Fifth year student Katie Riordan
A Killenaule secondary school student has taken the top honours at a prestigious poetry writing competition.
The GAA Museum recently invited secondary school students to show off their writing prowess with an essay, short story or poem using the theme ‘’A GAA Legend”.
Entries were then judged by a panel of talent-spotting experts, including writer Paul Howard, journalist Cliona Foley and Sean Love of Fighting Words.
The GAA museum received an overwhelming response to the competition, with hundreds of entries received throughout Ireland.
Scoil Ruáin is delighted to reveal Katie Riordan, a fifth-year student in Scoil Ruáin Killenaule, was awarded the overall prize in the English Senior Category.
Katie was encouraged to apply by her teacher Ms Aoife Coote and her original take on the competition’s theme highly impressed the judges.
“Growing up, I always had an interest in Irish historical events, but I never took a liking to sports, if I’m honest. When I heard about the competition, I knew students would take the sports side of things and write about their sport experiences, but I decided to take a different route. Luckily for me, a few weeks before the competition, while rummaging in my attic, I came across ‘Knocknagow’, a book which was passed down on my dad’s side of the family.
"I then found a letter within the pages, a letter between Micheal and Delia from November 21 1920 - Bloody Sunday. As well as that, I knew dad’s grand uncles were members of the IRA and in particular, Sean Riordan who sadly was shot in Coalbrook, has a memorial in the area. I put two and two together and created a poem, which led me to victory,” explained the talented teen.
Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic the museum was unable to host their awards lunch for the winners and their families and teachers, but they are hoping to welcome back these talented writers to the museum in the near future.
The credit of Knocknagow
History is never black or white, In 2020, Black and Tan has coloured our thinking.
Remember, find closure, forgive, forget.
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My great grand uncle’s books passed down through the family,
Were many and varied, But mostly covered Irish topics and GAA newspaper clippings.
Kept hidden away in his trunk of keepsakes.
A letter bookmarked pages 452,453 of his favourite book,
Knocknagow, Where Matt the Thrasher uttered those
favourite words, “For the credit of the little village” A nationalist who often spoke of Bloody Sunday And as an orphan was
moulded in Artane Industrial School, Where
Nationalism and GAA were inseparable.
I’m told that in later years, He would read the letter
and try to hide the tears. The rigid
unrepentant republican. After a lifetime and with failing eyesight,
Perhaps saw things more clearly. An ordinary couple of
the extraordinary times, A snippet from the day that
shaped the years since, Croke Park and battle ground
seem unlikely companions, But even those events of
the past, Under the modern day microscope, Reveals nothing.
I suppose you had to be there, To see it
To feel it Through that letter,
My grand uncle found his own answers,
And perhaps some peace.