23 August 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Storytelling is alive and well in County Cork as evident from local entries to a national story writing competition called Stories from the waterside. Cork had two short story winners selected from almost 500 entries. The first written by Kara Palkki Smemoe from Ballincollig is titled Fording The River Lee, the second is from Máire Ní Laoire from An Ghráinseach and is titled Cuimhní Óige: Uisce agus Inbhear. Additionally, Paddy O’Connor from Castletownbere was shortlisted for his story Shorelines. All three stories are published in the newly released Stories from the Waterside book.
The competition ran in April and May during the COVID-19 lockdown. It focused on collecting stories based on people’s memories and reflections around their local river, lakes, wetland and coastal area. Entries were received from across the Island of Ireland in both English and Irish. There was also an Under 18 category.
The competition was organised by the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) in partnership with The Heritage Council and the Heritage Officers Programme, Waterways Ireland and Inland Fisheries Ireland. The shortlisted and winning stories have been published in Stories from the waterside, a unique collection of personal stories connected with Ireland’s rivers, lakes, estuaries and beaches.
Catherine Seale-Duggan, Community Water Officer for Cork said, “It’s great to have local winners from Cork in this national competition. LAWPRO and the partner organisations were delighted that Stories from the Waterside captured the imagination of both young and old during lockdown. It gave people a chance to reflect on nature and time spent at a local waterbody. It also provided a wonderful opportunity to document individual connections with water and wildlife. The standard of story was exceptional and highlighted that Ireland is full of special places by a waterside.”
The Stories from the waterside publication will be launched on Water Heritage Day, which takes place this year on Sunday 23rd of August, at the end of National Heritage Week. It will be available to view and download at www.watersandcommunities.ie For further details see Facebook.com/LAWPROteam or contact Catherine Seale-Duggan, Community Water Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org and 085 808 5533