we have at the moment will cease and we will not career down the slippery slope into chaos. In recent years, politics has failed us, giving us Brexit, Donald Trump and a host of left wing politicians who want to return to the philosophies of people like Adolf Hitler. Brexit is the direct result of miscalculation by the British government who sought to appease a group of Tory MPs who still believe that “Britannia rules the waves” and England is still the greatest nation in the world. They wanted to pull out of Europe so the easiest thing to do was to have a referendum which, in the government’s reckoning, had no chance of being passed. They were so complacent about it that they did not put up a proper defence against the blatant lies that were being told to the British public by people like Boris Johnson, one of the most educated buffoons in the world. Now it is a complete mess and nobody knows how it will all end. My fear is that a return to a hard border of any kind will plunge this island into a war of terrorism once again. People do have long memories and there are those who are just waiting for an excuse to resume hostilities. So, I hope common sense will prevail and we will reach a settlement that will not impinge on the livelihoods of people either in Ireland or the UK.
The election of Donald Trump was another major surprise to everybody, including the pollsters who had predicted a comfortable win for Hillary Clinton. He has brought the art of politics to an all time low. He is basically an uncouth, ignorant man who has no respect for his opponents and very little for his allies. What a contrast he is to the great men who have held that high office in the past who knew how to speak and how to negotiate with other leaders around the world without resorting to insults and name calling. My hope is that the American people will somehow get rid of him and bring us back to some semblance of decency.
I want 2019 to be the year we start to deal in a serious way with asylum seekers. At the moment, those unfortunate people who have paid their life savings to unscrupulous pirates to ferry them across the Mediterranean in an attempt to escape the brutality of war are in what we call “direct provision”. It is no more than open prison where there are no rights to earn a living or contribute to the community. Some of them are in this situation for years and years. How can it possibly take 8 years to process an application for asylum? We need to treat these people with respect. It has often been said to me “we can’t house or look after our own so why should we do it for foreigners”? Let us get one thing out of the way; there is no housing crisis in Ireland; there is a crisis in the major centres like Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway but there are thousands of vacant houses throughout rural Ireland. At the last count there were over 50 in Athea parish alone. Some of them are not in great shape but there are also quite a lot that would need very little work to make them habitable. Would it not be better to have people living in all these houses, raising families that will enrich our society and ensure a future for our schools and local businesses. Does it really matter what the colour of their skin is or what religion they follow, if any? Irish people left these shores in droves after the famine. How would we feel if they had not been welcomed in places like America, England and Australia and were instead put into “direct provision” for years waiting to know if they could stay or be deported. All it takes is the political will to act and I sincerely hope this is the year we see a change.
I hope you all have a very happy New Year.
At the sound of the tolling midnight bell
a brand new year will begin.
Let’s raise our hopes in a confident toast,
to the promise it ushers in.
May your battles be few, your pleasures many,
your wishes and dreams fulfilled.
May your confidence stand in the face of loss
and give you the strength to rebuild.
May peace of heart fill all your days
may serenity grace your soul.
May tranquil moments bless your life
and keep your spirit whole.
THE WILD WEST
By Domhnall de Barra
As I mentioned last week I was in Seattle for a few days visiting my son Sean and his wife Marie. Sean is employed by Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer, who have over 80,000 people working for them in the area. Other major employers include Amazon, Microsoft and Google, to name but a few. The area is developing at an alarming rate but it still maintains its own unique identity. Situated on a lake, close to the mountains, Seattle is a beautiful place which is steeped in history. Of course the land was taken from the Indians but the tribes still exist and all the areas are named after them, even the city itself which was named after Chief Seattle.
It got me thinking about the fascination we had, as youngsters, for the “wild west” and all things to do with America. We spent hours pretending we were cowboys or Indians shooting each other with makeshift guns or bows and arrows. Our curiosity was whetted by comic books and old films that portrayed our heroes and villains in stark contrast. The “baddies” always wore black while the “goodies” had, at least, a white hat. Every young boy had a collection of comics that could be swopped for other ones when they had been read a few dozen times. The favourites included; Hop-along Cassidy, Gene Autrey who carried a guitar and sang cowboy songs, Tom Mix, The Lone Ranger and his sidekick Tonto, Roy Rogers who had a horse that performed tricks called Trigger, Buffalo Bill, Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, The Cisco Kid and many more. The comics were not easy to come by as money was very tight and they were expensive at the time but we saved our pennies and when we had enough we headed for the paper shop and couldn’t wait to get home and read every line from cover to cover. As soon as we had devoured every picture and word we were out around the fields imitating the actions of our heroes. We even had the lingo down pat, terms like “stick ‘em up”, “not so fast”, “howdy partner” and “so long” could be heard from young mountainy boys with a good imitation of a western drawl. The comics were good but the “pictures” were better. Every so often, travelling groups would come and set up in a field near Cratloe creamery and show films every night for a week or so. Most of these films were westerns and of course we were enthralled by them. Those films bring back great memories. The projector was powered by a generator that worked of a petrol engine. You could hear this engine chugging away as the images appeared on the white screen at the other end of the tent. Black streaky lines continually ran up and down the screen and the old projector would sometimes stop altogether but it did not interfere with our enjoyment. The noise was sometimes deafening as we cheered on the sheriff as he chased one of the baddies at breakneck speed on horseback to the accompaniment of music that complimented the rhythm of the horses hooves and the many dangers on the way. When it was all over we walked home discussing the film we had seen and surmising what might have happened if a horse hadn’t fallen or a bullet had not been diverted buy the sheriff’s badge!!
Those films gave us a very bad image of the wild west and what it was really like. It treated the Red Indians very unfairly and portrayed them as blood thirsty savages whose only aim in life was to kill and scalp the white men. In general the Indians were a noble race who lived a nomadic life following the buffalo and the elk as they roamed the vast prairies. The men hunted the animals for food and skins which they used to make their tee pees and clothing. The only killed what they needed and never killed for pleasure. The tribes had their own regions but sometimes there might be disputes over certain areas and trouble would ensue between neighbouring tribes.
There was rivalry between them and sometimes raiding parties would be dispatched to steal horses. This action provoked a similar response until the dispute got out of hand and outright war loomed. This was usually settled by talking or havin a “pow wow” as they called it, but if differences could not be resolved a battle between the tribes would occur. Nobody got hurt in these battles. They had a system called “counting coup” which was simple enough. Once a warrior was touched by an opponent he had to retire from the battle and take no further part. The tribe who got the most touches won and peace was restored. It is true however that they did take up arms against the early settlers who were after all trying to take their lands ad way of life and some of the exchanges did become quite savage. I suppose their way of life could not be maintained forever and “progress” meant land had to be used more efficiently but they were a proud, noble, artistic people who should be held in high esteem. In our innocent youth we did not think of them as human beings as such and in our imagination we shot hundreds of them. Around Seattle, the tribes own all the gambling casinos and in an ironic twist, when the city needed money for development they were able to give them a big loan – nice one! As one native said “the white man took everything from us but we are getting it all back, bet by bet”.
FINBAR WRIGHT: Tickets are selling fast for tenor, songwriter and poet Finbar Wright’s concert on Friday, February 9. He has only two Irish concert dates in his diary for 2018 and the first one is here in Abbeyfeale at the Church of the Assumption on Friday, February 9 so why not give a gift of a wonderful evening of music and song to someone you love and build up some kudos for Valentine’s Day. This is the man that has sung before Popes, Presidents, Kings and Queens, with the Irish Tenors, appeared on Good Morning America, sung with Kiri Te Kanawa and the late Jerry Lee Lewis and now he’s coming to Abbeyfeale to celebrate the Jubilee year of the Church of the Assumption. Profits from these annual concerts are used to support the youth of the parish through the youth ministry, youth clubs, and trips to Lourdes etc so parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles come out and support your young people. Doors open 7pm and show will commence at 8pm. Tickets available in numerous outlets as well as on the ticket line 089/4356981 where you can leave a message if you wish to place an order.
William Upton 1845
William Upton, carpenter, Fenian, novelist, poet and rural labourers' leader was born on 27 August 1845 in the village of Ardagh, Co. Limerick, one of eight children born to Frank Upton (1799-1881) and Catherine Nolan (1800?-1854). Frank, a carpenter, and his Catherine had married locally in 1829.
The Upton’s were artisans and Roman Catholic but their forebears, just a few generations back, had been Protestant landholders. It is unclear precisely why or how William Upton's line became tradesmen but it is probable that the marriage of his Protestant grandfather, Edward (born 1742), to a Catholic named Mary Dunworthy (or Dunworth) led to a familial exclusion.
William became a carpenter and cabinetmaker, and in common with many young nationalist artisans he joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood during the mid-1860's. On March 5th 1867,as part of the ill-fated rising, he joined Limerick Fenians in an attack on Ardagh police barracks. Police reports identified him as one of the leaders and as having organised efforts to burn out the barracks when the frontal assault failed.
Following the failure of the rising, Upton went on the run, travelling to Roscommon and using the pseudonym William Cleary - he later incorporated 'Cleary' into his name, becoming William C. Upton from the 1870's. He was arrested as a suspect under his false name and spent a month in jail but was released without his true identity being discovered (2).
A reward was offered for his arrest and a description published in Hue and Cry on 4 June 1867: Upton - 23 y