Hi, my name is Cayla O’Neill Ruane, I was born in Galway 16 years ago and I have been living in the small village of Oughterard ever since. I have never been what someone would describe as ‘normal’, being an only child growing up, I always had to find ways to entertain myself without needing anyone around. I would read, create my own stories and act them out with my vast collection of dolls or make dances to show my mom when she got home from work. Living in Oughterard was difficult when I was younger, I didn’t have a lot of friends at school and there were very little activities for someone like me to participate in. Instead,I looked forward to the trip into Galway each weekend, as there was always so much to do and see in the city, even though it was through the confines of a Tesco shopping trolley.
Around 6 or 7, I started at a drama school in Galway, after my ‘dramatic flair’ became too much for my mom to bear, she said I needed a creative outlet. Whilst I was there, I met many different people from all over Galway, attending the school helped me learn how to make friends and it opened my eyes to a world outside of my own little village. My teachers there were from all over the world who had moved to the city, they told us, ‘You didn’t need to be Irish to live in Galway, this city is for everyone’. Galway was for the artists, the musicians, writers, athletes, teachers and the people who want to learn. I grew as a person during my two years there and I wonder how different I would be now as seeing the culture in Galway and learning about all the different opportunities that were just waiting for me out in the world.
I attended Oughterard National School and my love of reading and writing only grew as my teachers were always encouraging me as well as my crazy stories to become stronger. My second class teacher, in particular, Ms Power, was always my biggest supporter in the school when it came to my writing; with her kind words and constant empowerment. She always told me that when I grow up, she would have the first copy of my book and this gave me the confidence to appreciate my love of English and to pursue a career in writing.
I soon started secondary school and attended St Paul’s Secondary school in Oughterard and with that- my confidence disappeared as I didn’t have my old teachers around to keep me positive about my work. My love for English diminished as I never felt challenged in my classes..until I was preparing for my Junior certificate exam. For my English exam, my teacher assigned our third-year class a portfolio to complete. My portfolio consisted of character profiles, character analysis and was then finished off with a short story. I was apprehensive to how my teacher would react as this was the first piece of analytical writing and at that point, I had very little confidence left in my work. After my junior cert, we received our results and I achieved full marks on my portfolio work. My English teacher congratulated me and encouraged my writing as she told me of how she enjoyed my work.
As a current TY student, we are given the opportunity to go on work experience and now that I have re-kindled my passion for writing, I am currently completing mine at the Galway Advertiser. Working here I have discovered a love for journalism and it has helped me see a clearer future for myself in working with the English language. I will be forever grateful for this amazing opportunity and would like to thank everyone at the Advertiser who helped me through my week. Spending my week working in Galway, I have had a better chance to familiarise myself with the city and I have fallen in love with the cobbled streets and the music of the city.
Galway is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, there is no denying that. There are opportunities and facilities here that people come all over the world to have while we can have all of this on our backdoor step. No matter who you are, or where you come from, Galway will open its arms and make you feel welcome and if you’re ever unsure of something, Galway will provide an answer. This was my story and I’m proud to be apart of Galway.
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