STUDENTS from Errigal College are celebrating their success at the Allingham Arts Festival.
Eoin Byrne and Joe McCafferty both one prizes for their poetry, and fifth year student Jo-Ann Evans’ short story also made it to this year’s final.
The festival was held in Ballyhannon and is sponsored by Donegal ETB. It includes poetry, short story writing and art competitions for students from both primary and secondary schools.
Eoin Byrne won the Fifth Year and Leaving Cert poetry section with his poem ‘Islands’.
His poem explores teenage relationships and the contrasting sense of peace and despair, the “loneliness and euphoria” that comes from escaping unwanted relationships.
Eoin explained that “the solitude of ending a relationship is sometimes something that we dream to pursue”.
Joseph McCafferty’s poem ‘The End of the Line’ came third in the same competition. His poem considers the end of the steam engine, personifying the trains’ as “overworked corpses”, their “bodies are battered and covered in rust”.
His poem closes with the stark reality that the steam engines “will not be remembered when they meet the cutter’s torch”.
Joe’s love of the history of the railways was heightened when he spent last summer working in the Donegal Heritage Railway Centre.
“My poem recalls the loss of the the steam engines and is also a commemoration of the end of the railways in Donegal,” he said.
Their English teacher Ms Caitriona Hasson was delighted that her students’ talents were recognised:
“It’s become easier to teach the rest of my Leaving Cert class this year because they are all so inspired by Eoin and Joe’s success.
They all entered this competition, encouraging and editing each other’s work and the two winners Eoin and Joe are only the tip of the talented writing iceberg,” she said.
Jo-Ann Evans’ short story A Mysterious Night is about a Letterkenny teenager being teleported around the world.
Ms Hasson reviewed Jo-Ann’s gripping teenage fantasy fiction story. “Oh yes! This is Jo-Ann’s first short story and her imagination is full of great ideas. There is definitely more to come from her,” she said.