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
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
© 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.
© 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.