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Dan & Tim Aherne | Micheál Óg O'Longáin | Con Colbert | Thomas Goold

Dan & Tim Aherne

In the past Athea has produced athletes of renown. In particular two brothers were of world class standard in the early years of the century. Dan Aherne set a record for the Hop, Step and Jump (now called the Triple Jump) that remained unbeaten for a number of years. His brother Tim was a sprinter and hurdler but it was in the Hop, Step and Jump that he achieved his greatest sporting moment by winning an Olympic Gold Medal in London in 1908.

Micheál Óg O'Longáin

Before the advent of the educational system that we know of today, hedge schools were the only way that people could get an education. Micheál Óg O'Longáin, whose father was a native of the area returned from his birthplace in Co. Cork to open a hedge school in Athea around the turn of the nineteenth century. The fee for each pupil was sixpence a quarter but Micheál Óg found it hard to receive payment and so in anger wrote a quatrain in Irish about his pupils. This is the English translation of the poem:

Miserable my business and poor and impoverished my calling
Teaching the young, and not well do they pay me
I promise ye, every immature youthful boor in the country
That 'twill be long before my likes comes among them again

Con Colbert

Plaque at Con Colbert Memorial Hall
© Plaque at Con Colbert Memorial Hall

The Con Colbert Memorial Hall in Athea is named after one of the leaders who were executed after the Easter Rising of 1916. Colbert was born at Monalena in Castlemahon but was brought up in Galeview House. Con was a member of the I.R.B. (the Irish Republican Brotherhood) and captain of F Company, Fourth Dublin Battalion. During the Rising, he commanded a garrison under the leadership of Eamonn Cennant at Watkin's Brewery, Ardee Street and Jameson's Distillery. For his role in the Rising, he was executed on May 8th 1916. President Erskine Childers opened the Con Colbert Memorial Hall on January 20th, 1974.

Thomas Goold

Memorial Cross to Thomas F. Goold
© Memorial Cross to Thomas F. Goold

On the fringes of the village, there is a large cross that was erected to the memory of Thomas F. Goold. He was the only son of Archdeacon Goold and his wife Caroline. He died in May 1861 at the age of 24. Thomas' grandfather (who was also called Thomas) came to the area from Cork City. In 1817 he bought the Athea estate from Lord Courtenay for £15,000. Thomas Goold died at his daughter's home in Lissedell, Co. Sligo in 1846. His daughter Caroline was married to Sir Ralph Gore Booth. They were the grandparents of Countess Markievicz, who was the Minister for Labour in the first Dáil in 1919. The "sorrowing and grateful tenantry" of the area erected the cross in 1863. The cross was restored in 1979 by the descendants of the Goold family and the local Youth Club.

Dan & Tim Aherne | Micheál Óg O'Longáin | Con Colbert | Thomas Goold

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