Just recently taken to the stage is the newly formed Lir Theatre Company. Adding to the long tradition of drama in Athenry which dates back to the l920s founded by Pat Naughton and Co. their first production “I do not like thee Dr. Fell” was staged in Dobby and Coffeys from the 20th to the 23rd of November 2000 under the direction of Pat Naughton. Treading the boards alongside him were Colette Morrissey, Pauline Dempsey, Joe Tighe, Jimmy Ryan, Niamh Reidy and Aidan Archer.

The show was a stunning success. Best wishes to all for the future. Looking forward to more! Lir Theatre Company’s poster designed by Elaine Grey.

Athenry Handball & Racquetball Club Rejuvenated

The Alley (beside Kenny Park) was recently refurbished with generous donations from local people but especially Tommy Quinn, Byrne Mech, Johnny Healy (builder), Tommy Lane (painting contractor), Rynal Ruane (electrician), Maloney’s Hardware, Mike Quinn, Tom Cleary (builder). The club would like to thank all who helped.

New members are always welcome and membership forms can be got from Sean Cleary, Gerry Dempsey, Bob Reilly, Mike Gardner and Rynal Ruane.


A branch of Foroige, the nationwide Youth Club federation has been set up recently in the town. The local club as presently constituted is for the l2-15 age group (post-primary). Membership has been fully subscribed.

lf any other youth are interested a waiting list will be drawn up. Anyone wishing to apply should call to the Community Hall at 8pm sharp on Thursdays.

The aims of Foroige are to foster an interest in the personal development of the members and their contribution to their community. The aims are promoted within the structures of the club. Officers and the committee are elected by the membership and the business of the club is conducted under the direction of this, the youth’s own, committee.  A group of Adult Leaders are available for consultation.

The emphasis is on the ideas of the members and their personal contribution to the activities of the club.

Meetings at Community Hall at 8pm. We regret, that only a waiting list is available for young aspirants.

Any adults interested in becoming a Leader or able to assist in any way would be welcome. If there are more adult leaders, it may be possible to have a second club and thus accommodate more of our youth.

Contact  Anne or Stephen



Athenry Friends of People with Special Needs

The monthly disco, this year, has continued, to be a very popular and enjoyable night out. Up to 25 people with special needs from Athenry and surrounding areas come on the first Friday of each month to the New Park Hotel.

It is a joy for the helpers involved to see how everyone enjoys themselves each night. It is great to hear their expectation that the next disco will be just as good.

The “disco group” also had a very successful Summer Trip on the Corrib Princess last May. Soilse’s Annual Holiday for this group took place in the first Week of November in Kilcuan, Clarinbridge.

This was the third successive holiday at Kilcuan. The week included swimming, outings to the Salthill Aquarium, bowling in Galway and of course the Hallowe’en Party. Up to 20 helpers came during the week at various times to assist the holiday group and to enjoy the ‘craic’.

Soilse is very grateful to all our friends who supported us in so many ways.

Art Competition

Athenry Heritage would like to invite you to enter their Children’s Christmas Art Competitions.

The theme of the Competition is to paint, draw or sketch one of Athenry’s remaining Medieval features, for example – Athenry Castle etc.

The Competition is divided into 3 age groups (5-7 yrs.) (8-11yrs.) (12-15yrs.)

Prizes will be awarded to the first 3 winners in each category and all pictures entered will be later exhibited at Athenry Heritage Centre.

Please include your name, date of birth and address with your entry.

Entries must be received before January 16th. 2000 and should be sent to:

Medieval Art Competition,

Athenry Arts and Heritage Centre, The Square, Athenry

Winners will be notified. Prizes sponsored by, Athenry Heritage, Conroy’s Photographic Studio: This n’ That: The Orange Shop:

Mary O’Gorman

A poodle was charged by the law,

For killing a poor old jackdaw,

Said she to the jury,

It was all in fury,

For the jackdaw had bitten my paw.


There was a fat lady of Clyde,

To her husband she decided to confide,

”I’ve stolen four million

From many a civilian”,

Said he: “Let’s fly with the tide”.

John Joyce



Turning and turning,

Lying in bed,

The intruder of night,

Has just come into my head.


I awake with a fright,

lying and listening,

As I hear the church bells,

Ring out at midnight.


Not wanting to,

I drift back to sleep,

And in my head appears,

The intruder of fright.

Lisa McGrath



Peace is a reward for those of us daring

Peace is a budding flower

Peace is a shelter for those of us caring

Peace is a saviour shattered by war.


Peace has no place in our world today,

In Ireland, France or Japan

And all I ask is: what is the thing

Which separates our clan?


For wars have been fought and ended

And houses burned to the ground

And no matter — we try and stop it,

It will always be world renowned.


Peace is like the church bells

Ringing their happy chime.

But like the church bells it is

Short-lived and again we are

Overturned with crime.


So you people before me

The peace I ask you to keep Forever

For in your own way

Make the land humble and meek

Brian Conlon


The Tree

A tree is the root of nature

Standing strong, bold and tall,

In country or city or woodland

Hanging over castle walls.


The tune of the tree — is the wind

Whistling through its branches and leaves

It can shake it or break it and leave it quite torn

But sometimes it won’t go near it – at all.


A tree is a thing to admire and behold

Not shattered and scattered

Not knocked or cut


So, I’ll finish my poem

But, I say what I mean

The King of the earth

Is nature’s own tree.

Lorena Dunne


A day off school

A day off school – Glory be!

A day to be myself — just me

My bed is warm so here I lay.

But then I hear my mother say

Breakfast’s ready _ make a move.

Hurry on or your bacon you’ll lose.

So, dress and wash and get sat down

Then mother says we’ll go to town

This can’t be true – I want to say

But there is always another day.

Mathew Griffin

In this article people have sent in snippets of information about various places around the area. We would hope that this would be the beginning of a course of “folklore” for the parish. Too many names and their meanings, especially the Irish names of fields, are lost because they are not in regular use. We have some lovely names like Clais a’ Lisin, Cnoc a’ tSiodhan, Poll a’ Ghuail, Sceach a’ Doirin, Claisin ‘Ama, Cnochain Aoibhir and Goirtin Acra to name but a few. Did you ever wonder what Castle Ellen was called before it got this name?

According to Cathal Feeney, an “expert” on these matters, Castle Lambert was called Aughrim Park. What were Mount Browne, Mountain West, Belleville or Mountpelier called before they got these names?

Write in to Conrad Byrnes with any bit of information you have. Congratulations to those who have some in already.

Cahertymore by Sinead Courtney

The word Cahertymore means “strongfort around a big house”. In Irish it is “Cathair an Ti Mhoir”. A cashel can be found in Cahertymore North. It is located in a level field. The cashel is subcircular and is surrounded by a ring of stones which are now covered with grass. The interior is fairly flat but it is covered by trees and bushes in places. There are signs of an entrance but due to the undergrowth it is difficult to see.

There are seventeen houses in Cahertymore South now but back in 1819 there were only five in the whole of Cahertymore and probably one of them was the big house.

Caherbriscane by Joseph Kelly

This means the fort or settlement of the silver weed, tansey, skirret, or stunted hay. At the moment there are only three families living in Caherbriscane. There were many more in years gone by. Two families, the Kellys and the Poniards, were rehoused after the famine. The Kellys then emigrated and the Poniards bought a farm near their new house.

There is a big hole in the middle of a field near the forest. There is a stream which runs back across from  Pollnangroagh and when it reaches Pollnasluga it goes under the ground and it rises again in the golf course.

Cashla by Aishling Scullion

The meaning of Cashla is a stone fort. In Cashla there is a stone tower and a lot of hills. At each side of the stone tower there are steps. When you go to the top of the tower there is a wonderful view. Long ago there used to be a jail in Morrissey’s field. Cashla is a small place. There are lots of houses and very good farming land.

Cashla by John Madden

The name of my village is Cashla. The name means a stone fort beside a mountain. One can enter the fort from four fields and steps lead up to it. It is a farming area with cattle and sheep. About a half mile from my house there is a tomb and graveyard. This was the burial place for the Lamberts who were big landlords. I love to stroll across to the tomb on a fine summer’s day. Cashla is definitely a nice place in which to live.

Wedge Grave at Killaclogher by Marie O’Grady

There is a wedge grave to be seen in Killaclogher. It consists of three stone slabs set in the earth and a flat stone roof. It is approximately one metre high and two metres long. This grave dates back to at least 3000 years ago, before Celtic times. Years ago an um would have been placed in the centre of the grave. Inside the urn would have been placed the burned bones or a body which had been cremated. The wedge grave would have been covered with soil. Over the years the soil would have worn away. The wedge grave is to be seen on the left of Higgins’ house near Killaclogher bridge a few miles from Monivea.

The Train at Tourkeel by Aishling Kavanagh

I live in Tourkeel near the railway line. Trains travel north, south, east, west from Athenry station. The Tuam line is used in summertime for the steam train. The Limerick line is used for transporting coal. The Great Southern Railway company put down the track in the early nineteenth Century. The passenger train stops at every station along the way but the cargo train does not. The train passes my house ten times a day. It usually wakes me up every morning at 8.20. In the summer time when we are in the bog we can tell the time when the train passes.

Newcastle Forge by Noelle O’Shea

There are the ruins of a forge in Newcastle. The forge was started by Jim Molloy from nearby Shudane around the early 1900s. The iron was heated by a fire which was blown by a bellows worked by hand. The red-hot iron was worked on the anvil which was placed on the floor.

Gradually the horseshoe was formed by beating the iron with a heavy hammer. The red-hot horseshoe was put into cold water to cool. When the farmer brought his horse into the forge the shoe was placed on the horse’s hoof and nailed. Fixing ploughs, harrows and gates was all part of the work Jim did.

In later years Jim Molloy’s son Jimmy took over the work of the forge which he had learned from his father. Jimmy built a new forge and installed electricity around 1954. He began to make slanes which were used in the bog for cutting turf. He used a welder to make gates and many other items as well. The forge closed in the late sixties and the local people still miss Jimmy’s work very much.

Mountbrowne by Maud Cullinane

There are lots of hills and a family called Browns once lived there, hence its name. Mountbrown House is where my father was born and is where my uncle now lives. It is about 200 years old. In one of the fields there was a lime kiln where they made lime in the past but it is long gone now.

Rathgorgan by Sarah Donohue

It means an earth embanked fort.

Ard Aoibhinn Sinead Kelly

It means a high pleasant place. It was called “Ard Aoibhinn” because it was built on high ground. A house nearby, now owned by Dr. Brennan, used to belong to a protestant minister. The minister had lots and lots of cats in the house.

The Ranpart by Sarah O’ Regan

We often play in The Rampart as we live just inside the Town Wall. When our friends visit us we bring them there and to the Watch Tower behind Hansberry’s Hotel. It is only lately I found out what

rampart means – a wide bank of earth, often with a wall on top, built around a fort to help defend it’. We have a bank of earth, a high wall and a wide, deep moat and we call it “The Rampart”. The famous writer Mary Lavin called Athenry “Castle Rampart” in one of her books. She lived with the Mahons who lived next door to us. She probably played in The Rampart also.

The Northgate by Fiona Coffey

My grandparents live about 50 metres outside the Northgate of Athenry. In Norman times an Irish person wishing to go into the Market Square to sell goods would have to stand outside the Northgate and shout for the drawbridge to be lowered. Then they would have to walk across the drawbridge over the moat and under the arch. There they would be very afraid of the “Murder Hole” in case the Normans would throw things down at them. Then the portcullis had to be raised before they could walk through into the town.

Castle Lambert by Cathal Feeney

Castle Lambert was originally called Aughrim Park. The Electoral Division is still called Aughrim. When the Lamberts came they evicted the people of Aughrim. Now that the Lamberts have gone wouldn’t it be nice to call it Aughrim Park again.

Feature Photo: The Rampart