WRITINGS BY MICHAEL MCDERMOT: Last week my neighbour Billy Collins, who lives on the western side of Knocknagorna, presented me with copies of some lovely and colourful writings by his nephew Michael McDermott who lives in Carlow. Michael is a native of Cappawhite in Tipperary where he grew up. His late mother was the former Joan Collins of Knocknagrona and his father, who was a native of Clare, was a Garda who was at one stage stationed in Athea. Michael has written various interesting non-verse poems in poetic, sensitive and colourful form about some of his fellow workmates. He has written about Paddy Buckley, a popular local resident, a baker and a neighbour of Michaelâ€™s family in Cappawhite. His writings are so vivid and life-like that they portray a pen-picture of the people and places that he writes about to the extent that the reader feels as if he has somehow personally known them. Those people that Michael has written about with feeling and sensitivity are real non-fiction folk whom one would find in most workplaces but in Michaelâ€™s poems they are somehow exalted to a higher level without ever losing their everyday human attributes and qualities. He writes about the Poor Clare Sisters and the great work they are performing â€œgoing quietly and serenely about their daily tasksâ€. There is in fact a spiritual dimension to all of Michaelâ€™s writings that has to be read to become obvious.
Michael writes a story about John, an Abbeyfeale man, who fell on hard times in London â€œJohn huddled on his bench, his breath shallow in the chill wind. He coughed a few times as only smokers can. The lights of Piccadilly shone brightly in the distanceâ€. Michael goes on to recount how after getting some good advice and help from the Samaritans John managed to turn his life around and â€œJohn was looking forward to working again in the future, to going home to his people in Limerick. John had dreams of a future again. The crucifix round his neck dangled in appreciation, as if understanding his thoughtsâ€. â€œToo many of his friends and countrymen had left their lives, families and careers in the Red Lions and Ladbrokes of English citiesâ€. Happily, according to Michaelâ€™s account, John from Abbeyfeale, was no longer going to be among them.
Michaelâ€™s description in writing about his school holidays in Knocknagorna with his uncles, the Collins family, Jackâ€™s wife Ita, his cousins and other local people there and in Athea, all make fascinating reading for those who in those years grew up in this locality. The trips to Athea creamery with his cousin, late Mickey Liston, in the horseâ€™s car with its three milk tanks and Michael guiding the horse with the reins after taking over the job with Mickeyâ€™s consent and approval.
There are so many other great stories/poems which have been written by Michael McDermott that would require much more space even to outline their contents. What is surprising is that any of this great writing has never apparently been submitted for publication to the two local journals, Athea Parish Journal or Ballyguiltenane Rural Journal. Much of Michael McDermottâ€™s writings would certainly enrich and enhance the contents of either or both journals.
The McDermott family has been closely associated with GAA, Camogie and Ladies football in Tipperary. Michaelâ€™s niece Angela (Angie) McDermott has won many All-Ireland titles with Tipperary in both camogie and Ladies football. Their near relations in Athea have every reason to feel proud of the McDermott family.
ANNUAL WORKSHOP WEEKEND: West Limerick Set Dancing Club will hold the annual Workshop Weekend at the Devon Inn Hotel, Templeglantine from Friday night February 15 to Sunday afternoon February 17. The opening CÃ©ilÃ will be on Friday night with music by the Allow CÃ©ilÃ Band. The Set Dancing Workshop will be held on Saturday morning and again on Saturday afternoon and there will be a CÃ©ilÃ on Saturday night at 9pm with music by StriolÃ¡in CÃ©ilÃ Band. The Set Dancing Workshop will resume on Sunday morning and this will be followed by a CÃ©ilÃ after lunch at 2pm with Taylorâ€™s Cross CÃ©ilÃ Band.
WINTRY WEATHER: Athea had its first taste of real wintry weather this New Year when local people looked out on Monday morning of last week to see the ground covered in snow after a heavy fall on the previous night which made some roads in the parish hazardous particularly for those who were travelling to work. The school bus routes had to be cancelled in some areas because of the slippery conditions of some of the roads. There was a sharp frost on the following nights but by then people out on the roads were driving with much greater care. At the time of writing most people are hoping that we will not see a return again to the prolonged icy conditions that we experienced during the very severe winters of early 2010 and 2011.
ENGAGEMENT: The engagement has been announced of Padraig Reidy, son of Paudie and Margaret, Upper Athea and Mary Vaughan, Leitrim West, Moyvane. Best wishes are extended to the young couple for their future happiness.
CLOTHES BANK: Athea United Soccer Club recently installed a clothes bank at their grounds in The Vales and which will accept clothes and other items. The clothes bank will benefit the Street Children of Calcutta as well as providing a very useful service for the people of the parish and its environs. The clothes bank can accept the following items. 1. Clothes. 2. Sheets. 3. Blankets. 4. Towels. 5. Shoes. 6. Curtains. The clothes bank will be open at the following times: Mondays 10am to 3pm. Wednesdays 10am to 3pm. Fridays 10am to 3pm. Monday-Friday nights from 7pm to 9.30pm. Saturdays and Sundays 10am to 2pm.
GRADUATION: Congratulations and best wishes to Yvonne Oâ€™Brien, daughter of Tom and Joan, Templeathea, who recently graduated from the University of Westminster with an honours degree in Journalism.
KNOCKANURE DANCING CLASSES: Dancing classes are being held every Monday night at the Knockanure Community Centre from 8pm to 9.30pm. Classes include waltz, foxtrot, quickstep and jiving. For further information ring Norella on 087-9906221 or Knockanure Community Centre 068-49799