Twenty five years ago the late Sr. Keane ran a poster competition in her class in the Sacred Heart Primary School. There were thirty entries and the theme was “Damer House”. In the following years this competition went from strength to strength, thanks to the vision of Sr. Keane. Single-handedly, she not only included all the pupils in every class in her own school but also she included all the schools in Roscrea and surrounding areas. Eight schools are currently involved in this competition and the entries are well over four hundred each year. In addition to all the age categories, the John Lupton Shield, and the Bernie Colclough Shield are awarded each year, and a special category is also included.
Sister Keane was ensuring that all primary school pupils would know their town and its heritage and have a sense of their own place. When asked how she thought of a different theme every year, her answer was always “Keep it simple and keep it local”. Sister Keane ran the competition herself until her final illness at which stage it was taken over by Rose Crofton. It was fitting that on this occasion sister Maria and Sister Madeline (Sacred Heart Sisters) were present.
The library was packed recently for the annual prize-giving ceremony. There was barely standing room as children of all ages and nationalities gathered with their proud parents, family members, principals and teachers to receive their awards. The library walls were adorned with all the posters on show and what a spectacle!. Every square inch of space was used to display the vast collection of pictures.
The theme this year was “Heritage” and therefore was many choices for the pupils as they could use any heritage building in Roscrea for their poster. As one could imagine when the entries came pouring in there was a vast collection of Round Towers, Castles, Franciscan Friaries etc not to mention abbeys such as Monaincha and many others.
On the night Rose Crofton paid special tribute to Sr. Keane and how happy she would be to know that “her” competition has continued for twenty five consecutive years.
Brendan Carmody presented the awards and congratulated the winners and had words of praise for all who entered. The children listened intently as he imparted his words of wisdom about Our Town. Heritage is a subject very close to his heart.
Tidy Towns Chairman, Cllr Denis Ryan thanked Rose Crofton and Mary Conroy and committee members who helped organise this event. He had special praise for local artist Mary Dillon who had the mammoth task of judging the competition and thanked her for a job well done. Gratitude was also expressed to Aine McGee Beausang and the library staff for facilitating the annual event.
The overall winner this year and recipient of the Bernie Colclough Shield was Leah O’Donoghue from Corville National school. Congratulations to all the participants.