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 ( only featured promotional videos of the Mayo, Waterford and Westmeath Greenways while omitting the link ( 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








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.


 Author Unknown




July 2018







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”.


Abbeyfeale 2018

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 years old, 5 ft 10 inches, stout make, fair complexion, round face, blue eyes, regular nose, fair hair, small fair whiskers, wore a dark tweed coat, cord trousers, light tweed vest, very good looking, walks very erect, is a carpenter by trade. Upton escaped to the US where he remained for more than two years, returning to Ardagh in late September 1869.




Local police immediately requested permission to arrest him but, although they were instructed to 'keep a close watch on his movements’, he was never charged with involvement in the 1867 rising, apparently because the informer who was to give evidence had already left the country (3).




On 1 November 1874 he married Mary Barrett (1854-1913) of Knockfinisk, Athea, and built a house in Ardagh village where he established himself as a small-scale building contractor. Upton remained active in local Fenianism throughout the 1870's and joined the Land League on its emergence. He was particularly concerned with the plight of the rural labourers and from at least 1880, spoke out on their behalf.




In October 1880 he was the central figure behind the formation of the Ardagh Labour League, which demanded a cottage, and acre, and fixity of tenure for rural labourers. The Ardagh League was one of the many formed throughout Munster during the 'land war', and Upton was a close friend of P.F. Johnson, the Kanturk-based rural labourers' advocate, and Daniel Histon, a tenant-farmer from Shanagolden and leading figure in the rural labour movement. Upton was one of the key activists behind the founding of the Munster Labour League in May 1881, and the following month he was part of a labourers' delegation to London to lobby the Chief Secretary for Ireland.




In September he attended the Land League national convention in Dublin, representing rural workers, although he was later critical of the Land League's neglect of the labourers. Upton's greatest and most innovative contribution to the agitation came with the publication of Uncle Pat's Cabin or Life among the Labourers of Ireland (Gill and Son, Dublin 1882), probably the first Irish social-realist novel written by a worker, The book depicts the life and conditions of a labourer called Pat McMahon.




A review in the Nation described it as a work of 'angry discontent': We cannot for a moment doubt that he gives voice to the feelings and ideas of at least the labourers of his own district, and we must perforce conclude that the most bitter discontent, not only with the conditions of their lives, but with the mass of farmers around them, fiercely seethes amongst them.




Their language is nearly always the language of complaint or denunciation, or of resolve to tolerate no longer the hardships and humiliation that beset them (4). It was not particularly well-written (Upton later admitted to writing it in six weeks) and was penned primarily as a piece of social agitation. in general, it was well received and in 1887 Gill and Son published another book by Upton, Cuchulain: the Story of his Combats at the Ford: A Dramatic Poem. Upton had written poetry and songs during the 1870's and continued to do so throughout his life.




In the late 1880's the Upton family emigrated to the US and settled in New York, where William lived until his death on 8 January 1925. He and Mary had ten children, Francis,Hannah, Edward, James, Kathleen, Minnie, Lillian, William, John and Robert and there are now many descendants in America. In 1914 he published a revised version of Uncle Pat's Cabin in New York, adding a preface that claimed implausibly that the novel had impelled the enactment of the 1883 Labourers' Act. Nonetheless, and despite its literary weaknesses, Upton's forgotten novel remains an important early example of working-class literature in the cause of social reform. Fintan Lane.




Notes: (2) Maighread McGrath, "His book helped free the Irish slaves", Irish Independent, 3 May 1965; Desmond Shanid, "William Upton: the forgotten literary Fenian of Ardagh", Limerick Leader, 3 November 1956. (3) National Archives, Fenian files, police report from Rathkeale, Co. Limerick, 3 October 1869, 4696R.


(4) Nation, 7 October 1882.




Courtesy of Johnny Upton - John Upton




Shared on XO Chronicles:


Limerick People

Who was Patrick O’Brien – The Blind Piper




Posted by Sharon Slater | Jun 2, 2014 | People & Genealogy, Who was? | 0


blind piper




Artist: Joseph Haverty 1844




Patrick O’Brien was born in Labasheeda, Co. Clare to a prosperous farming family. He was well educated and fluent in Greek and Latin. By the age of 26 he was completely blind and like many blind people of his time took to music as his full time profession. He played the uilleann pipe (also known as Union Pipe), which are a traditional Irish pipe “píobaí uilleann” (literally, “pipes of the elbow”), from their method of inflation.




He moved to Limerick City where he attempted to make his name and although he would not become renowned on the professional circuit he would become well known as a street performer. His usual spot was  on the corner of Hartstonge Street and George Street (O’Connell Street).




He lived in the Englishtown area, in Pump Lane off Nicholas Street.




He had two daughters, one of whom is supposedly immortalised in the painting by Joseph Haverty in 1844. The original is held in the National Gallery of Ireland.




He slipped on ice in 1854 when he was 93 year old. During the following year, without being able to perform he became destitute and one of his daughter had to tend for him full time. She had to pawn many of her belongings to tend to him. There was a call out to assist her in the Limerick Chronicle Obituary at the time of Patrick’s death. He was buried in  Kilquane, Parteen, Co. Clare in December 1855.






William Roche was born in Limerick in 1775 to Stephen Roche and Sarah O’Brien in Limerick. His father was the son of John Roche, a Limerick merchant, and his mother was the heir to large estates in Rathkeale, Co. Limerick and Tuam in Galway.




His uncle, Philip Roche, built the Mardyke Warehouse in 1787, which is now known as the Granary. The street sign he inserted during construction can still be seen today.




His brothers, George and James, set up a wine exporting company from Bordeaux, France. James was imprisoned for 6 months in France during the French Revolution.




After his release James returned to Ireland where he set up a bank in Cork with another brother, Stephen.




William set up a bank in Limerick with his brother Thomas, with whom he would remain in business with for over 20 years.




William died unmarried and childless on 27 April 1850, his obituary was recorded in the Limerick Chronicle.






TOM McKessy


The caption with the image mentions that her husband arrived in New York in September 1925. The family were going to the Bronx


Thomas McKessy’s (14 May 1876 – 1945) married Sarah Collins (25 September 1880-1966) in 23 October 1897 when he was 21 and she was 17. They had a total of 21 children.




The 10 who arrived with their mother travelled vie Cobh and were named from left to right as :




    Johnanna – 20 May 1909 – 1972, also called Joan


    John – 26 May 1910 – 1987


    Dennis – 1912 – 1930


    Lizzie – 14 December 1913 also called Lillian


    Katherine – 30 November 1914 – 2002, also called Catherine


    Bridget – 19 February 1916 – 1989


    Eugene – 31 March 1918 – 1998


    Daniel – 9 September 1919 – 2005 also called Donald


    Ita – 3 August 1921 – 1957, also called Ita Finbar


    Cecilia (in her mother’s arms) – 22 November 1922 – 1993, died as Cecilia Mary Donnelly




By 1929 when Sarah was applying for her citizenship 5 more of her children were living in New York:




    Thomas 30 June 1899 – 1980


    Sarah 23 Jul 1902


    Margaret 27 Aug 1903


    William 19 Jan 1906 – 1982


    Hanora 3 Feb 1907 – 1991




Only one of the McKessy children remained in Ireland:




    Mary 1898 – married in 1923, Stayed in Ireland




Five had passed away:




    Hannah 1901 – 1901


    Margaret 1901 – 1901


    Patrick  11 Mar 1908-1908


    Unknown died between 1911-1926


    Unknown died between 1911-1926




(The dates of birth for the children varied slightly on each record)




Father – In 1911 Census of Ireland – Thomas was a Tailor and Shop Keeper in South Quay, Newcastle West.




Mother – In 1901 Census of Ireland Sarah was living alone with her two eldest children, Mary and Thomas, in Maiden Street, Newcastle West.




By 1930 Census of America the parents and a number of the children were living in the Bronx and Thomas was working as a railway agent.






Domhnall de  Barra




Dancing is probably one of the oldest forms of artistic expression and has functions that may be social, ceremonial, competitive, erotic, martial, or sacred/liturgical. Archaeological evidence for early dance includes 9,000-year-old paintings in India at the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, and Egyptian tomb paintings depicting dancing figures, dated c. 3300 BC .




My own experience of dance doesn’t quite go back that far but I remember watching old Western movies depicting Red Indians dancing around camp fires to the sound of chanting and the beat of  bodhrán-like instruments. Most primitive tribes had their own war dances, rain dances, wedding dances etc. and the custom has developed over the years to what we have today. There are basically two types of dance; one which is performed solo or in a group for the entertainment of others and social dancing where people dance in couples for  enjoyment. It is in our nature to dance, or at least to keep time to music. When a lively tune is played most people will tap their feet in time. Dancing is just a natural extension of that.




When we were growing up dancing played a huge part in our lives. The dance hall was one of the few places where boy could meet girl and we looked forward all the week to the dance on Sunday night. Before we could venture onto the floor some dance steps had to be learned. You wouldn’t get very far with a girl if the first thing you did was stand on her toes or kick her in the shin!!  Older brothers and sisters were very useful in this regard and many is the dance that was practiced on the kitchen floor. Neighbours would also lend a hand  passing on their  artistic knowledge but it was a nerve-racking experience in the beginning.




In those days, unlike now, people actually danced together and there were different steps for the various dances. Waltzes, foxtrots, quicksteps, military two steps, sambas, tangos were only part of what might be played by the band on a particular night and, at that time, no night’s dancing was complete without at least one Siege of Ennis and the local polka. So, there was a lot to learn before picking up enough courage to ask a lady to dance. Most of us had only a few basic steps of the simpler dances to start with and picked up the others as we went along.




I was extremely lucky on my first voyage to meet a local girl who was slightly older than me who took me under her wing and had great patience with my clumsy efforts at the waltz. I was a quick learner and, with a bit of confidence, I soon became confident enough to hold my own to most dance rhythms. It was the custom at the time for the ladies to gather on one side of the hall and the gents to congregate on the other.




When a dance was announced there was a rush across the floor to get a partner. The gents always did the asking and, though  it was frowned upon by dance hall owners, ladies sometimes refused. Having made the crossing and been refused one was in a dilemma. Should the quest for a dancing partner continue by asking the next nearest lady and risk a further humiliating refusal or return to the other side of the hall under the gaze  of everybody. We soon got cute and would pre-book a dance partner  before the next dance was called. This avoided the dreaded charge across the floor and the chance of further disappointment. After a while there were  regular ladies that we danced to every night. They might be going out with somebody else, so might you, but we danced for the love of it and enjoyed  every minute of it.




Time moved on and the influence of modern music added new dances that were different to what we were used to. “Rock and Roll” was one of the first that required totally different movements to what we were used to. This was followed by “jiving” where the man stood dancing in the same place twirling a lady under his outstretched arm. This dance became very popular and is still danced today.




The next craze that came along was really the first one where there was no contact between the dancing couples. It was called the “Twist” and it lasted for a good while. Other dances came along that  did not require contact between couples and this gradually has led to the disco dancing that has taken over  from the formal dancing we knew.




The good thing about disco dancing is that no formal learning is required and dancers are able to make up their own movements as they go along. It is almost a return to the primitive tribal dancing of old so it might have come full circle!




In recent years there has been a resurgence in old style dancing, particularly set dancing and social dancing. Classes are available all over the country for those who want to brush up on the skills they had in their youth or those who want to learn for the first time.




The classes are a great social occasion as well and there is great craic amongst those attending. We are lucky in Athea to have three great dance teachers, Timmy Woulfe, John Joe Tierney and Josephine O’Connor. Their classes will be commencing again an a few weeks time so there is no excuse for anyone who wants to  learn a few steps and meet new friends at the same time.






Abbeyfeale’s Louisiana Tiger: A Confederate Veteran Returns to Ireland




This was the headline in a Kerry newspaper in 1915. The confederate veteran in question was Maurice O'Donnell.




Maurice’s demise in 1915 was noted in at least two Irish newspapers. The Freemans Journal of 25th March 1915 recorded that he ‘took part in the American Civil War, having fought with the Southern armies, and became partially disabled for life in one of the closing battles.‘ A more detailed account of Maurice appeared in the Killarney Echo and South Kerry Chronicle of 27th March 1915:






DEATH OF A CIVIL WAR VETERAN– One of the few old natives of the town dropped off during the week in the person of Mr. Maurice O’Donnell of Chapel St., who died after a protracted illness in his 87th year. The deceased took part in the American Civil War in which he practically lost the use of one of his legs. He fought unfortunately on the Southern side and so was disentitled to a pension. This was all the more keenly calamitous as being forced in his latter days to see his interest in the house he lived in he was debarred from realising the purchase amount by the landlord’s trustees who reside in England and resisted his right to dispose of a yearly tenancy. The old veteran who was under notice to Quit at the time of his death deeply deplored his inability to see the matter out before his exit. Deceased belonged to the O’Donnells who were one of the oldest of the native families and who are said to have come from the north originally with Red Hugh O’Donnell, and settled down all over the south after the rout at Kinsale.






ABBEYFEALE An Account in 1837, by Samuel Lewis, a parish, in the Glenquin Division of the barony of UPPER CONNELLO, county of LIMERICK, and province of MUNSTER, 10 miles (W. by S.) from Newcastle, on the mail coach road from Limerick to Tralee; containing 4242 inhabitants, of which number, 607 are in the village.




This place obviously derives its name from a Cistertian abbey founded here, in 1188, by Brien O'Brien, and from its situation on the river Feale: the abbey, in 1209, became a cell to that of Monasternanagh, or Nenay, in the barony of Pubblebrien.




The village, situated in a wild mountainous district, was almost inaccessible, but since the construction of the new lines of road, great alterations have taken place; great improvement in the condition of the people has resulted from the facilities thus afforded of taking their little produce to market; and the inhabitants are now industriously and profitably employed.




Here is a large and commodious hotel, and some respectable houses, but the greater number are thatched cabins. The village has a penny post dependent on Newcastle, and is a constabulary police station.




Fairs are held on the 29th of June and Sept. 24th, chiefly for cattle, sheep, and pigs.




The parish comprises 17,659 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, of which 1620 acres are arable, 12,800 pasture, and about 3500 waste land and bog: a considerable portion of the waste land is gradually being brought into cultivation, and the system of agriculture is steadily improving.




From long previous neglect, the lands in many parts have become marshy and cold, and in some places are covered to the depth of several feet with a loose turbary, which, in the total absence of timber, affords excellent fuel, of which great quantities are sent to Newcastle, whence limestone is brought in return and is burnt with coal of indifferent quality procured here for that purpose only.




The farms have generally large dairies, and a considerable quantity of butter is sent to Cork and Limerick. On the great line of road from Limerick to Tralee is Wellesley bridge, a handsome structure, about a mile and a half to the west of the village; and at the same distance to the east is Goulburn bridge.




The new line of road leading through the heart of the mountains from Abbeyfeale to Glin, a distance of 12 miles, was opened after the spring assizes of 1836, previously to which there was scarcely any possibility of access to this secluded district, which for that reason was, in the year 1822, selected as their head-quarters by the Rockites, who dated their proclamations From our camp at Abbeyfeale.




The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Limerick, and in the patronage of Lord Southwell, during whose legal incapacity the Crown presents; the rectory is impropriate in Richard Ellis and Thomas G. Bateman, Esqrs.




The tithes amount to £320, payable to the impropriators; the clerical duties of the parish are performed by the curate of an adjoining parish, who is paid by Lord Southwell. The church, a small edifice in the early English style, with a lofty square tower, was erected near the village in 1812, for which the late Board of First Fruits gave £800.




There is neither glebe-house nor glebe. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; the chapel, situated in the village, was erected on the site of the ancient monastery, a small portion of which is incorporated with it. There are four pay schools, in which are about 100 boys and 50 girls.




On the bank of the river, one mile from the village, are the ruins of Purt Castle, built by a branch of the Geraldine family, to command the pass of the Feale; it is strongly built, and occupies a bold situation.




Athea Graves




Scollard Grave


LI-TPAT-0141      LI-TPAT-0141     


Ellen Scollard (O'Connor)


John Scollard


Patrick Scollard


Dan Scollard


Dan Scollard


Maureen Scollard (Sheahan)




Catherine O Mullane mother of Daniel O Connel


By Donie O Sullivan | Tuesday, March 5, 2013




Catherine O Mullane, Mother of Daniel O Connell the Liberator. The O Mullane’s were significant Catholic landowners  in Brittas townland in the parish which is  about 2 miles from the graveyard. They  lost most of their holding  in the Cromwellian confiscations  and moved to Whitechurch where Catherine was born in 1752. The Lombards got some of this land but returned their share to the O Mullanes  during the next generation.  Her father, John, was born in Brittas and for some unknown reason Catherine was buried in the family tomb in Kilshannig when she died in 1817.






Denny John Wynn first winner of Aintree Grand National


By | Tuesday, March 5, 2013




This is reputed to be the burial place of Denny John Wynn who rode the first Irish winner of the Aintree Grand National in 1847 on a horse called "Mathew" owned by John Courtney of Ballymagooley near Mallow. Denny was killed in a riding accident in 1858.His son Joe took up the sport and rode in his first Grand National in 1862.On the morning of the race he got word that his sister died back in Kilshannig but he insisted in proceeding in honour of his father. Tragedy struck at the "Chair" fence in view of the grandstand when he was seriously injured in an accident and died shortly afterwards.


Graveyard: Newberry (Kilshannig)


Drommahane, Cork






Ardagh Chalice






SAMPLE: 5.      Anthony Walsh must have been well known to John Ryan of Danganmore who is buried here and his brothers, particularly the Chevalier Edmund Ryan; all Kilkenny men    As also, without doubt, another Kilkenny man, Captain John Hennessy, also of the Irish Brigade in France, who is buried not far from here at Derrynahinch.




6.      Service in the French Army was an important career move for young men such as John Ryan and his brothers James and Edmund.  Certainly John fought against the English at the Battle of Dettingen  in 1743 and Fontenoy in 1745 ( as part of the Wars of the Austrian Succession).  Fontenoy is still remembered as it was the valour of the Irish Brigade that won the battle for the French King, against the traditional foe of England.










The Right Rev. Bishop Patrick ‘O Connor


By | Tuesday, September 20, 2011




Like the Carroll’s and Meany’s, the O’Connor’s have a long history  with the townland of Clonea, all three families also have a great tradition with the R.C Church.




 Patrick O’ Connor was born during the darkest period of Ireland’s history at Knock’ West, Clonea Co Waterford. He was born in a house that was steeped in tradition and religion on Christmas day of 1848.




His three uncles who were priests, Joseph, Patrick and Gerard Meany were all born in the same house. His aunt was Mother superior






The Sarsfield's of Abbeyside-(A nautical journey in time)


By Eddie Cantwell | Tuesday, August 16, 2011




Commander  Eugene Sarsfield.




Commander Eugene Sarsfield. Commander Eugene S. Sarsfield Playground encompasses an entire block which is bounded by East 38th Street, Avenue M, Flatlands Avenue, and Ryder Street in Brooklyn. It is quite an extensive park and playground. There is no doubt but many Dungarvan people have passed this parkland over the years not realising the connection that it has with their native townland.  In 1949 the entire property was named after Commander Eugene Sarsfield, whose family lived nearby at ‘Avenue M’.  The park was officially dedicated in 1949 and was attended by the widow of Eugene Sarsfield, Anne, (Gartland), and their two young daughters, Anne and Mary-Elizabeth. The Park,










Mary was born in 1970 and was raised along with her five siblings in the North Kerry village of Ballylongford.




Mary Kennelly studied theology and history at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. She studied for the Higher Diploma in Education in University College Galway. In recent times she undertook a Postgraduate Diploma in Learning Support and Special Educational Needs in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. She has just completed her Masters degree in Educational Management in Waterford Institute of Technology.


She teaches in Presentation Secondary School, Listowel, Co. Kerry. She also works for the Special Education Support Service. She worked in the Arts for many years including time with Writers’ Week Listowel and the Brendan Kennelly Summer Festival. She has written features for a number of publications including ‘The Kerryman’, ‘The Sunday Independent’ and ‘The Sunday Tribune’. She has edited a number of publications.  In 2004 she published ‘Sunny Spells, Scattered Showers’ a collection of poetry and paintings with the artist Rebecca Carroll. In 2010 she published another body of work, ‘From the Stones’, a collection of poetry and paintings with the renowned artist Brenda Fitzmaurice.




Mary currently lives in Glin, Co. Limerick with her husband Gus and their three children Ruth, Matthew and Caleb.




The Munster News and Limerick and Clare advocate


Wednesday August 24, 1887




Father Shannon and the drought (River Shannon in drought)


”How long has you on this planet my man?”


”Well, I was born in the year 1799, sir.”


Then you are 88 years of age. Now, tell me did you ever see the Shannon so low during all that time?


Well, sir, I know it well ; I was thirty years boss of a canal boat and I ought to know, and I never saw so little water in the river before.”




The scene of the foregoing conversation was the south bank of the Shannon at Killaloe ; the day, Sunday last, and the speakers a very old country man, and the citizens of Limerick who related the occurrence to us. He was expressing his wonder at the state to which the mighty Shannon was reduced all the way down


to limerick, and he could have applied his words to its condition for many miles below the city as well. It is so shallow at Killaloe, and at places near Castleconnell that it is really almost possible to walk across dry shod. At Limerick, about Corbally and below, between the bridges, there are also


extraordinary shallows or complete absence of water ; but still farther down is a more astonishing result of the drought, for at one point of the river about a mile below the quays, the mud has so silted up, that if it had consistency enough to bear, a person might walk from one bank to the other. Of course this


is entirely the result of the continued dry weather, the falling away in the quantities water in the upper stretches of the river and complete drying up of some of its tributaries. It is more remarkable at present than before as the Spring tides strip to such a great extent, and when they are now coming in they rush up headed by a (boar) at a rate that sweeps mud and everything else before them at a furious pace. During the first hour of the tide on Saturday and Sunday, the water must have risen nearly nine feet at the quays, but when it had fully ebbed again the beds and banks cleared as before. We read in an old history before us that as far back as 1667 Father Shannon conducted himself in a somewhat similar style and a poetic record in its pages says :-


“A drought excessive came, it was so great.


The Shannon from the city did retreat,


The Mayor and many more upon dry ground,


Outside the walls on foot did walk around”




There would be no difficulty in accomplishing this feat now, for as many years beyond the ambit which was then marked by ramparts, there is no water whatsoever. So little is there to oppose the incoming tide, that within the past week salt or brackish water ran right up to Sarsfield bridge ; and the same


old history tells us that this occurred in 1723 when “there was so little rain that year that salt water fish came up to the quay and ling was taken between the two towers” That was as far up as Thomond bridge. Sixty two years later than that the history in 1785 “The summer of this year was so remarkably dry


and warm there was scarcely any water in the Shannon between Baal’s Bridge and the new bridge, in which place numbers of eels, flat fish and salmon peale were taken by boys out of the bed of the river” But that was before the day of gas, for when they began to make it at Watergate and let the tar run in to the


stream they so poisoned its bed that all fish forsook it. The most serious results though are the accumulation of mud which the uprushes of the tide have left abreast of the quays. There are now some four feet of water on the sill of the Floating Dock, whilst outside the pier-head the mud has formed a bar right across to the north shore. It is hoped that the winter floods will sweep the hundreds of thousands of tons of mud away to the depths from whence it came, but to look at it now this seems scarcely possible. The Harbour Engineer calculates that some couple of millions of tons of mud have shifted up stream since the first of June. No doubt he is right, and it will require large outlays and hard work with the dredgers to get the channel back to its normal condition.






The Munster News and Limerick and Clare advocate Wednesday August 24, 1887


House of Commons – yesterday


The Chancellor of the Exchequer, replying to Mr. Cox, said that £5,000 assigned for the


Encouragement of horse and cattle breeding in Ireland would be paid to the Royal Dublin


Society, whose show now being held at Ballsbridge was he was glad to say likely to be a special success in consequence of the prospect of assistance to be given by the








Irish National League.


Carrickerry Branch


The Rev. J. Ambrose presided. The case of Maurice Culhane whose cattle were seized on by his landlord, was considered, when it was proposed by Denis Lynch and seconded by Denis Liston ; “That having considered the case of Mrs. Widow T. Culhane and her treatment at the hands of her landlords, Mr. Alexander Tallis Yielding and Mrs. Hugh Yielding (the wife of Mr. Hugh E. Yielding of Newpark, Croagh, in the county of Limerick), we respectfully ask the committee of the Kilcoman branch of the League to afford us an opportunity for a consultation with a view to bringing public opinion to bear upon the landlords for their action in accumulating costs to the amount of £18 upon a rent of £25, in seizing only £50 or £60 worth of cattle to satisfy same.”


“That the Rev. Chairman be deputed to communicate with the Kilcolman branch to arrange time and place of proposed conference which he very kindly consented to do”


Taken from “The Munster News and Limerick and Clare Advocate”,


April 2, 1887




Truth is Stranger than Fiction




Yes, at times it is, and that reminds me of another saying from the North of England; “there’s nowt as queer as folk”. The following tale, which is absolutely true, illustrates the point.




Two neighbours from Abbeyfeale worked together buying and selling anything that would make a few bob that was badly needed  to finance their tendency to frequent various bars in the town. They weren’t much good at it and were very often broke. One night in the pub they overheard the owner saying that he was in the market for a singing bird, a Canary to be precise. He said he wouldn’t mind paying a good price for the right bird which was very rare at the time. They put their heads together and after a few enquiries they found out that there was a man in Rathkeale, Mike Quilligan of Roche’s Road, who bred the very type of bird that was required. Unaccustomed as they were to travelling such distances they got the old pick-up ready and the following morning headed off to Rathkeale to purchase the canary and make a tidy profit. It wasn’t a fine day, in fact it was misty and overcast and visibility was very poor. As they used to say long ago, “the sky was down on the ground”. They motored on through Newcastle and continued on until eventually they could see rows of houses along the side of the road. Not knowing where Roche’s road was they pulled into the side and asked two men who were chatting by a wall for directions. “Roche’s Road?” one of them said.  “By God there is no Roche’s Road in Adare that I know of and I am living here all my life”. “Isn’t this Rathkeale”, the boys asked and were quite shocked to discover that they were in Adare. They argued as to whose fault it was and eventually came to the conclusion that they had passed through Rathkeale in the fog without noticing it. They turned around and headed back the way they came peering intently through the mist in case they might miss Rathkeale again. At last they reached a town again but, as soon as they saw the River Room hotel, they knew they were in Newcastle. They were completely flummoxed and after a brief period of reflection decided to give up the quest and return to Abbeyfeale. They went into Jack Rourke’s and announce to everyone in the bar that “Rathkeale has disappeared of the face of the earth”. It provided amusement for weeks after. What the to boys had not realised was the Rathkeale by-pass had just opened and they were one of the first to drive through it.




The same two were forever in trouble with the law, nothing major but offences like no taillights, no tax, bald tyres etc. Justice Cyril Maguire was sitting in Abbeyfeale Court House at that time and was getting fed up with hearing the boys excuses. One day they were back before him but this time it was for not paying the fines he had imposed on them in the past. He decided to teach them a lesson and gave them a month in jail. A local taxi was called and they were taken, not to Limerick jail which was crowded at the time, but to Portlaoise. They were dropped at the door of the jail and as soon as they were admitted the taxi took off. After being processed they were informed that there was no room for them and they were free to return home. “We can’t go home”, one of them declared, “we have no money and it is a long way to Abbeyfeale”. After some time an official approached and gave them the price of the train to Limerick and the bus from there to Abbeyfeale. The two boys were delighted, in fact they were so pleased with the outcome that they decided to celebrate in a local hostelry in Portlaoise before getting the train which was not due for another hour and a half anyway. In the bar they struck up conversation with local replicas of themselves who had great sympathy for them when they heard their story.  Time flew by and the time for the train came and went. A sing-song followed and soon it was closing time and they had no place to go and no money in their pockets. They were, as Eamon Kelly used to say, in a pucker, but after much debating and weighing up of options they finally agreed on a course of action. Imagine the surprise of the official in charge at Portlaoise when , at 12.30am, he discovered two dishevelled Abbeyfeale men, knocking on the door of the jail, asking for lodgings for the night!  The following day they were escorted to the train and put on board and eventually returned home. Cyril Maguire never realised how much he was costing the state when he handed down that sentence




Domhnall de Barra






Old Movie Reels Of Glin from the archives of the late Fr Denis Browne RIP. Wonderful Article about Fr. Browne on his time in Glin, written by Margaret Sweeney of Lr Main St Glin.


Posted on 03/09/2016    by glinnews




Fr. Denis Browne, by Margaret Sweeney of Lr Main St Glin and Dublin.




It is with a great sense of fondness and a deep sense of gratitude and privilege that we recall the wonderful memories that the name Fr. Denis Browne evokes.


Fr. Browne arrived in Glin in his beloved red volkswagon, together with the gentle, smiling housekeeper Mary Anne and his playful happy dog Trixie. Very quickly both children and adults alike knew we were lucky to have been gifted this special human being and priest. In his own quiet yet friendly way he became the very core of the parish, ministering to the elderly with a kind of care and compassion that was exemplary yet understated, getting to know the strengths and needs of his parishioners and helping the youth to blossom and share experiences that were the stuff of dreams back then.


Being in the latter group at that time we felt the luckiest of all. Our summers were filled with the thrill of packing anything up to 12 small children into the volks (pre “health and safety” !!) during the school holidays and heading off to Banna strand, his beloved Béal, an odd time Ballybunion (which was full of undesirable and costly distractions like bumpercars and candyfloss) and sometimes as far as exotic Inch on the Dingle peninsula. We would spend the day swimming, playing in the sand, racing up and down the length of the beach and feast on sand and tomato sandwiches!! Oh the joy of it all. The journeys were always shortened by the variety of “in house” entertainment as we sang our way to our destinations, told jokes, solved riddles and chatted the carefree chat of childhood. And Fr. Browne himself would often join in with a gloriously out of tune rendition of a Johnny Cash song or his own version of a whistled tune from James Last. Bliss.


Very soon word spread, numbers grew and the need for a bigger mode of transport arrived to carry his motley crew on their trips. We could not believe our eyes when we saw the minibus complete with an amazing rolltop roof. This was the stuff of movies, beyond our wildest dreams. It hardly dawned on us to ask where or how he got it, but he did tell us that himself and a Fr. McNamee in Limerick city bought it to share….I don’t ever remember it not being at our disposal so I suppose the city crew managed without. There was no stopping us now and by the time many of us had finished primary school we had travelled the country, from the top of Torc Waterfall outside Killarney to the most northerly tip of Donegal, Malin Head. We explored the Burren, climbed Galty Mór, swam in Salthill, visited Yeats’ grave at Drumcliffe. We made headlines when we had the excitement of being stranded on Scattery Island on the day of the Munster final and had to be rescued by a pilot boat from Foynes. We got to know our country, to love our heritage, to explore our talents, all while having the very best of fun.


The discovery and development of talents was another wonder to behold. Fr. Browne loved his camera and big reel projector, and perfecting his skills as a not so serious moviemaker filled many a pleasant hour for him. Filming the local festival’s fancy dress parade or cows chewing the cud on Meade’s Hill (sometimes speeded up or slowed down to match the carefully chosen, accompanying music) gave him an enormous sense of fun, satisfaction and pleasure. His converted garage became the cinema where we watched ourselves on big screen, where changes to the village were recorded when such things as the triangle at the bottom of the town was given a facelift, where evidence of Mr. Bill cycling across the Shannon estuary to Clare on his specially adapted bike could be seen again and again. Who needed Hollywood in those great days! We had Fr. Browne!


That garage was not only our cinema, it was also the place where the children congregated to practise our singing, drama, music for the many concerts and competitions Fr Browne got us involved in. We gathered willingly a couple of nights of the week to sing our songs and prepare to perform in local halls, nursing homes, rehab centres or competitions. Family bands were formed, a ventriloquist’s doll was bought and abilities were discovered and nurtured, so much so that in the Munster Talent Competition held in Ballylanders we swept the boards!!!!!


And it didn’t stop there! Fr. Browne had a great love of athletics, fitness and general sense of well being….He was truly a man before his time and yet very much of his time. We were introduced to track and field events, racing, long jump, high jump, even throwing the discus, our very own Olympics. This brought us in contact with the children of his previous parish. The amazingly fast and athletic sisters, Ann and Grace O’Brien as well as Cathy Morrissey, all from Ballygran became the ones to beat and if memory serves me right was seldom achieved! But with Fr Browne it was never about the winning but simply about enjoying the taking part and that is why even the slowest of us loved the experiences and could happily disregard the challenge, while the talented deservedly had their many moments of glory.


We reminisce often of the glorious times we had with this amazing man, who was so generous in spirit, so kind, so honest and honourable and so much fun. Our childhood was special because of him. To this day we feel a deep sense of gratitude and have an abiding sense of appreciation of all that he did with us and for us. He was a walking(often running) saint and a privilege to know.


Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.




RIP Fr BRowne: The Very Rev. Fr. Denis Browne, PP retired parish priest of the combined parishes of Castletown/Ballyagran/Colmanswell was called to his eternal reward on Wednesday December 11 2014, at Milford House, Limerick.


The late Fr. Denis will be fondly remembered by every parish he ministered as the very lovable, gentle disposition and forgiving Catholic curate and subsequently a very unassuming Cannon and parish priest until his retirement in 2004.


From Castletown/Ballagran, Fr. Browne’s 10 year term in Granagh/Ballingarry was remarkably productive as he settled into very organisations ambitions and achievements in the parish.


His arrival in Granagh had an almost immediate tonic effect on the promotion of local athletics and in general terms during the 1960s, the local athletic club could be said to been one of the top parish athletic clubs in Ireland catering for all aspects/grades of athletics, which was the result of Fr Browne’s outstanding encouraging promotions in the parish and county.


As spiritual director of the Pioneer Total Abstinence association, Fr. Browne had an unequalled encouraging approach that endeared himself to the stranger as if they were his very own flock while his addresses to the PTA meetings had the most admirable gentleness of delivery, like his Sunday sermons, they also contained an unshakeable Christian message for all to adhere to.


Our sincere sympathy to his relations and thousands of friends in the athletic fields, pioneer association, clergy and religious orders.


May he rest in eternal peace?




I uploaded a new Glin video from the 1960's here -




Mary Prendeville Murphy wrote the following to Fr. John O’Shea after she completed an hour of Eucharistic Adoration as a spiritual farewell gift to him in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel August 2016.




I met a ‘Friend’ of ours today, we spent an hour together,


We spoke of no one else but you, and hence I write this letter.


I told Jesus we were sad to see you moving from our town


But by the time I went on home I felt no longer down.






Jesus told me ‘He’ had chosen you from first you saw the light,


And o’er the years ‘He’s’ kept you firmly in his sight.


The work you do it in ‘His’ name, you do so well and willing,


With a team of friends around you, you work like you are singing.








From the day you first arrived in the Church in Abbeyfeale with a voice so clear


And gentle ways, you made our Mass so real.


“Down to Earth’ the people said, the youth were also keen,


But how the years have flown so fast – they say it’s now fourteen!








God’s work comes first – of that we know, we won’t create a ‘fuss’ –


Our thoughts and prayers will be with you – we hope you’ll think of us.


God bless you Fr. John, wherever you may be,


At the mention of your name I know we’ll all agree








That you’ve left your mark on Abbeyfeale, our loss we must endure,


We never will forget you – of that you can be sure.


As a priest we know your worth was really hard to measure,


As a friend we know the likes of you are simply just a treasure.






Culhane, Maurice (e1742) A convict, felon or vagabond from Co Kerry, in America Sep 5 1742, given public money for trip (Emigrants from Ireland to America 1835-1743, by Francis McDonnell, c1972).




Culhane, Michael (b1826) Age 23 of Co Limerick; trial 16/07/1849, crime malicious assault, sentenced transportation 7 years, ship Rodney 23/09/1857 .




Culhane, C (e1861) (e1861/65). Pvt, company G 12th MS Inf ( Civil War Muster Rolls).




Culhane, Daniel (b1893/08/16) Born Leitrim East, Co Kerry, Ireland, lived Mariposa Co CA ( WW1 Civilian Draft Registration; ( WW1 Civilian Draft Registration Database).




Culhane, Cornelius (b1840) Private, wounded Cold Harbor Jun 27 1862; died from disease Fredericksburg VA Dec 27 1862; Feb 1 1863 Conversion of StPaul church, prayers requested for Cornelius Culhane, who died recently in VA. (Cornelius Culhane, Natchez).




Culhane, Maurice (b1921) Michael; Flight Sergeant, Royal Australian Air Force, died Jan 13 1945, buried Sydney Memorial, New South Wales, Australia; son of Michael & Agnes Bennett Culhane of Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia (CWGC).




Culhane, Daniel (b1885) Private, Central Ontario Regt, died Jan 24 1919; buried in Douglas (StMichaels's) Cemetery, Ontario Canada; son of Maurice & Ellen Culhane of Admaston ON (CWGC).




Culhane, Daniel (b1893/08/16) Born W Leitrim East Co Kerry Ireland; 1917/18 signed for the Civilian Draft Registration at Mariposa CA ()




Culhane, David (b1893/08/16) From East Leitrim, Co Kerry, Ireland, registered in Mariposa CA 1917/18 for Civilian Draft Card ( Archives).




Culhane, Emmett (e1945) P 2nd Lt, inducted from NY, 544th Bomber Squadron 384th Bomber, died Mar 19 1945, monument at Cambridge England, missing, Purple Heart etc ( WW-II & Korean Soldiers Interred Abroad).




Culhane, Francis (b1912) James Private AIF 2/24 Bn, Australian Infantry, died Nov 10 1941; buried in Lae War Cemetery, Papua, New Guinea; son of Denis Henery & Catherine Winifred Culhane of Alexandra, Victoria (CWGC).




Culhane, Gerald (b1920) Augustine SSgt US Army, 1st Cav Division, from Rochester NY, married, died Sep 12 1967 of an heart attack in South Vietnam, 20 years military service, Roman Catholic, The VietNam Veterans Memorial Wall Panel 26E Line 59 ( & ).


By Kathleen Mullane


Golden Jubilee, June 2016; I’m sure anyone that attended  both the mass and celebration of Fr. Paddy Bowen’s Golden Jubilee on Saturday night last will agree that it was a most wonderful evening and night. The evening mass was concelebrated by eight priests including Canon Kelly, Bishop Murray and long time priest friends of Fr. Bowen. The choir was exceptional also. The 1st Communion class all attended in their ‘finery’ and the 6th class of Athea N.S. received their certificates of graduation from Fr. Bowen. Margaret Watters, principal Athea N.S. thanked Fr. Bowen for his kindness and being in touch always with the schoolchildren. Fr. Bowen thanked especially all his friends over the years who helped him over his 50 years of priesthood and the main message of his sermon was that “a good friend” is the most important person in one’s life.




After mass it was down to the hall, which incidentally was packed to capacity. Colleen Reidy, Matt Tierney and their band of helpers dished out the most beautiful food and all adults and children were fed to the hilt. Fr. Paddy had a little bar there and everyone was treated to a tipple! Music, song and dance was the order of the night and of course many jokes thrown in and songs sung by many including Fr. Bowen himself and friends. Mary Daly, his housekeeper, was presented with a bouquet of flowers and Fr. Paddy with a book of “This is your Life”. All those who organized the whole event must be sincerely thanked, it was a credit to all. And especially to Fr. Paddy who treated the capacity crowd to the entire party himself. The night finished up with all singing “ Auld Lang Syne” and “Bind us together”. Indeed a most memorable parish Golden Jubilee Celebration. We wish Fr. Bowen all the very best for the future and hopefully he enjoys Lourdes this week.


TABLET Page 12, 2nd January 1847


(Smith O’Brien a view of him)


Before I leave this subject I can't help mentioning one other circumstance which occurred on the Sunday before the debate with him, and it has been brought to my mind by the declaration that Mr. O'Brien would adhere to his own opinion even if all the lawyers were against him. On that afternoon I met a county Clare gentleman, who asked me if knew that Mr. Smith O'Brien was in town. I replied in the affirmative. He said—" when he was a boy his father was exceedingly fond of him; for since he was ten years' old, if sixty persons were opposed to him he would adhere to his own opinion." (Laughter.) I replied—" I fear that he is the same boy to this day. (Continued laughter.) He then returned to the subject of the Report, which he read, and concluded by moving its adoption.


ATHEA and Limerick

It’s The Way We Tell ‘em


Or should that be “the way we say them”. We might not think it but people from this area are very difficult to understand when they travel abroad (or beyond Limerick even!). We speak at a rate of knots and we very seldom separate our words from each other. We also have different pronunciations to other areas. “How are the men” is spoken as “howrdamin”.  We generally replace e with I therefore men become min, we write with a pin, a den is a din etc. We also drop the g at the end of words ending with ing so we have mornin, evenin walkin etc.  Contrast this with the people of Brosna and Mountcollins who really pronounce their ”ings” sometimes even putting a g where it shouldn’t be. A young boy once told me he was out on the “mounting” chasing hares. And a man in Newmarket used to ask me how the Askeating wrenboys were getting on.   There is also a tendency in this area to broaden some vowels. “leave me alone”  becomes “lavemealone” we feel the hate,  not heat, we drink “tay”, go to the “craymery”  and eat a “male”. We do all this with a lovely lilt but to the outsider it is very difficult to understand. I discovered this when I left home and went to England and even when I returned to Ireland, working for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, I had to consciously slow down and try to pronounce my words properly. There were two other men from Lixnaw working in headquarters at the time and when we got together at the dinner table we forgot ourselves and lapsed into our normal way of talking. A Dublin man, John Keenan, pulled us up one day and told us it was very rude to be conversing in Irish when there were others there who didn’t understand the language. He was convinced we were talking in Irish!! We got a good laugh out of that. I wouldn’t change the way we speak for the world. It is our own unique style and we are happy with it. Just be mindful when talking to people from outside the area and slow down a bit. Regional accents are in danger of disappearing in the not too distant future. Peg Prendeville alluded to it in her column last week and I wholeheartedly agree with her. Do we really want to talk with “TV accents” and just mimic everything that seems to be in vogue at the moment. There is nothing wrong with regional accents. Some of our most successful people never lost their native “blas” The Moriarty brothers, Paddy and Micheál from West Kerry, are two who made it to the top in their chosen profession without ever changing their accents. Their neighbour, Daithí O’Shea is another proud Kerry man who is a joy to listen too. Denis O’Connell from Moyvane was head of banking in Ireland but the minute he started to speak you could tell where he came from. I have never met somebody from Donegal that didn’t have that lovely rolling style of speaking and this is true of most counties in the North of Ireland so why should we ape what is a contrived accent and lose something that makes us different from others. TV has a lot to do with it. There is a kind of uniform accent in Montrose that is probably looked on as necessary for success. In England, many years ago, the BBC presenters all had what could be called “home county” accents. They realised that regional accents were in danger so they changed their policy and employed presenters and newscasters with strong regional accents. It worked. John B. Keane told the story of a time when he was having a pint in Al Roche’s bar in Lyreacrompane. A young fellow came in dressed in modern gear having just returned from England where he had spent six months. He asked for a drink in a strong London accent which prompted one of the locals to turn to John B. and remark “will you look at the eirí in áirde on my bocach”  Enough said.


Domhnall de Barra

Act of Love

By Peg Prendeville

Dressed in her navy and grey


I lead her to the school bus,


like the robin pushing her young


out of the nest.


Every muscle in me


strains to hold her back


and hug her to me


so that she may never lack


the comfort of knowing she is loved.


But a deeper knowledge whispers


“Let her go. Let her find herself.


I have given you the pleasure


of her first four years.


It was my special gift to you.


But she is my flower.


I will feed her


and she will blossom.


Give her to me and I will care for her


and you will have the reward


of knowing that you helped to plant


the seeds of her loveliness.


Like the seed she will endure darkness


before the light will draw her


so that her colours will ooze forth.


Then she will dance and sing in the sun


and she will fly back to you


on the wings of freedom.”


With tears ready to spill


I wave to my youngest child


as she begins her first day at school.


The death has taken place of Timothy (Tim) Ahern on Thursday July 30 2015 at his residence Long Island, New York and late of Rooskagh, Carrigkerry. He attended Ballyloughane, School in the 1930s Tim emigrated to America and became well known in the construction and painting business.  Tim and family provided work for a lot of Irish people over the years and looked out for their interests. His Funeral Mass and burial took place in Long Island, New York on Tuesday August 4. 2015 .


Council Needs New Members


Athea Community Council has a proud record of achievement going back almost 30 years. In the early days it was amalgamated with the tidy towns committee with a view to improving the look of the village by upgrading the infrastructure, creating litter awareness and developing areas like the Giants Garden. The council was made up of two representatives of each organisation in the parish and it was well attended and supported. After a few years the tidy towns went their own way and the council started sponsoring FAS schemes. These schemes made a huge difference to the village. Stone walls and footpaths were built and the Giants Garden was developed into the beautiful peaceful amenity it is today. To comply with FAS requirements the council had to become a company limited by guarantee and elections  were held to create a board of directors. There was great interest throughout the parish and plenty of nominees for the 12 positions on the board. It has worked well since then except for the fact that the number of people on the board has dwindled. When somebody resigns from the board, as will happen with retirement, other commitments, bereavement etc., there is nobody to take that place. Where we should have 12 members on the board we now have only six. Another problem is that five of those six have been there for years and years and are ready to retire. What is going to happen then?  If we have no community council we have no CE scheme. Without a scheme there will be no employment for 16 people locally, the streets will not be cleaned daily and the Church, Hall, GAA grounds etc will be without workers. The local graveyards and gardens, trees and shrubbery will not be maintained and grass will not be cut in the Summer time. They say you never miss the water ’till the well runs dry, well the water level is getting pretty low.  The local lottery still is well supported in the parish and has funded the schemes over the years as well as funding the new footbridge, refurbishing the library and the acquisition of  its own premises in the last couple of months. Unfortunately there are now only three people who are available to do the lottery on a Saturday night and they have been doing it for over 20 years. To be honest we are getting  a bit old and tired and could do with a break now and again. If we do not get some new blood soon the whole thing could collapse. There must be people out there who would be willing to join the council if only for a couple of hours a month. The more members we have the less workload for each person. Small communities like ours cannot survive without volunteers. If we want to have a nice place in which to live we must do it ourselves. There is nobody coming from outside to do it. There is no monetary gain but there is great satisfaction in being part of a body that promotes the welfare of the community and seeks to keep the village vibrant when others around us are closing down. For my own part I get great satisfaction from looking at the footbridge, the town land signs, the many stone walls and footpaths etc and thinking “I had a hand in creating that”. So I am making an appeal to anyone out there who might like to help to please contact me. Together we can continue to improve the place we love and keep a few jobs in the area. We can continue also to help the tidy towns committee in there efforts to enhance the appearance of the village and  gain valuable points in the annual competition. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future, just call to me at the office or give me a call at 087 6758762


Domhnall de Barra



More at


Liz Dunn in her Alice in Wonderland costume for The National Children's Literary Festival at Writers' Week 2015.


I have reached the conclusion that retired English people, some of them with no Irish blood in them, are the salt of the earth in many Irish rural communities. I encounter English people and hear English accents in every organization I join. Some are here because they have fallen in love with an Irish emigrant but many, like Liz, have fallen in love with Ireland and the way we live here. Many have become "more Irish than the Irish themselves."


Liz Dunn of Athea is the human dynamo behind The National Children's Literary Festival at Writers' Week. I have seen her work throughout the year as she led a committee of volunteers to the great festival that was the children's programme at this year's Writers' Week. She, literally and metaphorically, rolled up her sleeves and got to work. She always went the extra mile. I could exhaust every cliché for hard work and I would not have got to the essence of Liz.


She, with the help of a committee and children's co ordinator, Maria McGrath, put together the programme for the festival. Then Liz got to work selling it. She drove around the countryside distributing brochures, she visited schools, made countless phone calls and she networked like billy-o. All of this before the festival began. It was then she came into her own in earnest.


 Domhnall de Barra



The “Going to England”


There is a lot of talk, particularly since the fall of the Celtic Tiger, about emigration. There is a big difference between emigration now and what happened in the middle of the last century. After the 2nd World War there was abject poverty in this country which was just trying to find its feet after 800 years of British rule. Everybody was in the same boat except for the few who were lucky and wealthy enough to get an education and become teachers, civil servants etc.  Very few went beyond national school and some didn’t even complete the full term there as they were required to work on the family farm or take any kind of work to supplement the family income. Jobs were few and far between at a time when there were big families in every house so emigration was the only answer. England had been devastated by the war and needed building up so there was an opportunity for employment on the building sites and roadways. “Going to England” in those days took as long as going to Australia today.  I remember in the early ‘sixties getting the train from Abbeyfeale at 8am on Friday. There was a change at Limerick for Limerick Junction, then onto the train to Kingsbridge where we changed again for Dun Laoghaire. The boat was very primitive by today’s standards and was used to ferry live cattle as well. Most people sat in the open air all night. Arriving in Hollyhead, we took the train to Crewe where we waited for the London train. On then to Rugby and the final change to the Coventry train which got into the station at 8.15am Saturday morning; a full twenty four and a quarter hours travelling !  Those who arrived first made it easier for those who followed on because they were in a position to put them up for a while and point them in the right direction for employment. The Irish were not generally welcome in Britain in those days. Boarding houses often had the sign “No pets, no blacks, no Irish”  printed on the front window but they were needed to do the work and gradually became accepted by the majority of the English who are in the main a very fair race, in fact they were much better to the Irish workers than some of their own who exploited them. Girls got work in factories, hospitals and as maids in big houses while the men mainly worked on the buildings. Much of the work was sub-contracted to Irishmen who were known as “subbies”. They would arrive at a central point in the town on a Monday morning where the men looking for work gathered. They took as many as they needed and if any of them did not come up to scratch they were not taken the following day. As in all walks of life there were good and bad subbies, some treating their men well while others overworked and underpaid them while lining their own pockets. Going home to Ireland often was not an option. No cheap Ryanair flights in those days and the travelling time was too long. Many of the men spent their wages in the pub (staying in the digs all night was not an option) and only came back home for funerals.  Others sent money every week to help those at home. Indeed many households depended on the letters from abroad to survive.  The Irish communities in England gradually grew and  eventually became an important part of the country’s development. They became involved in all walks of life, including politics, and made a name for themselves.  The beginning though was tough; hard work and the heartache of being separated from family and friends in a foreign land. Today’s emigrants have no such troubles. They are all well educated and are only a couple of hours away at any time. They can thank the early travellers for the opportunities that exist for them today.


 Domhnall de Barra


Tribute to Pat Brosnan


Fun in the Snow

By Peg Prendeville

“Mammy, does God answer all prayers”

The child asked his mother one day

“Well he listens to all and does his best.”

“Goodee, cos for snow I’m going to pray.”

So he went on his knees and joined his hands

“Please God, if you’re not too busy tonight

Will you send down some snow – a heap of it, please

We all want a snowball fight.”

And God as we know likes to please every child

And he answered the little boy’s plea.

The very next morning when the boy did awake

He clapped his hands with glee.

He stood at the window and called “Lads get up

The place is covered in white.

Thank you God for listening to me,

Now I know Mammy was right.”

So on with the clothes, his boots and his gloves

Out to the virgin lawn.

Snowballs and missiles flew through the air

It was like a war in Glenbawn.

He made a snowman big and fat

With a carrot for a snout,

He buttoned his coat with pebbles

And put a pipe into his mouth.

And all that day the snowman stood

And watched the fun and play

The sun shone down and, said the child,

“Oh no, I think he’s going away.

The snowman’s shrinking, he’s gone so small

I think my fun must end.”

That night in bed he joined his hands

“Thank you, God. You’re my best friend.”

By Tom Aherne

The death has taken place of Patrick J (Pat) Brosnan Knocknagorna, Athea, and late of Dromada, Lyreacrompane, Co. Kerry peacefully in the loving care of the Bluebell Unit, St. Ita’s Hospital, Newcastle West on Thursday January 8th. He was predeceased by his wife Mary Normoyle, who was a native of Glenastar, Ardagh, on November 11th 2009. Pat composed many songs including The Lights of Carrigkerry while he was living in England in the 1960s and it was recorded by George Langan. The song is heard regularly on 102 FM Community Radio and other local stations. His passing was even mentioned in the Irish Country Living section of the Irish Farmers Journal. He was a familiar face in the locality attending Irish Nights, and collecting the various censuses for the C.S.O. He lay in repose in Kelly’s Funeral Home, Athea on Friday January 9th from 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm followed by removal to St. Bartholomew’s Church, Athea.

His Requiem Mass on Saturday at 12.00 noon was concelebrated by Fr Paddy Bowen, Fr Michael Cussen and Canon Kelly. Family members were very involved in the readings, prayers of the faithful, offertory gifts and hymns. Family members brought symbols associated with Pat’s long life to the altar before mass commenced. They included a sod of turf to show his love for nature and time spent working in the bogs. His pens which were used to cover a lifetime of news collecting and a number of publications in which his writings appeared over the years. Fr Paddy in his homily recited one of Pat’s Limericks from his published book and spoke of his loyalty to God, family and community. Margaret and Tina sang lovely hymns throughout the ceremony and Pat and Mary’s work for the church was remembered. His daughter Breda, on behalf of the family, thanked everybody and paid a lovely tribute to her father, and son Seán recited one of his compositions “Athea”.

Large crowds attended on both days to pay their last respects and to offer their condolences to his family on their sad loss. Pat was laid to rest amid wind and rain beside his late wife Mary in Holy Cross Cemetery on January 10th. Domhnall De Barra paid him a deserved tribute for all the work he did for the many organizations in the community and sang The Bard of Athea, one of his own compositions. This was composed to mark Pat’s 25 years writing the parish notes for The Limerick Leader. Con Fitzgerald sang one of Pat’s best known compositions The Turf Machine, and local musicians played a selection of music. Tina’s singing of ‘In my Father’s House’ on a bitter cold January afternoon touched all present.

We extend our sympathy to his son Seán (Listowel), daughters Sheila (Walsh, Athea ), Tina (Andrews, Dublin), Breda, (Burr, Canada), eight grandchildren, daughter in law Marie, sons in law Pat, Chris and Andrew, sisters in law Kathleen and Maureen Brosnan (Lyreacrompane), nephews, nieces, cousins, other relatives, wonderful neighbours and a very large circle of friends. May he rest in Peace.

The Ballyguiltenane Rural Journal will be in the shops this weekend. The family of the late Thomas J O’Donoghue has put the final touches to the journal which he had nearly completed before his unexpected death last December. This will be the 37th edition and it will be dedicated to his memory. The much admired journal was founded in 1977 and it grew to be one of the most sought after publications each December. The three founding members Thomas J. O’Donoghue, Paddy Faley, and Pat Brosnan, have all passed on, and we thank them for the great enjoyment they provided for readers at home and abroad over the 37 years. The final edition is bound to become a collector’s item, and an early purchase of the journal is advisable, and we look forward to its contents.

Congratulations and best wishes to Paul Collins, son of Pius and Margaret, and Audrey Galvin, daughter of Aiden and Kay, on their recent wedding at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Irremore, Listowel. Mass was celebrated by Fr. Maurice Brick. Bridesmaids were Ciara Cullen, Fiona Kitchen and Louise Galvin. Best man was Jamie Collins, Groomsmen were Tom Collins and Denis Collins. Flowergirls, Niamh Kitchen and Sarah Collins. First Reading: Sarah Moriarty, Second Reading: Amanda Harnett. Prayer of the Faithful readers: Jerry Hannon, Siobhán Naughton, Lizzy Turbinski, Paudie Galvin, Lorraine O’Mahony, Michael Hannon, Philip Collins. Offertory Gifts: Kay Galvin and Margaret Collins. Reflection: Helena Walsh. Music: The O’Neill sisters. A great day in glorious sunshine was had by all and celebrations began at The Malton Hotel in Killarney

DEATH occurred on 30th May 2014 of Sheila Lynch (nee O’Connor) Upper Athea, wife of the late Mick. Sheila was in her nineties and some years ago ran Lynch’s pub with her husband Mick. She will be missed by her son Danny, daughters Nora and Mary, daughter-in-law Marion, sons-in-law Ger and Frank, grandchildren, daughter-in-law, sons-in-law, nieces, nephews, sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, nephews and nieces.

DEATH occurred at St. Ita’s Hospital, Newcastle West of Catherine (Kit) Shine of Dalton Street, Athea. Deceased, whose maiden name was Fitzgerald, was a native of Keale North but lived most of her life in Athea. She was pre-deceased by her late husband Dan Shine several years ago. Kit, who had reached her 90’s, was a very religious person and a regular attendant at the Masses in her local Church. She also visited Lourdes and many pilgrimages. Up to a few years ago she could be regularly seen out on her bicycle cycling through the village or on the way to visit her brother Tom in Keale.

Few weeks ago since her daughter Breda Carey died . She was married to retired Garda Jerry Carey who was a native of Galway. Kit Shine was laid to rest at Holy Cross Cemetery after requiem Mass on 17th November 2013.

DEATH has taken place of Jack Connolly, Ballymuddagh, Glin, on November 16th, 2013, (in his 97th year). He is survived by his wife Mary, sons Patrick, Thomas, Gerard, John, daughters Ann, Sally, Una and Mairead, Predeceased by his son Joseph. Also survived by daughters-in-law Elaine and Anne and Thomas's partner Maureen, sons-in-law Charles and Thomas, grandchildren Laura, Michael, Robert, Jack and Thomas, sister-in- law Sr. Josephine (Fermoy) In the Church of the Immaculate Conception Glin, Requiem Mass was celebrated for Jack Connolly on 19th November 2013, Burial in Kilfergus Cemetery, Glin.

Killeaney AFC club members extend sympathies to Tom Connolly, Treasurer of the club, on the death of his father Jack Connolly at the ripe old age of 97. Jack had been active until very recently. He was featured in the 2nd Vanishing Ireland book. Jack was noted for his great memory and the editor, Turtle Bunbury, had this to say about him in the book “Jack is a quietly lucid individual. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of family pedigrees in the area. Not only is he able to identify any man or woman down to their nearest (or farthest) second cousin twice removed, but he can reel off the year of their birth, their occupation and their present address.” Sympathies to Tom, his mother Mary and all the Connolly families.

OLD IRISH WAYS MUSEUM; Located in Caherguillamore, Bruff and owned by Denis O’Connor , for details visit

From Tom Ahern

Stephen Goulding, son of John and Mary, Carrigkerry, will be standing for the Labour Party in next year’s Limerick County Council local elections which will be held in May. He is presently living with his wife and family in Newcastle West and is very involved in community and volunteering and would be a great asset and a strong voice for our area. He is presently the Deputy Principal of Listowel Community College, after a number of years spent teaching in Desmond College Newcastle West. Stephen is also National Treasurer of the Principals & Deputy Principals association of the TUI. He is a member of Newcastle West & District Lions Club, Newcastle West AFC and the Arra Players Drama group. He is also a Board member of West Limerick Resources since 2010 and was appointed to the board of Leargas last year by Minister Ruairi Quinn. Stephen is also a Volunteer broadcaster on West Limerick 102 and presents a weekly Sunday review programme.

Congratulations to Sean Goulding from Carrigkerry who recently published This Haunted Island which is on sale in Newcastle West Bookstore. Sean is a philosophy graduate who has taught in Ireland, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. He is living in Saudi Arabia

Death of Bridie A Shine

By |Pat Brosnan

The death occurred on 28th March 2013 of Bridie Ann Shine of Gortnagross, Athea. She was a member of a well known and highly regarded local family and her death has been widely regretted. Together with her late brother Mossie, Bridie Ann ran a busy and thriving grocery shop in the village which only closed in recent years. Bridie was a very religious person and attended Mass regularly up to very recently even after her health had started to decline. Bridie Ann and Mossie were both members of Athea Civil Defence Unit at one stage when it had a big membership in the locality and Mossie was also Chairman of Athea GAA Club for a number of years. A big number of people from far and near called to Kelly’s Funeral Home on Saturday evening to pay their respects and offer their condolences to Bridie Ann’s relations. There was also a large congregation at the Requiem Mass on Easter Sunday morning which was celebrated by Fr Patrick Bowen PP and Canon Patrick Kelly. The funeral to Holy Cross cemetery on Sunday afternoon was also well attended. Michael O’ Halloran from Pallaskenry represented the Retired Limerick County Civil Defence Association at the Requiem Mass. Sympathy is extended to Bridie Ann’s nieces, nephews, her in-laws and other relatives. ‘May her soul rest in peace’.

Ardagh Notes April 2013

The Irish in the American Civil War was launched at Newcastle West Bookshop on Saturday 23rd March 2013 by Sean Kelly a member of the Newcastle West Historical Society. Sean gave a most interesting talk on the war and his views on some of the battle sites he visited which was enjoyed very much by the good attendance present. The author of the 200 plus page book Damian Shiels from Reerasta South Ardagh, and family members were also in attendance. Damian gave all present details of his background work and his interest in the military and wars. The official launch was done by Myles Dungan of RTE in the National Museum of Ireland Collins Barracks on Saturday 23rd February. The book is a social history of the war and it is broken into four sections ‘beginnings’, ‘realities,’ ‘the wider view’, and the ‘aftermath.’ Damian is an archaeologist by profession and this is his first book and it is published by The History Press Ireland. The book is available for sale in Newcastle West Bookshop

DEATH Feb. 2013;: The death has taken place of James (Jim) Neville, Ballylin Shanagolden, and late of Kilcolman Rovers soccer club. He was the son of the late Jack and Catherine, and he was a member of a large family and he was 63 years old. He was educated in nearby Nutgrove School and Rathkeale Technical School. He worked as a carpenter in the building trade and took pride in his work. He was very involved in playing sports in his young days winning honours with Kilcolman Rovers as a player and manager in soccer and Kilcolman, Carrigkerry and Saint Kieran’s in football. He won a West Junior football medal with Kilcolman in 1970 and a West U-21 football medal with Carrigkerry in 1971(final played in 1972) and a number of tournament trophies during a short career. He won 7 Desmond League medals Munster Junior Cups and F.A.I. Area Cups and Desmond Cup medals with Kilcolman Rovers over a long playing career.

His health declined and he was forced to give up work about 14 years ago but he kept active and pursued his leisure activities. He liked attending matches and vintage displays with his friends, and he was a familiar figure around Creeves Cross. He also liked reading quizzes, and taking a few drinks in the Thatch Bar. He was honoured by the Kilcolman Rovers soccer club at their function to mark 44 years in the Desmond League in Neary’s Bar Ardagh on 12th January 2013. His sudden passing is much regretted by all who were lucky to know Jim and to see him playing sports since he donned the Kilcolman Rovers jersey in 1968 up to his retirement as manager in 1987.

His remains reposed at Madigan’s Funeral Home, Shanagolden from, followed by removal, to the local Church on Thursday evening last. His Funeral Mass was celebrated in Saint Senan’s Church Shanagolden by Father Jim Noonan with family members assisting in the ceremony and the choir members supplied some appropriate hymns and music. His brother Maurice on behalf of the family paid a lovely tribute to Jim, who was taken far too young from this World. Members of Kilcolman Soccer Club and Saint Kieran’s G.A.A. Club formed a guard of honour as his remains left the church. Burial took place in Kilmoylan Cemetery on Friday 22nd February. 2013, We extend our sympathy to his brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, relatives, kind neighbours, and a large circle of friends. May he rest in Peace.

Suicide Tragedies

PATS Corner Athea News

It has been said that there are few families in this country who have not been affected to some extent by suicide, whether it be close relatives, distant relatives, a neighbour or friend of a deceased person who has taken his or her own life in such tragic circumstances. We all have had recourse to this in our time, in my own case a near relation in Knocknagoshel parish some years ago. There seems to be no overall cause that drives a person to such an unfortunate action but we can only surmise that those who take their own lives are very disturbed and traumatised and can see no rational way of getting out of their predicament. That is the sad part of it all that while some people who commit suicide appear perfectly normal up to the time of their tragic deaths and might have benefited had they discussed their worries with relatives, friends and professionals who may have been able to help them overcome their fears or whatever may be bothering them. There are others of course who may be suffering from chronic ill health and depression who would be more likely to attempt suicide and of course such people require all possible help and treatment as well as constant supervision.

But as already stated there is no simple or common reason why some decide to take their own lives, each case is different and unique to the person who attempts or succumbs in inflicting self-harm upon themselves. But this stated there are some very well known facts which could lead to suicide such as financial problems which are very much in the forefront in these times of depression, abusive behaviour in the home or elsewhere, alcohol and drug problems, troublesome family members or difficult neighbours, victims of vandalism, robberies and anti-social behaviour, unfair and discriminating treatment by the authorities in different matters against certain people, all such things lead to anxiety and uncertainty and possibly trigger off thoughts of self-harm in people of a more sensitive personality.

Last week my fellow correspondent Tom Aherne, Carrigkerry, mentioned in his column that while he agreed with Garda Vetting for all people coming into the workforce he also mentioned that Garda vetting for participants for Community Employment Schemes is a joke at present due to the delay in vetting. Tom of course would know more that me on this particular instance in the Carrigkerry area, but in the overall context of this Garda vetting process is if it’s at all needed in most instances. While we all know that a small minority of unsuitable people were in the wrong jobs in the past, it does not mean that those who are now taking up employment or changing their jobs need to be treated in a suspicious manner and be subjected to Garda intervention. No blame to the guards who have been allocated this task by the Government or the relevant Department, but certainly it gives the impression that our country is becoming more and more like a Police State and people’s lives becoming more and more under the control of the Irish authorities, or even more sinister under the iron heel of the European Union.

God knows the Gardaí have enough to do besides having to interrogate everybody who is about to take up employment. That should be the task and responsibility of the potential employer just as it always has been, when in our younger days we took up employment or changed jobs either in this country or when we worked abroad. As already mentioned the Gardaí should be left to do their job of preventing and solving crime.

Having often worked under the supervision of the Gardaí while doing Census for the Central Statistics Office it is only fair to state that the Gardaí were great people to work with, but long before my employment with the CSO compiling the Census and later supervising it had been taken from the Gardaí and passed on to civilian enumerators and supervisors where it remains at the present. But to revert back to the vetting process, in our younger days all that was needed by people going into employment was a reference from a parish priest, a former teacher or some other local dignitary, certainly no vetting in those days. And as far as those working in County Council road works or similar employment the idea of having to get a reference to take up such manual work would certainly be treated as a big joke.

Now it looks as if a person who is about to take up a job footing turf for a week in a bog will need to be vetted. What indeed is the world coming to? As we started off this article with a look at the possible causes of suicide here is a little story (completely hypothetical, or imaginary) which ties up the two strands of this article. “A young girl of 18 whom we will call Sue worked in a shop in the nearby town. She was a quiet, sensitive girl but was a good efficient worker and got on well with her employers and the customers. All was going well until one morning the owner of the shop checked the till and found that a sum of money from the previous day’s takings was missing. She questioned Sue about it who told her that in all honesty she knew nothing about it. However, the missing money was not found and a couple of weeks later the owner informed Sue that her services were no longer required. This worried Sue quite a lot as she felt that she had been branded a thief without any reason on her part. But she decided to get on with life and applied for another job that was being offered in another more distant town. She went through a vetting process and in her honesty mentioned that she felt that she had been a suspect in the theft of some money in the original shop where she had worked. She failed to get the job that she had applied for but she still kept looking for employment again and again and again. But the answer was always the same, sorry the vacancy has been filled. One day her mother came home from work and found Sue unconscious on the sofa, she had taken an overdose of tablets, but they got her quickly to the local hospital where she made a quick and full recovery. A couple of days after Sue had come home from hospital she and her mother had an unexpected visitor, the lady from the shop where Sue had worked. She was all lovey-dovey and tearful apologies for having suspected Sue as she explained how the missing money had been found in a separate compartment in the till a couple of weeks previously, before Sue was admitted to hospital. She told Sue and her mother that she had been too ashamed to call on them until she had heard what happened to Sue. And then of course the inevitable offer to Sue that- “yes dear your job is waiting for you any time that you are ready to come back”. “No thank you, I don’t think so” replied Sue’s mother as she poured her visitor a cup of tea”.

The above little tale can be accepted as typical of either truth or fiction, but it would illustrate my own belief that too much of this vetting lark is of no benefit either to employers or employees. In my own experience of having worked in English psychiatric hospitals for ten years one of the things that was most evident during all this time is that the mind is a very fragile thing in either healthy or sick people and needs to be treated as such. Strangely enough in one of those hospitals there were more suicides and attempted suicides among staff rather that patients there.

One middle aged ward sister who was near retirement age took an overdose of tablets which killed her. Then again there was a young and very fit married man who was a charge nurse in one of the wards and the captain of one of the soccer teams at the hospital during my time there. By all accounts he had some financial problems which caused a mental breakdown, he was sent to another psychiatric hospital for treatment and while there he killed himself by turning on a gas oven. Another staff nurse whom we knew attempted suicide while home for a weekend. It would not have been al that surprising if a patient in a hospital psychiatric ward had to be put on special observation because of a suicide risk, but qualified professionals attempting or committing suicide would of course be a much more complicated matter and where is the answer to this?

In my opinion instead of the present Garda so-called vetting it would be much safer and more practical to have an assessment of those seeking employment carried out by trained professionals who would have a much better understanding of the complexities of personality traits and none of the delays of the present system which as Tom Aherne very rightly pointed out in his column last week is preventing people from taking up much needed employment and holding up schemes that are basically designed to help rural communities particularly areas where there is high unemployment. All this red tape cannot be good for the mind, the body or the soul, so let us see the end of it.

Septembers of the Past

From Pats Corner Athea

September has in the past always been a rather special month for those of us who grew up in the rural areas of the country. While we may not have any great happy memories of having to return to school after six weeks of freedom during the summer holidays romping around through the countryside during July and August, or out in the bogs and hayfields helping as best we could with the saving of the crops. Some of my own special memories of Septembers of our boyhood and early teenage years are of bringing in some of the late saved hay into the sheds and of being out in the cornfields during fresh and balmy September days giving a hand with the binding of the sheaves of oats, wheat and barley after these had been cut with the horse drawn mowing machine. No reapers or binders or any up to date machinery in our part of the country in those far off days just the basic equipment that was needed to bind and stook the corn crops before bringing these into the farmyard and putting into stacks in readiness for the threshing later in the year. Then of course September brought us the All-Ireland finals in hurling and football and how we eagerly looked forward to the broadcast of these matches on the old battery operated radio of those days. In later years of course we often travelled to Croke Park, particularly when the Kerry team were playing in the football final. September too was the month of the Listowel Races which meant a few days off from school for the children of North Kerry. What a fascinating place Listowel was for young children in those days, with the Market Yard a virtual wonderland of excitement and colour with the swinging boats, the chair planes, the bumper cars, the ghost train, the trick of the hoop operators, the magicians and all the other amusements and sideshows that made a trip to the Listowel Races one of the highlights of the year for the young boys and girls of North Kerry and West Limerick. There was also, of course, for the older teenagers and those in their twenties, thirties, forties and so forth a set dancing platform in the Market Yard where people could dance to their hearts content in the crisp Autumn air until late into the evening. Then as well as that there was a good choice of adult dancing venues for the race nights, the Slua Hall, the Astor Cinema and Walsh’s Ballroom. Also if the weather was still holding fine in September it was considered a good time of the year to spend a day in Ballybunion when the place was quieter after the summer holidaymakers had left. Apart from the Sunday of the All-Ireland finals other Sundays in September were often taken up attending County Championship hurling and football finals which were usually played in the Autumn. It was a time as well when local matches in our area would be played with all the needle and intense excitement that such encounters between neighbouring teams in rural parishes were to generate in times past. In those days when a farmer would lend a field that would be suitable for playing a match between local townlands he did not have to worry about insurance claims if there was an accident in his field during the course of a game unlike the present time when he would be liable if any of the participants in a game or sports of any kind got hurt. In our young days there used to be a sports field in every townland and nobody gave it a second thought as it was considered completely natural and normal that a farmer would lend a field to a local football team or sports club. Not once in those days did one ever hear of a farmer looking for money for the use of his field. In many instances some of those local football pitches were meadows and would only be available for matches from September until April when the hay would then start to grow. But as well there were grazing fields where matches could be played at any time of the year. In our own farm part of a meadow was used as the townland’s football pitch, but again only after the hay was saved and drawn home and the after grass eaten by the livestock in early September. The field was then ready for football. Then each year towards the end of September the digging of the potatoes was usually started and rural people exchanged their views about how good the crop was or otherwise. In normal years most of the turf had been drawn home from the bogs by early September (this year has surely been one of the exceptions) but hopefully the potato crop and indeed all the other crops will still show a good return in the long run for all our sakes, as losing any crop would be a disaster. This time of the year holds many special personal memories for me as it was on a September night that Mary Normoyle and myself first met at a Sinn Féin Céilí in Scanlon’s Hall, Athea. At home on holidays from England at the time and looking forward to attending the Kerry v Galway All-Ireland Football Final that weekend, someone in Listowel told me that a bus was taking people to a Céilí in Athea that night. Actually the girl who told me about it was Maureen Flavin from Dirrha who was working in Listowel and going out with Mickey Quinn from Templeathea at the time, and later married, who sadly died a few years ago after himself and Maureen had raised a lovely family of four boys who incidentally are good friends of my son Seanie since he went to live in Listowel parish several years ago. It is really amazing how one short trip in a bus to a Céilí can change a person’s whole life but certainly without any regrets. September brings back many happy memories of my first time meeting Mary and of all my years since in Athea and all that this lovely parish has given me and the family through all the good and indeed sometimes sad times. With all these things in mind September can be a month of many pleasant memories.


“The days are so short and the nights so long

Thinking of Christmas and holidays coming on

So we sit in the workroom at study you see

Planning the day when we will be “Set Free”

I will never forget that day in November

When Mulhern was in a tare and showed up her temper

She called on the 2nd years and oh what a dose

She opened their bags and examined their clothes.

The first was Mary Agnes whom we thought was the best

But Mulhern was not pleased, she found fault with the rest

Her print and her overall were ironed so grand

That Mull “beat her away with the back of her hand”

Gretta came next with her clothes in a bag

Her print and her overall tied up like a rag

Mull chases her away and giving her a thump

Saying get out of my sight you lazy lump.

Written in c 1945 by Kathleen’s Mother of Athea.

Muckross, Killarney after the storm Feb. 2014

Nature threw a tantrum

And said “Listen here to me!

If you don’t mind the planet

You’ll be left without a tree!”

The wind it howled with temper

Ran across the land in rage

Destroying all before it.

Its strength was hard to gauge.

Til at last it was exhausted

And laid down with a sigh.

Now we survey the damage

Most unpleasing to the eye.


Peg Prendiville

JACK O GRADY aged 90 July 2014 Knockbawn

Happy Birthday Jack O’Grady

Jack O'Grady on his 90th birthday

Jack O’Grady on his 90th birthday

You’re an inspiration to us all

On how to live to ninety years.

With you we are enthralled.

When you get up each morn

You get ready for to go

To tend your cabbage and your spuds

And watch your garden grow.

You’ve been married to your darling Peg

For sixty years and four

You both have had a happy life

And a welcome at the door

For all who wish to call on you

And trash out the daily news,

From politics to religion

You share your different views.

You’ve reared a loving family

Three sons, and a daughter

You’ve been blessed with nine grandchildren

Who have brought love and laughter.

Your great grandchild Jack is just the first

There are more to come I hear

So there will be many reasons yet

To fill your heart with cheer.

On this, your ninetieth birthday,

It is my privilege to write

These few lines to honour you

And I pray most every night

That you’ll be with us for a long time yet

In the company of your wife

And I will call and chat a while

As I have done all my life.

Peq Prendeville

Dr John Danaher, Medical Doctor, Obituary, August 1900.

Funeral Of Dr Danaher

The funeral of this much regretted young man took place on Sunday last from his brothers residence in Monemohill. Dr Danaher, who, since taking his degrees had been in practice in London, some time ago contracted rheumatic fever, from the effects of which he never rallied despite what medical care and skill can do. The immense cortege that accompanied the remains to the family burial ground at Ardagh testified to the love and respect in which Dr Danaher was held by his neighbours.

Father Cahill (in the unavoidable absence of Rev S Danaher PP) officiated, assisted by the Rev Fathers O’Gorman and Kenrick, and among those present were P Danaher, Woodcliffe; D Danaher (brothers); John Danaher, Dublin; J Danaher, Moyreen; Maurice Danaher, Stephen Danaher, Shanagolden; J Danaher, Athea; P Danaher, Glenagore; W Danaher, Loveglass; To Danaher, James Danaher, Loughill; Timothy Danaher, The Mount; Coroner J M Ambrose, MD; Dr Cornelius Nolan, Shanagolden; Dr Edward Ambrose, London; Dr S E Hayes, Rathkeale; Dr Morgan, Messrs Michael Feeheny, DC; John Morgan, DC; Edward Sheehy, CC; Fc Hartigan, BE; James Liston, DC; P O’Shaughnessy, DC, Loughill; J Fitzgerald, Balllyhahill; M H Woulfe, Newcastle West; Stephen Ambrose, do; James Ward, DC; John O’Shaughnessy. Joseph Fitzgerald, Michael O’Sullivan, James Moloney, DC; James T Moloney, Mohernagh; Daniel Commane, John Commane, Stephen Commane, P J Enright, John Enright, J Leahy. Thomas Leahy, Timothy Leahy, M Burke, Tiermore, R Burke, Old Mill; Peter Burke, P Hedderman, Fern Hill; Thomas Madigan, Shanagolden; M O’Callaghan, Ballynoe; D O’Callaghan, Feenagh; P L O’Sullivan, Chairman DC, Shanagolden; John Kelly, Shanagolden; James Purtill RO; Philip Purtill, Castlequarter; Thomas Liston, Athea; Denis Hurley, Athea; James Leahy, Benanaspuck; Michael Trehy, DC; Stephen Mulcair, John Mulcair, Michael McDonnell, James Nolan, DC; William Irwin, Moig; John Hurley, Banogue; P Liston, Park; John Manahan, Moyreen; Robert Quaid, Knockaderry; Daniel O’Brien, PLG; Michael Dore, Monegay; John Mangan, Shanagolden; John Dore, Shanagolden; Daniel Riordan, Michael O’Connor, Flean; John O’Brien DC; Thomas O’Brien DC; Thomas Stanley, John M Donovan, DC; M Cregan, DC; John Cregan, Shanid; J Creegan, Ballyhahill; W Cregan, J Flynn, Carrickerry; John Halpin, M Culhane, Thomas Culhane, Barneigue; John O’Kelly, Michael Dalton, James Neville, Michael Mangan, Monemohill; John Hastings, Patrick Kerley, Shanid; James Nolan, Ballyanne; Thomas Nolan, Waterpark; Cornelius Nolan, Glensharrold; Michael Leahy, P Barry, W Kennedy, Shanagolden; P O’Shaughnessy, CC, Newcastle West; P O’Shaughnessy, Solicitor, Rathkeale; T Hunt, Solicitor, Kilrush; James Norman, Rathkeale; Dr Mangan, P O’Shaughnessy, DC, Kilbrethern; P Hunt, Athea; T Quaid, John Tierney, M Tierney, Templeathea; M Fitzgerald, Glenagore; J Dalton, Glenagore; Michael Liston, Glenastare; M Fitzgibbon PLG; James Fitzgibbon, RC; M McDonnell, Dunmoylan; John McDonnell, RO; Daniel Mullane, John O’Shea, Lisready; etc, etc,

Wreaths were sent by the Sisters of Mercy, Mrs Hartigan, Dr Ambrose, (London); Miss Nolan, Miss Delia Danaher, and several other sympathetic friends.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr Phelan, Newcastle West.

This death took place on the 8th August 1900 and was published in a newspaper after his funeral. We do not know the name of the Newspaper !. He was aged 34 when he died.

Glin Library

Posted on 06/11/2014 by glinlib

Congratulations to the Glin men who won the County Junior Football title last weekend. Well done to all the team : M. Stack, T. O’Connor, B. O’Donovan, K. Sweeney, J. Fitzgerald, P. Costello, John Wallace P. Moloney (0-1), E. Horan, P. Sheahan (0-1), M. Culhane (0-7), D. Sheahan (0-2), P. Scanlon (0-1), P. Fitzgerald, T. Culhane (0-2). Subs: S.Culhane for P. Sheahan, M. Sweeney for T. Culhane, A. Mulvihill for D. Sheahan, T. Scanlon for K. Sweeney, H. Dunne for J. Wallace, James Wallace, B. Culhane, M. Sheehy, S. Shine, P.Horan, G. Culhane.

I post the following poem which was written by Paddy Faley RIP when they last won in 1984. It was published in the BRJ 1985 which is in the local history corner of the library.

Some well trained men set out from Glin

To capture the county crown

In the junior grade we were not afraid

Their followers they’d let down.

For Timmie Woulfe had made them tough

As he drilled them oe’r and oe’r

Day and night in their sportsfield bright

Down by the Shannon shore.

Great craft and skill he did instill

Into these gallant men

Who in their great display on that November day

Defeated the famed Seán Finns.

Like great Glin men bold in the days of old

They shone out in ‘84

And we sang their praise as in former days

Down by the Shannon shore.

For history’s sake an effort I’ll make

Their names to enumerate

Michael McLoughlin of course between the posts

We cannot over-rate.

We had Hogan John and Jack Regan

And Paddy Sweeney to the fore

The three Fitzs clearing, Maurice, Shane and Kieran

Down by the Shannon shore.

Noel Culhane, a great young man

With Davy Fitzgerald too

They at centrefield great skill did yield

And their rivals did subdue.

John Anthony in the roll of captaincy

And Fitzgerald farmer John

Did wish John McNamara shine, in the half forward line

And could be relied upon.

Leo Roche is beyond reproach

With Michael Adams and Conor Fitz

In full forward flight was an inspiring sight

As they smashed Rathkeale to bits.

Subs, young Liam Long and Jotty Culhane

A warrior from days of yore

Brought great renown into Glin town

Down by the Shannon shore.

As they home returned, the bonfires burned

To welcome our heroes brave

Amidst ringing cheers as in former years

When their forefathers the day did save.

Excitement was high as the night drew nigh

And the music and song did soar

As the county cup, it was filled up

In the pubs by the Shannon shore.

LOCAL Produce; jar of Ballyhahill Honey for sale and it impressed me at how many local entrepreneurial people live in the area. We will never go hungry in Knockdown as long as we have O’Briens Cheese, Kearney’s Bread and Scones, Novelty Cakes by Lisa, Home baking by Maire Reidy McIntyre, Puddings and Sausages by Brouders, Honey by McClellan in Lime Kiln Cottage not forgetting the Knockdown coleslaw

Taken from By Peg Prendeville of Knockdown News.



Changes in our Time


I was looking recently at a film made in the early days of television in this country  and I was surprised at the change in the way  the people of this locality express themselves. The programme was made in Abbeyfeale for “Radharc” in the early sixties. Much of it was filmed during a fair day in the town  and a number of local men and women were interviewed about their lives and the locality. It was lovely to hear the old West Limerick/North Kerry dialect with the odd word of Irish thrown in for good measure.  It brought me back to my own young days going to Kelly’s school in Abbeyfeale. On a fair day it was impossible to cycle through the town which was full of cattle, pigs, sheep and other livestock. Walking through, it was great to hear the tangling and deal-making  of the farmers with the buyers, some of whom came from far up the country. They could easily be recognised by their accents which seemed strange to us. I remember the first time I ever heard a different accent to our own. It was as a young boy being taken to England on a holiday by my grandmother. We left Abbeyfeale station at 8am in the morning and having taken the train to Limerick, Limerick Junction, Kingsbridge (now Heuston Station), and  Dunlaoghaire, went on the cattle boat to Holyhead. At Hollyhead we boarded the train for Crewe, changed there for Rugby and finally got the train to Coventry arriving at 8.15am, 24 and a quarter hours after leaving home. You could be in Australia now in less time. It was when I boarded the train in Holyhead  that I heard a Welsh accent for the first time. I was amazed that it could be so different but I soon learned that  accents changed from place to place, each with its own beauty.


In Ireland we had beautiful regional accents from Donegal to Waterford , Kerry to Antrim. They seem to be dying out and it is a pity. Young girls in particular have adopted  a way of speaking that is influenced by a manufactured accent from Dublin 4. This way of speaking removes all the broad vowels with roundabouts being pronounced  “rindabytees”, houses are “hyses” and apparently there is a big city on the South coast called “Quork”. There is also an upward inclination at the end of each sentence as if it was a question.  Why are we so apologetic about our natural accent that we have to  imitate the so-called celebrities on our airwaves?  Some people went to England and America in their youth, lived their lives in those countries without ever changing. Others went for six months and returned  speaking like cockneys and yanks.  Is it a lack of self esteem and confidence that makes us want to blend in? Yes, we have to speak clearly and at a normal pace to make ourselves understood but keeping one’s own accent has never been a barrier to getting to the top in any profession. During my days as president of Comhaltas I had many dealings with RTE. The head of the authority at the time was Paddy Moriarty from West Kerry. He was also head of the ESB and many other national organisations but never compromised on his beautiful Kerry Gaeltacht brogue. Neither did his brother, the famous broadcaster Micheál. A man called Denis O’Connell from Moyvane was the top man in banking in this country for many years. You would never think he left North Kerry. How come it is only the Irish that have the tendency to change their accent? You would never find a Welsh or Scottish person doing so and the English have kept their own regional distinctive accents and encourage their broadcasters to use them. One final grouse: why have we all, men and women, become “guys”.  We still have a bit of growing up to do.


 Domhnall de Barra


By Peg Prendeville






There is very little happening in the area so I include a little poem to cheer up your hearts. Remember Lucy, my grandchild, who was born with spina bifida and was told she would not be able to walk as she was paralysed from the waist down. For a long time she was very immobile but, through private physiotherapy in First Step Therapy in Patrickswell, Lucy has good news for us as follows:




“Dear Mammy, I’ve something to tell you




And I know you’ll be filled with delight




When you hear that I took a few steps today




With my walking frame to keep me upright.




Yes, I know it has taken me such a long time




For now I am three and a bit




But you know the obstacles I overcame




To get me up on my feet.




Remember all the drives to the physio




You used to sing all the while




And I did my best to lift up my legs




While you coaxed me on with a smile.




At first I could do nothing at all




But Bart was so patient with me




And little by little I could move a bit




While he counted one, two and three.




Oh sometimes I was sick of it all




And maybe a bit of a coward




But Nana and you dried up my tears




As you hoped I would get my reward.




I know I’ll not be an athlete




But who knows? Maybe I will!




And maybe I’ll walk up the aisle one day




And give you all such a big thrill.




So goodnight now Mammy and thank you




For your part in helping me walk




I’m so blessed with all of my talents




I can laugh, I can sing, I can talk.”