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Perhaps only Ladies Day at the races causes a similar frenzy to all the upset and commotion that heralds ‘Back to School’ at the end of August or beginning of September. It is the biggest event in the social year. After the long summer holiday children are in a daze as their parents lead them, often dressed in new clothes top to toe, forward into the yard. If it is their first day at school, mum or dad will linger for a while in the classroom, intimidated by the confidence of the young múinteoir, the small tables and chairs, the 57 varieties of slippers, and the smell of pencils and paint. They leave consumed by their own memories.
Preparations are under way for the widely acclaimed multi-platinum and award winning singer Fr Liam Lawton who is performing in St Patrick’s Church, Ballina, on Friday August 28 at 8.30pm. The Catholic priest, working in the diocese of Kildare & Leighlin south of Dublin, is widely admired in religious and non-religious circles nationally and internationally. Some of his most famous compositions such as ’The Clouds’ Veil’ and ‘The Hiding Place’ are performed at many religious ceremonies throughout the world.
I am sure that the good sisters at the renowned Ursuline convent school, Sligo, had no idea what they were letting themselves in for when Eilís Dillon and her sisters landed as boarders at their door. The Dillon girls were confident, challenging and extremely well read. Much of that confidence came from their fiercely nationalistic mother and father and their commitment during the War of Independence. Both parents were imprisoned; their father, Professor Tom Dillon, was ‘on the run’ for most of that time.