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A Teenager’s Guide to Life

By Muireann Duffy, Scoil Mhuire, Ennistymon. Highly commended, senior Clare Champion Short Story Competition EVERYONE  says that being a teenager is the best time in your life. That’s easy for them to say when you’re going on ancient and decide to look back on your teen years through rose-coloured glasses. Seriously, anyone who says it’s the best part of life has huge gaps in their memory, so if they complain about how easy you have it being 16, do the decent thing and ignore them. Don’t storm off in a huff and slam every door on the way to your room, that’s way too much effort. I suggest you simply tune out and when you think they’re done, say ‘I know’ as smugly as you possibly can, leaving them annoyed and you truly satisfied. One of the hardest parts of being a teenager is that it’s a constant juggling act. Organisation isn’t usually the main focus, unless you’re just a …

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Just Another Day….

By Eve Quinn, Coláiste Muire, Enis. Highly commended, senior Clare Champion Short Story Competition. THE Angelus chimed tunelessly over the whining tyres and impatient horns and babble of voices. Six o’clock was her favourite time of day – it always had been. The suit-clad businessmen and businesswomen bustled past, carrying bulging briefcases, wearing weary expressions. Their eyebrows were pulled together in frustration and their lips were sealed in a firm line of discontent. But beneath the hard exteriors, she could see the love, the hunger to be home, the longing to see family. Some stood waiting at the dilapidated bus stop. Others made their way towards the underground car park, where a private mode of transport awaited them. At six o’clock, everybody had a purpose. She could see what that must have felt like – to actually live for something. As people passed her by, most avoided eye contact. Their eyes darted nervously or disgustedly or judgmentally to the other …

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A Noble Profession

By Róisín O’Sullivan St Joseph’s Secondary School, Spanish Point Highly commended, senior Clare Champion Short Story Competition EVERY year, a boisterous gaggle of grandchildren gather in one place in order to prove their dedication to their grandmother. Many are young, too young to understand that what they will be doing is something that will be forever engraved in their memories. They will learn skills only taught to those worthy of such high regard. Some will falter and give up, yet the majority, goaded on by their proud parents, will master their skills and become true and noble glass collectors. Each year in July, for the Willie Clancy Week festival, every bar, restaurant and street corner in Miltown Malbay transforms into a bustling atmospheric cauldron of instruments, musicians and nameless voices singing songs of old. The week brings thousands of people of every age to the normally quiet town. It is this week that my grandmother’s pub renews its youth and …

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Storm Christine

By Róisín O’Donoghue, Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna. Third place, senior Clare Champion Short Story Competition PHOTOGRAPER It was dawn in Lahinch, County Clare. I sat perched on the highest cliff, not too close to be pulled into the waves but close enough to witness the storm in its full intensity. This was my chance to get noticed as a photographer. Storm Christine was on its way. The waves crashed from side to side. Suds and water droplets splashed on my face and on the camera screen. It was almost as if the sky was bleeding, it was so red. The red flickered and spread as it reflected over the Atlantic Ocean. It was amazing to watch the changing colour of the waves, grey, blue, green. The wind howled as the monstrous waves heaved against the rocks and rushed onwards with an uninterrupted sweep. The power and force of the waves were unreal. These waves were enormous, bigger than I …

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Mistaken Identity

By Michael McNamara, Rice College, Ennis. Second place, junior Clare Champion Short Story Competition FIVE days a week, for eleven years. It is never duly crowded and it takes me from Maynooth right into Connolly Station, only an eleven and a half minute walk from the door of my office in Google buildings on Barrow Street. I have always liked the process of commuting; every phase of the journey is always a pleasure to me; the regularity of it. Nineteen or twenty of us gather on the small platform of our station to catch the 8.16 each morning. Most of them are colleagues, graduates who excelled in the modern world of finance or information technology, each one striving for that seven figure salary and casting furtive glances in my direction, a look of envy in their eyes. I had reached the summit and gave them something to aspire to. It was a group that rarely changed and when occasionally a …

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Brooke’s Magazine

By Sean Hanrahan St Joseph’s Secondary School, Spanish Point Third place, senior Clare Champion Short Story Competition A FIVE-storey building. On the inside it gleamed. Everything in the inside, from the outside it seemed. Efficient, busy and organised, it was something like a dream. And this is where Carla would work now, the famous Brooke’s Magazine. James Brooke was smart, handsome and young. Worked hard, kissed ass, always quick to number one. Eventually so successful, he made his own company and was done with taking orders from people; now he takes orders from no-one. But he is still kind and friendly to all, not some. He makes very sure that he knows everyone. Carla entered his office. “Welcome Carla, I’m James Brooke.” “I know Mr Brooke. It’s a pleasure.” Their hands shook. There was something about her, a sensuous look. She knew everything about him, she read his book. “Well good luck Carla.” he said with a smile. “Thanks for …

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Summer of 1954

By Sarah Flynn, Scoil Mhuire, Ennistymon Second place senior Clare Champion Short Story Competition HE worried at a scab on his hand until a small dot of blood came to the surface. He looked up as a woman approached. She merely nodded politely and kept walking.  He continued to wait. His attention turned back to his hand and he patted at the scar. He noticed a fly buzz around his nose until it perched beside him on the seat of the bench. It was a warm summer’s day in 1954. The paint on the bench peeled and hung limply in parts. He looked at his watch. Quarter past two. Not much longer now. He looked down at his shoes….how strange; he had come out in his slippers. He chuckled to himself at his foolishness and lifted his legs out in front of him. He had odd socks on. He should have worn his Marine uniform. Nancy always likes how he …

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St John Paul and the family rosary beads

By Fr Brendan Quinlivan Come Sunday, I will be able to boast that I had the privilege of meeting an officially canonised saint of the Church on a few occasions. Having been lucky enough to spend a few years in Rome during my studies for the priesthood, I met St John Paul a few times. One of those privileged moments stands out in a particular way. It happened in September 1992 when the Pope beatified 17 Irish martyrs on the steps of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Students of the Pontifical Irish College returned to Rome early that year to assist the influx of Irish pilgrims who came to participate in the beatification. An added bonus was that we were invited to serve the beatification mass at which Pope John Paul II was to be the celebrant. Early in the morning, a bus arrived at the gates of the Irish College to transport us to St Peter’s. Since we shared …

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