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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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I am

By Aoife Daly, St Anne’s Community College, Killaloe Junior winner, Clare Champion short story  competition. THE nearby crash of waves can scarcely be heard over the fierce murmurs and mutters of the tacticians and the pounding heartbeats of the warriors. Fervent prayers uttered from trembling lips, the melody of battle songs celebrating past triumphs, the screeching, grinding sound of sword against whetstone all meld together to form a vibrant and powerful cacophony. My eyes flash open and slowly I rise from the Grey Rock, Craig Liath, reliving that memory from one thousand years ago. Gliding across the air, I gaze at the ever-changing landscape beneath me, the trees I saw rise and fall, the rapid rushing river that grew from a mere trickling stream and the jade green fields dotted by towns and cities. I watch the land go by, seeing a glimpse of a long forgotten past, the present, tainted by the human emotions of greed and hate, and …

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An important journey

By Ellen Brogan, Coláiste Muire, Ennis Senior winner,  Clare Champion Short Story competition IT’S  a cold September morning as I stroll through the park with my granddaughter. It’s her birthday and I wanted to do something special for her. I have brought her back to my home town; to the park I used to play in as a young girl. I want to explain to her what life was like for me growing up under such strict rule, waking up every day with fear in our hearts, how one’s life can be turned upside-down in the space of a day. Everywhere I look, a new painful memory is evoked. As I glance through the trees, I spot the roof of the Hochstadt University where my parents once worked. They were professors of music and engineering. Through the park railings on the left, I see the butcher shop my grandfather owned; so many memories come flooding back to me. Suddenly I’m …

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Junior category winner Aoife Daly, St Annes Killaloe with John Galvin, Clare Champion Managing Director.

Telling tales for the ‘Champion

THIS year’s Clare Champion Short Story Competition not only attracted its largest ever number of entries but it also saw some previous entrants scooping top prizes. At the presentation of prizes in De Valera Library, Ennis last Thursday night, Clare Champion editor Austin Hobbs said the competition has been a huge success since its inception. “It has been an incredible experience over a number of years and we are delighted to see huge participation in it,” he commented. He said the competition gives young people a chance to let their imagination “run riot a bit, without having to worry about the parameters of the Leaving Cert or Junior Cert structure”. Clare Champion managing director, John Galvin, added that over 270 young people had submitted entries, the largest number ever to enter the competition. He complimented all who had taken the time to write a story. “After a hard day at school, not to mention homework, it’s not easy to put …

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Fly Shannon, St John Paul II did

ON Saturday last,  Bishop Kieran O’Reilly launched the St John Paul car sticker, which features a picture of the man who will be canonised this Sunday, taken when he visited Shannon in 1979. The car sticker features the last recorded photo of the pope on Irish soil, just before he flew to the United States. The stickers encourage people to use the airport when flying and they are available locally, free of charge. The picture on the car stickers was taken by photographer Padraig O’Reilly, who lives in Fergus Drive. Almost 35 years afterwards, he still remembers the image as one that was very hard to get and it caused him a great deal of stress. It was actually his first day working as a freelance photographer, after leaving his job with Shannon Development. The Clare Champion had commissioned him to cover the Pope at the airport, where he was to get a picture of his Holiness meeting President of …

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A special stage for Boroimhe Suite

A SPECIAL 50m stage is being constructed to facilitate the eagerly-anticipated production of a new suite of music, commemorating the life and times of Brian Boru. Preparations are in full swing to ensure the stage and other additions to St Flannan’s Catholic Church will be finished for the Boroimhe Suite on Wednesday, April 23 at 8.30pm. It is fitting that Killaloe has the distinction of hosting a performance of this suite in old Kincora, where Brian Boru previously ruled. This is just one of the four April performances of the suite, which kicks off in Clasac, Clontarf on Monday, heads for Armagh Cathedral the following day before making the long trip to the banks of the River Shannon on the High King’s 1,000-year anniversary. On Thursday, the orchestra’s whistle-stop tour ends in Brú Ború, Cashel. Having augmented the sound of the National Folk Orchestra with the inclusion of a group of highly skilled musicians, composer Michael Rooney believes the resulting …

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One County One Book

CLARE County Library is encouraging adults and children to read, discuss, share and experience the same book by participating in a One County One Book programme. The One County One Book initiative will be officially launched by county librarian, Helen Walsh, along with a representative from Clare County Council in the De Valera Library, Ennis on Wednesday next at 7.30pm. The title chosen for adults is Lion of Ireland by Morgan Llywelyn, while the chosen children’s title is Brian Ború: Emperor of the Irish , also by Morgan Llywelyn. These titles were chosen in keeping with the initiatives taking place throughout the county this year to commemorate Brian Ború and the millennium of The Battle of Clontarf. It is hoped that as many people as possible will read these books between April and October and enjoy the events that are planned at the library to enhance the reading experience. Copies of the books will be available for borrowing at all …

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