Clonmacnois

My home town of Shannonbridge, County Offaly in Ireland is close to the medieval site of Clonmacnois where the last High King of Ireland, Roderick O`Connor, was buried in 1198. It's regarded as a highly spiritual place and I feel that its history and spirit can also be felt in Shannonbridge. When I was in my teens I was having trouble with some local girls who used to taunt me and call me names like "Pikey and gypo" and tell me that I smelled. I was terrified of these girls who were bigger than me, and used to throw stones and mud at me on my way home from school. I was too scared to tell anyone about it and felt very alone - I thought that perhaps if I shared my problem with God he might help me, and I often prayed to Him at night. I'm sure he could feel my pain, the tears would stream down my face as I confided my troubles to Him.

One day when I was walking home from school I decided to cut through one of the local farmers fields so I could get home quicker. Unfortunately the girls were not far behind me and started following me. I was so scared I started running through the field. The field is full of large moss covered rocks and boulders which I had to avoid, but the girls were catching up. I ended up tripping over a rock and spraining my ankle.

The girls started walking over threatening me, telling me they were going to "do me" and drown me in the Shannon. I started crying and pleading for them to leave me alone but they kept coming, one had picked up a rock and another had a tree branch, I thought I was going to die. Then suddenly they stopped dead still and went really pale, I didn't know what was happening but then I heard a voice saying "You will leave her be, get away from here or you will feel my wrath". Well, the girls scampered and when I turned round there behind me was a bearded man dressed in a long regal cloak with a sword holding a silver cup. I knew he wasn't of this world and I'm not sure if he was an angel or a ghost, but he was definitely there to protect me. The only thing he said to me before he disappeared was "To Donnell I go". I'm not sure what that meant. Anyway, he just kind of went and I got up and limped home. The girls never bothered me again.

Katarina xx