Time to Move On

Clare Champion, Friday, 10th September 1999

Tears, bucketloads of tears.  And books.  Great bags of books.

One tiny hand clutches a bag of books, the other clings to a grown-up hand whose owner is already battling back the tears. It's the first big step away from home and babyhood and neither side wants to let go. Together, they walk the line from gate to classroom in a drama that's played out this first week of September in towns and villages and country schools across Clare.

Teachers smile as they hug and kiss and hold on to each other. Small hearts come close to breaking but this is a lesson in the ways of the world and by half past ten, it's time to move on.

Introductions are made and little chairs and tables are assigned. Mothers and fathers retreat to home and to work while toddlers take the books from their bags and turn to the first page of Lulu agus Rí Ra.

In twelve months time, it will be someone else's fun.

Twins, Damon and Jordan Whelan, are
comforted by Aisha Kelly as all the
excitement of their first day at Ennis N.S.
proves to be a little too much.
    Lee Quirke, one of a pair of twins,
watches all the action from his
own hiding placy on his first day
at Ennis N.S.

Photographs by John Kelly, Clare Champion.

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