TAround this time each year, Eoin's friends led by Eamonn, Adam, Rob and Aengus, organise a tribute night. It was initially to remember Eoin through poetry and music, to reconnect with friends and family and to help us all process our grief together while celebrating those things Eoin valued most in life. In recent years it has also been a means to celebrate the winner and runner ups in the Eoin Murray Memorial Scholarship.
In light of the pandemic, this year we decided that the safest thing would be to postpone the tribute night. This was a difficult decision as it is always a very special night of remembrance and celebration. However we wouldn't want anyone to encounter any unnecessary risk or for the tribute night to be a source of stress for anyone, so we feel it was the right decision.
We look forward to inviting Alana, Joy and Lara to our tribute night in 2021. In the meantime, we would love to share the beautiful video above, written and directed by Alana in memory of an exceptional boy; Mattie J.T. Stepanek. This piece won the Grand Prize in Poetry and Film at the Mattie J.T. Stepanek 2020 Poetry Award.
We also share three written pieces from Alana, Joy and Lara below;
Alana Daly Mulligan
You and I sitting –
Two fisherfolk on a bench in Dunmore
With nothing but a sunset caught between us.
I look at the chips –
They are great cliffs splashed in a vinegary sea,
And the fish split open like a book.
My fork traces the rivers in its flesh
Back to the source, the bone,
What life has this creature known?
Between the waves of myth, fiction and reality,
I am myself a Fionn with my thumb firmly
Pulling on the star-fastened jacket,
Peeling it back, dripping grease and oil.
I’m toiling with the idea of my appetite
Escaping me when my meal hasn’t.
There are little hot blisters in its skin,
And I pick them off with my little fingers
To count the futures I should now see
As I decide to set the rest free.
It is an oath as strong as hazel wood
Sewn between a child and the sea.
You are none the wiser.
We eat in the shadows of the waves
And let the sunsets sail away.
Ode to a Knob
Joy Amber Curtis
Your cold hand twists my nose and I feel a sneeze.
I open the door slowly when I feel a breeze,
I make you believe I’m inhabited by the ghost of your great nan.
I once glowed bronze but age has left me dull and tan.
I give my consent to visitors who knock first.
And everyone else I vow to curse.
Snap their keys in my lock.
Jam my door when they try to pick-pock.
I always latch onto your jumper for attention
But when I broke was the only time I was mentioned.
You unscrewed me from my homely door-frame
The ornate knocker, once again, stealing my fame.
I had dreamt of owning a new, clear, crystal face
But I started to realise I was being replaced.
You throw me on a shelf deep into the shed.
And my metallic heart rapidly fills with dread.
I lose my screw eyes and try to count to ten.
I cry tears of rust and I never unlock again.
Lara Ni Chuirrin
We sat across from each other in his kitchen, the light above us shining feebly, flickering slightly.
I guess I arrived around six?
By the time we'd finished eating, the world outside was a deep inky blue that seemed to pour through the window behind him, the kind of night sky that if you got too close, it would swallow you up.
You would disappear.
I wonder if I knew then?
Thick slices of pork, the fat barely crispy,
The linoleum topped table wobbled as we hacked at the meat in silence.
When our cutlery had clattered down on empty plates, my fingers were greasy and there was bean sauce gathered at the corner of his mouth, trailing into his beard. He began to rise, reaching shakey hands across the table to clear my plate.
'Don't, Dad, I'll do it.'
I stood and grabbed both plates and brought them to the sink as he slowly sat back down again.
'Put the kettle on, will you?' His usual post-dinner refrain.
Water poured from the tap into the spout , splashing the dishes now piled in the sink, swirling in the grease of the pork fat.
God. Everything is still so vivid.
Later that evening we went out to the back yard and lit a fire. We lit it in the corner, by the compost bin, and the sweet smell of rotting fruit flesh mixed with the smoke, trundling into the sky.
'She would have liked this.' He had said, shielding his eyes from the smoke.
'Do you?' I asked, but my voice caught in my throat, barely reaching above a whisper.
He didn't seem to hear, threw a sod of turf on the fire.
We sat there for ages in the growing cold and I watched the fire fall lower, turn to embers, watched the gentle breeze pick up scraps of ash and carry them to heaven.
His eyes were closed, his lips moving slightly, but when I leaned in closer I couldn't hear anything.
How long did I stay? I hope long enough.
The moon had given up trying to push through the thick clouds, was now clothed in darkness, a faint yellow hum hanging above us.
'I'm headin' off now.'
His eyes shot open.
'Oh yeah...good lad. Thanks for coming. She'd have liked that.'
I left through the sidegate in the garden, did battle with the rusty bolt for a moment before escaping into a dark estate which sprawled down to the sea.