PROLOGUE: Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that. Norman Vincent Peale.

CONGRATULATIONS: Wedding congratulations to Brid O’Rourke and Kieran McCarthy , Mark O’Brien and Shakira McCarthy, Collette Moloney and Shane Stack , Martina Copse and Eamonn Fitzgerald. Marion O’Keeffe and Daniel Angland. They all celebrated the sacrament of Marriage here in Abbeyfeale over the summer. We wish them every happiness always.

WELL DONE: Leaving Cert student Katie Houlihan, The Hill, daughter of Kathleen and Pat has been chosen as No 8 for under 18’s Munster rugby.

TRIBUTE TO FR. JOE FOLEY: I found this beautiful tribute to Fr. Joe Foley on the Bruff, Grange Meanus Parish Pastoral Council FB page. As many readers of this page do not have access to FaceBook I messaged the Pastoral Council and asked if I could copy it and use it in the column and thankfully they said yes. The piece is entitled; “God loves you and so does Fr Joe. For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to pluck up what was planted. A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3.

The weekend of August 22 was a bittersweet time for many with the news on Friday of the death of Fr Joe Foley at his home in Castletroy and subsequently the outstanding victory of Limerick in the All-Ireland Final on Sunday. Fr Joe’s last wish was that his passing would not interfere with people’s enjoyment of the Final and so his Funeral Mass was celebrated on Saturday evening with prayers said on Sunday morning before burial in Effin cemetery. This was typical of Fr Joe – always thinking ahead, always thinking of others.

Fr Joe was born in Effin on 7th July 1965 to Ann and Sonny Foley and, with his twin sister Kay, was the youngest of 5 children. He did his Leaving Certificate in Kilmallock in 1982 and completed a catering course which won him a scholarship to Galway to study a culinary degree. He worked as a chef in Ireland, London and the US. He had the privilege of cooking for George and Barbara Bush while in Manhattan before returning to Ireland in 1987 to work for the Kerry Group. He entered the Seminary in 1988 and spent a summer in Rome in 1990 where he met Pope John Paul 2. He studied Philosophy & Theology and was ordained in St John’s Cathedral in 1995.

Fr Joe was a mere 56 years of age when he was taken from us. His time came more quickly than expected. It came quietly and very peacefully in the end. In his homily, his great friend Canon Willie Fitzmaurice spoke movingly of the time when he knew that he was not going to be cured “He embraced this final lap of his life with a spirit of courage and determination that was inspiring”. Canon Willie also paid tribute to the graceful dignity & presence of Fr Joe’s mother, Ann and mentioned the special bond that he had with his twin, Kay. In a comparison with the calling of St Peter, “Fr Joe recognized his humility and limitations but placed his great trust in the power of God working through him to transmit his message of love”

In his priestly ministry, Fr Joe spent his first years in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish followed by nearly 17 years in Bruff, moving to Abbeyfeale in 2014. He had the difficult task of celebrating the funeral masses for a young child in each of the last two parishes. His compassionate and forthright nature was particularly evident on both occasions. He did not shy back from asking and answering the hard questions. Quoting from his homilies:

In Grange “This church has seen many sad and tragic funerals, but few can have been as profoundly sad and sorrowful as the funeral which sees us gathered here today. The death of a child in any circumstances is an occasion of great sorrow, but a death that is the result of a freak accident simply beggars our understanding. What kind of a God would allow a young healthy child to be snatched so cruelly from a loving and devoted family? Does he care? Is he there at all? To answer these questions all you have to do is look at the figure of crucified Christ and remember his words on the cross: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me’?"

In Abbeyfeale: “The death of a child, in any circumstances, is an occasion of great sorrow. We are gathered here this morning to remember Zoe, to say our goodbyes to one who lived a brief, but beautiful life, a life which if today’s attendance tells us anything, touched many. For many the death of a child in such circumstances is almost unspeakable, but I urge people to speak of their sorrow and grief. If we shy away from such things, and remain in silence, then we do a great disservice to Zoe, to her memory and the impact she had on so many people around her. So speak about death, about loss and about the person that Zoe was”

At a packed farewell function for Fr Joe in Bruff in December 2013, Denis Barrett, (now sadly RIP) Chairman of the Presentation Committee said “The speech we make tonight is the one we really don’t want to make, these are the words we wish we didn’t have to say and the presentation of gifts that we wish could have waited a little longer. In the years that he has been here he has shared the joys and sorrows of many families – the joy of baptisms and wedding days, the pain of the death of many elderly and indeed of young people. The extent of his contribution to life in Bruff during his time here can easily be measured by the strength of the many bonds he forged throughout the parish. These bonds will not be easily broken”

Continuing Denis said “There is a feeling of sadness throughout the parish but that grief is really a measure of the great esteem in which Fr. Joe was held by the people of this parish over the past 16 years. However in the midst of the sadness there is also a feeling of acceptance and a very sincere wish that the new appointment being taken up by him will bring him joy, fulfilment and happiness”

Concluding he said “Let us, if we can, think back to when Fr. Joe first started here in Bruff and think of the freshness and the excitement of a new voice and a new approach and say to ourselves that Abbeyfeale will soon be experiencing that same excitement. On behalf of the Bruff Garda District. Superintendent Cunningham described Fr. Foley as “a fantastic priest who had an extraordinary way of dealing with the sick, accident victims and their relatives. He had healing powers”

One of Fr Joe’s favourite places to visit was Howards Bar in Bruff. He went there to relax, watch sports, enjoy the craic but this was also part of his ministry, a place where he reached out to others of all denominations and none. People sought him out if they had a problem, spiritual or otherwise. He was a larger than life person who knew and was known to thousands of people. He was one of those people in life whose company you could enjoy, be parted from, return and take up from where you left off knowing that he was not judgmental but forgiving – a gift that was exemplified by a recent conversation with a member of the family of a parent who was approaching the latter stages of life. This person was an exemplary member of the Church congregation but with extraordinary humility, did not think that he was properly prepared for the next life. This was affecting him greatly but after a conversation with Fr Joe and receiving Absolution, he was mightily relieved which was also a consolation for his wife and family.

Fr Joe was a joyful, faith-filled and dedicated priest. He never experienced depression or despair or if he did he hid it well. As the old country song would say, he walked on the “sunny side” of life. Every year he would go to Lourdes with the Diocesan Pilgrimage. He would encourage/coerce friends and relations to make the trip. In doing so, they were never disappointed as he would look after and entertain them. In putting together these few words, we wish to honor a man who, in the words of Pope Francis, never failed to call us to be saints. We have lost a confessor, a spiritual director, a preacher and a friend. But we have gained an intercessor, an advocate for us at the throne of grace. And we can never lose the example of fervor, holiness and humility he left for us.

However, it was in his care for people that Fr Joe excelled. On one occasion he jumped into the bitterly cold waters at Lough Gur to raise funds for a local man who was left paralysed after falling from a tree. He was especially sought out by people for christenings, weddings and funerals. He dealt with a lot of tragedies during his 25 years as a priest and reached out to many especially the sick and suffering. He consoled people by showing them that the light is better than darkness and hope is better than despair. He would have an intimate knowledge of this as he himself was on the brink of death in 2006.

His management and leadership skills were evident in the way he set up the Parish Lotto which not alone provided funds to reduce the parish debt but also many parish organisations were the beneficiaries of subsidies from the lotto. If there was no winner of the lotto, Fr Joe would announce at the top of his voice "Only one winner …… FR JOE" He was very popular and related well to parents, teachers and pupils in the schools in the parish.

He was greatly respected and appreciated in every place where he served, but more than that, he was loved. He will be missed, not only by his family to whom he was so close and so committed. He will be missed by his brother priests and all his parishioners in the 3 places where he served with such dedication and love. His dedication and generosity, his outgoing personality, his capacity for friendship, his sense of humour and his deep spirituality enabled him to reach out to people old and young, educated or not, rich or poor. May he now hear the words of Jesus: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’

His family not only inspired his faith but they have also been a particular support to him in the lonely and difficult life of modern Catholic ministry. On behalf of all the people of Bruff, I offer deepest sympathy to his loving mother, Anne, twin sister, Kay, brothers Mike, Pat and John and their families, and to all Fr Joe’s relations and friends, parishioners past and present. May he rest in peace?

Where did our heading for this piece come from? People of Our Lady of Lourdes, Bruff and Abbeyfeale parishes will recognize it. Fr Joe used to sign off his homilies with “Remember, God loves you and so does Fr Joe” and we add “We love you too, Fr Joe” We give thanks to God for the wonderful gift that was Fr Joe.”

ABBEYFEALE CONGRATULATES NEW LEADER OF UK UNITE WORKERS UNION: Sharon Graham, whose mother Joan emigrated to London from Purt, has been appointed
General Secretary of the second largest Union in England. Joan’s brother Michael lives in the home place in Port and her other brother Dan in Cahirhayes. Sharon was a frequent visitor to Port as a child and Micheal’s wife Sheila was interviewed on BBC4 last Saturday evening telling about their young visitors exploits bringing home the turf. You can listen to the podcast of her story on;

GLÓRACH BINGO: A great turn out once again for our drive-in Bingo at the Abbeyfeale GAA grounds, with almost perfect weather conditions in place. Naturally enough, there were a good few enquiries as to when Bingo may be returning to the Glórach Theatre, but until the regulations permit us to operate at full capacity we will be remaining at present in the GAA grounds. Look forward to seeing you all next Sunday, with the usual starting time of 2 pm.

BREAKING TRAD AT THE GLÓRACH: One of the few silver linings for us at the Glórach Theatre during the Pandemic was the fact that we were able to get essential works done to the building when it was closed. This Friday, September 10th, we begin to take tentative steps to reopening our wonderful community Theatre with a performance from the group Breaking Trad as part of Feale Fest. Featuring our own Donal Murphy, multi-instrumentalist Mike Galvin and fiddle player Niall Murphy, the group make their Glórach Debut with a promise to banish the Covid blues that have beset the music world over the last eighteen months. Tickets were limited for this event and are sold out but the video of the concert will be streamed free on the Glórach Youtube page on Saturday 11th. A massive thanks to the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (LCETB) for their support for this concert, and to acknowledge the imaginative and creative workshops run under their auspices that will be taking place in Abbeyfeale as part of Feale Fest,

LEADERS NEEDED: Youth Clubs need Parents/ guardians to commit to set
up this year Youth clubs. Training provided. Contact Noreen 087/2353306 if willing to help.

BACK TO SCHOOL: We wish all our children, young people and all school staff members every blessing for the coming school year.

Saturday, September 25 at 12noon Scoil Mháthair Dé.
Saturday, September 25 at 2.00p.m St Mary’s Boy’s School.
Saturday, October 2 at 12noon Meenkilly and Knocknasna schools.
Saturday, October 2 at 2.00p.m. Dromtrasna School.

Confirmation; Saturday, October 9 at 12noon Scoil Mháthair Dé.
Saturday,October 9 at 2.00p.m. St Mary’s Boys School.
Saturday, October 16 at 12noon Meenkilly and Knocknasna schools.
Saturday, October 16 at 2.00p.m. Dromtrasna School

FURTHER EDUCATION & TRAINING CENTRE, MOUNTMAHON, ABBEYFEALE (THE OLD TECH): The following free courses still have some spaces left: Sewing for Beginners, Beginners knitting, Payroll Manual & Computerised (Level 5), Bookkeeping manual and computerised (Level 5), Childcare Level 5, Healthcare Level 5, Sign Language, winter window box gardening, making a podcast, Upcycling Furniture, Local history. Please call the office on 06831198 for more information, Email: fetabbeyfeale or register at

BALLYHEIGUE PATTERN DAY: Wednesday, September 8, this year Bishop Ray Browne will celebrate Mass in Our Lady’s Well and Grotto, Ballyheigue at 12 noon. Mass will be streamed live on www. facebook page. In the interests of safety and fairness there will be no congregation present on the day. The Well and Grotto will remain closed for the duration of the Mass and will reopen at 1.30pm after which you are most welcome to come for private prayer.

STAGE SCHOOL: If you’d like to put your daughter on the stage contact 087 1303325 for details of the school in Ballybunion.

AUTISM CONFERENCE: C ork Autism Online Conference 2021 – Thriving with Autism. Sunday, October 17. This online conference offers interventions, skills and strategies to support people on the autism spectrum. Suitable for Parents, Families, Caregivers, Autistics, Employers, Educators, Professionals, Agencies, Advocates and anyone with an interest in autism. Visit:

ACCORD FACILITATORS NEEDED: Accord Catholic Marriage Care Service is currently recruiting volunteers to train as marriage preparation programme facilitators. Those interested should have a positive attitude towards marriage in the Catholic Church and the enthusiasm to be part a team supporting couples who are preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage. Contact Aisling on 01 5053112 or email info

YOUNG MUSICIAN AWARD: The Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival applications for the inaugural ‘Patrick O’Keeffe Young Musician Award are open to all musicians in the 13 to 23 age bracket. Please note that any videos submitted by minors must be submitted by the child’s parent/guardian and the deadline is Sunday, September 12. Email applications to: patrickokeeffefestival

DIP IN THE NIP: The fundraiser in aid of Recovery Haven will be held on September 18, details from Recovery Haven Tralee 066 7192122.

STORYTELLING: Listowel International Storytelling Festival returns in-person to Listowel from September 17th to 19th. Now in its 3rd year the festival will feature a packed programme of events including storytelling sessions & workshops, story & history walks, music sessions and children’s storytelling. We are especially thrilled to have acclaimed storyteller Maria Gillen as our Artistic Director for the festival. Our full programme will be available soon, but follow our Social Media pages or visit for updates on special guests and events.

PADRE PIO: September Devotions Castleisland (3rd Tuesday) Tuesday 21st September at 7.30pm. Witness by John Greene (formerly of Radio Kerry and Kerry today) Theme – ” Tackling depression and how God works in mysterious ways”. Watch live on

BLACKSMITHING Fair will be held at Ballylongford on the 25th and 26th of September, it will be a family friendly weekend.

LITTLE BLUE HEROS FUNDRAISER: Cycle on the Limerick Greenway on Saturday, September 11 in aid of Little Blue Heroes Foundation. The Garda fundraiser begins at 11am in Rathkeale and finishes in Abbeyfeale between 1 and 3pm. There will be an Emergency Services Open Family Day at NCW Gaelscoil from 12-3pm (which will be sensory friendly from 11.30 -12). Donations can be made online at: BlueForLittleBlue Heros.

NORTH KERRY, WEST LIMERICK: SMART VILLAGES, STRONGER COMMUNITIES: This initiative is jointly led by NEWKD and West Limerick Resources in association with KPMG Future Analytics and University College Dublin and addresses the unique challenges facing Ireland’s rural regions by unlocking innovative new solutions for the sustainable growth and development of rural communities within the North Kerry – West Limerick region. The project will involve a combination of detailed data analysis, extensive public consultation and capacity-training workshops will be used to co-produce an integrated development plan for the North Kerry – West Limerick region. Over the course of the project, the team will seek to engage with communities across Causeway, Ballyduff, Ballybunion, Ballylongford, Tarbert, Duagh , Moyvane, Brosna, Knocknagoshel, Listowel, Ballydonoghue, Lixnaw, Finuge, Abbeyfeale, Turnafulla, Mountcollins, Templeglantine, Athea/Carrigkerry, Glin, Loughill/Ballyhahill, Ardagh and Shanagolden. The project will officially launch with an online event entitled “Co-Developing Smart Villages – Towards Stronger Rural Communities” which will take place over two morning sessions on Thursday, September 30 and Friday, October 1. A conference programme and registration page will be launched shortly.

INVITATION: You are invited to attend Abbeyfeale Community Council AGM on Thursday, September 16 at Fr. Casey’s G.A.A. Clubhouse @7.30 p.m. ACC has secured the investment of over six hundred thousand euro for our community in the past five years. Projects include The new Business Hub, walkways in Abbeyfeale Town Park, heritage signage, provision of defibrillators and many more. Abbeyfeale is about to undergo momentous changes with the implementation of the new traffic management plan, the development of the Greenway and the proposed Abbeyfeale bypass.

Have your voice heard now. Join the ACC – at the heart of Abbeyfeale. Stronger together!

GLÓRACH DRIVE IN BINGO: Every Sunday at 2pm in the grounds of Fr Casey’s.

ADORATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT: Adoration in the main church every Friday, beginning after the 10.00am Mass – 6.00pm. Entrance through the front door of the church. Please note that when there is a Wedding Mass celebrated on a Friday, adoration will be from 4 to 6.00pm.

LIMERICK WOMEN’S MARATHON: The Virtual Limerick Women’s Marathon will take place on September 25/26.

TRAINING: Cycle Against Suicide are working to train and deploy a network of ‘Community Buddies’ into communities in Kerry and all across Ireland. The Community Buddy programme is peer to peer support and is centred around a structured but supportive conversation in a safe and non-judgemental space. It allows an individual to discuss how they are coping or not coping and working with the Buddy to discuss (and co-produce) ways of moving forward to overcome the challenges. The training to become a Community Buddy is 2 full days or four evenings currently being delivered via zoom. Full details are available at:

COURSE: Recovery Haven Kerry are starting a six-week course titled ‘Building Better Caregivers’. This course starts on Tuesday, September 14 and is an online programme for those supporting a loved one with cancer. If you are interested in this course, please contact Reception on 066 7192122 for more details.

RADIO MARIA: broadcasts Mass, Rosary, Divine Mercy Hour etc daily. It has many interesting programmes.. The easiest way to tune in is via the television, Saorview channel 210, (if you go forward one channel from RTE1 you get RTE2, if you go back one from RTE1 you get Radio Maria). There is also a mobile App. For info visit

ARTS FESTIVAL: Ballybunion Arts Festival September 9 – 12 will host a diverse programme of Theatre, Poetry, Performance Art, Music, Visual Art & workshops for artists and audiences. Kerry Writer in Residence Máire Holmes will host an Irish language poetry workshop on September11in Ballybunion Community Centre. More details (

DONATIONS NEEDED FOR ABBEYFEALE TOWN PARK: A box for donations to help keep Abbeyfeale Town Park open has been affixed to the wall of the public toilets in the park. A Go Fund Me page has also been set up. The park which has proved to be such a godsend during the lockdown is struggling because the usual fundraising activities it depends on for support have had to be curtailed. It is used daily by hundreds of people and takes a lot of upkeep so funds are urgently required.

CHURCH NEWS: Fr Tony Mullins 0872600414, Fr Dan Lane (Retired) 087/2533030, Fr Denis Mullane 087/26219. Fr Dan Lane will be on call every Wednesday. Fr Mullins will not be available on Wednesdays. Fr Lane can be contacted on 087-2533030 fealechurch Church Sacristy 068 -51915 Parish Office 068 -31133. To book a |Mass intention contact the church before or after Mass on 0668 51915. Mass Intentions: Wednesday 10am Tom Fitzgerald, Knocknasna. Thursday 10am Michael O’Sullivan, Colbert Terrace. Friday 10am Fr. Joe Foley RIP. No Saturday morning Mass,Saturday 6.30pm Jack & Norrie Kelly, Knoknasna and daughters Mary B & Teresa. Sunday10am Frank Collins Banard. 12noon Maurice O’Flaherty, Rathorna 3rd Anniversary.

JOB OPPORTUNITY: CENSUS 2022: A Census of Population will be held on April 3, 2022. The Central Statistics Office requires persons to fill various roles for the duration of the Census.]

COMMUNITY RADIO: WL102fm are relying on tickets sales for their weekly draw to keep them on air as this is the only fundraiser that they can hold at the minute. Tickets are available in Kathleen’s Food Store, Convent St., Mikey’s stall in the Square, Moss the Farmers’ and also in the Siopa Nua.

ANAM CARA would like to invite you to join us for an online Bereavement Information and Support Evening taking place Thursday, September 16 at 7pm. This event will give you an opportunity to hear a Bereavement professional talk about the difficult challenges and many milestones grieving a child of any age has on you and your family. If you would like to join us please register here info or 085 288 8888.

COMMUNITY ALERT: Abbeyfeale Community Alert committee will be supporting the Little Blue Heros Fundraiser on the Greenway next Saturday with the Garda charity cycle leaving from Rathkeale at 11am and finishing in Abbeyfeale between 1 -3pm. Last week tickets went on sale on line for the Listowel Races and my present husband who has not missed attending the races since his father first took him in 1960 deputised me to buy a ticket for each day that they were available for. We do not buy normally on line so this was the first time I was using the debit card to make a purchase online and within an hour of making a purchase I had got three phone calls from ‘mar ya’ the Bank to say that there had been fraudulent activity and that I should press button 1 for help. Each time I dropped the phone and the following morning I started getting emails with the same message – we were going to be cleaned out of funds if I did not do something urgently – . I am posting about scams on the Community Alert FB page and writing in these notes every week and yet I still got a fright so can fully understand how people do get caught out. Anyway the moral of the story is do not engage with or reply to any unsolicited messages or calls and to quote the security advice from the banks : “ We will never email you requesting your online details – call us on Freephone 1800946764 if you suspect someone has got access to your account.”

If you are 65, you live alone or with a person/s aged over 65 you are entitled to receive a monitored alarm system. But if you have younger people living in the house who are out or if you spend long periods of the day on your own then, because you are spending hours alone you are also entitled to the system provided that you are over 65. The free equipment is provided by Pobal following an application from Abbeyfeale Community Alert, there will be a monitoring fee to be paid from the second year of installation to the installing company of €72. There may be some confusion over the word free – the equipment which costs in the region of €400 is provided free of charge by Pobal as is the first year of monitoring but after that you will be charged by the installing company for the monitoring. I have not included the phone numbers of the committee in this notice but if you want to get a panic button then ring Abbeyfeale Garda Station on 068 30010 and they will contact one of us. Should you not have a landline the installing company Task provide a sim card at a rate of €7.50 per month payable from day one with a deposit of 6 months payable on the day of installation. Then, in year two you will also receive a bill for the monitoring fee so in year one the bill will be €90 and in year two and every other year after it will €162 approx. If you wish you can arrange a direct debit and pay this amount off monthly. Committee members are Michael O’Kelly N.T., Chairman Seamus Stack, Secretary Mossie Gleeson, Assistant Treasurer Kathleen Collins, Assistant Secretary Mary McArthur, John O’Sullivan, Billy Quirke N.T., Cllr. Francis Foley, Catherine Daly, Maurice O’Connell, Assistant Treasurer Marian Harnett.


11th, Wednesday 15th, Saturday 18th & Sunday 26th September and Sunday 3rd October, with Mass outdoors, weather permitting. The full route is a 12km loop, with a shorter 8km option. Advance booking is essential. For further information email info or telephone 0(0353) 71 9861518. Lough Derg Pilgrim Path, Pettigo, Co Donegal. F94 N289

.HELPLINES: If you are experiencing domestic abuse, jo Aware (Depression & Anxiety 016617211. National Suicide Helpline (Pieta House) 1800 247 247or text HELP to 51444. Irish Advocacy Network (Peer advocacy in mental health) 01 872 8684 Pieta House (Suicide & self-harm) 01 623 5606 IACP (Counselling & Psychotherapy) 01 230 3536 Shine: (Supporting people affected by mental ill health) 01 860 1620 061 – 412111 or Free phone 1850609090 A.A. 061-311222. ACCORD; are now offering over the phone counselling for couples, Individuals & family members during this time of unprecedented stress & pressure during these weeks of COVID-19. Call: 01 5313331. Al-Anon 086-8143425 Bereavement Support: 068 / 31203 068/ 31262 068/51984 St Vincent De Paul Tel 087/1213560. Counselling Appointment 061/314213. .

DO YOU HAVE NEWS: If there is something you’d like covered in the Abbeyfeale notes please contact me on 087 6866450 or email me on marianharnett1