‘Paper Coffee Cup’ By Caoimhe Massey ☕📝

Caoimhe Massey, our first OLS author to see her name in print, produced the following piece during the Creative Writing Workshop sessions held in school every Thursday at 12:40.


This really beautifully written piece was printed along with writing from other young authors in a special supplement with the Irish Times.

‘Paper Coffee Cup’ By Caoimhe Massey

She taps her long nails on her knee, 1, 2, 3, imagining the sound they make on a harder surface. She glances at the clock. 9:05am. He takes a sip of his takeaway coffee and when he puts it down, foam spurts out of the hole in the plastic lid. She pinches her tights, picks up the fabric and lets it snap back against her thigh. He writes something on a sheet of paper, the scratching of the pen deafening in the silent room. She coughs. Then she wishes she hadn’t, because now he knows she’s capable of making noise.

“Do you smoke?” he asks. She contemplates not answering.

“No,” she says. It’s the first truth she’s told since she arrived. He raises his eyebrows but says nothing, takes another sip of his coffee and writes something else on the paper. Beige stains the white lid of the coffee cup and she itches to wipe it away. She doesn’t move. He puts the pen and paper beside the coffee on the table.

“You know why you’re here,” he says. He says it in that false-chatty tone people use to make you agree with them. It’s not a question.

“Yes,” she says. It’s not really an answer, either. One of the paintings on the wall behind his head is out of line with the others and she can’t not look at it.

“Do you want to talk about it?” he asks. She almost laughs. She obviously doesn’t. She’s only here because Mr M made her come. There’s nothing wrong with her.

“There’s nothing wrong with me,” she says. She has made a mistake or two. Has bad coping mechanisms. So what? He looks pensive. She likes that word. Pen-sive. It sounds soothing, as if there were no bad things to be pensive about. She pinches her tights again, and this time her nail goes right through the nylon.

“Fuck,” she mutters. He doesn’t hear her.

“I’m not saying there is,” he says, in a voice that tells her yes, that’s definitely what he’s saying.

She looks at the stained coffee cup, then to the crooked painting, then to the fake plants on the windowsill. The blinds are open and she can see the green fence surrounding the primary school next door. She’s supposed to be at school right now. Or, not supposed to be, but she wishes she was. She has science first thing on a Wednesday.

“ . . . are you listening to me?” She looks back at him. His lips are pursed, hiding his mouth between his moustache and his beard. The bottom half of his face is just dark grey hair, no skin visible between his nose and neck.

“No,” she says. She wonders what he’d been saying, briefly. Then she remembers she doesn’t care. She pushes at the hole in her tights. It gets bigger. “I’d rather be at school,” He leans forward as if he’s watching some exciting action movie, Mission Impossible maybe.

“Do you like school?” he asks.

“I hate school,” she says, “It makes me want to . . .” she stops herself, remembers what happened last time she’d said that, Cian’s shocked expression and getting called to Mr M’s office later. It wasn’t even true, not really.

“Want to what?” he asks, because of course he can’t just leave it alone. That’s his job.

“Cry,” she says, then, under her breath, “or something.” He doesn’t hear that part. She focuses on the grey mark beside the door where it hits the wall every time it opens. Then she glances at the clock again. 9.25 am. Still 35 minutes to go. He sips his coffee again, the slurping almost in time with the quietly ticking clock. It’s quiet for a while, and when she concentrates she can hear the sounds of cars on the main road, and, distantly, a window smashing.

“Are you religious?” he asks.

“No,” She says. It’s a half-truth. She’s never been a devout Catholic, but she used to attend mass every Friday and even when she doubted her beliefs (often) the rote liturgies and prayers were soothing. “Not really,” she amends.

He doesn’t say anything after that, and she wonders why he even asked the question. The clock on the wall reads 9.45, the hole in her tights is now the size of a bottle cap, and the middle painting is still crooked. It mustn’t have always been crooked, because she can see a tiny sliver of wall where the cream paint is brighter than the rest.

“I like poetry,” she says. She doesn’t really know why she says it. “I can’t explain why. It just makes me feel.”

“And you don’t, usually?” She doesn’t answer that. It’s too close to and too far from the right question and she feels like she might cry.

“What about your parents?” he asks. She pulls a strip of skin from her lip with her teeth. The taste of blood is metallic.

“They’re okay,” she says, “It’s not because of them,”

“What’s not because of them?” She doesn’t answer, doesn’t feel like she has to. She bites her lip harder and a drop of blood falls onto her hand. She wipes it off on her tights. 9:50am. She hears the kettle boil in reception. He drains his coffee cup, the cardboard popping inwards. It’s tossed into the bin behind his armchair and it’s the only thing there.

She says, “Please fix that painting for next time,” her eyes on the centre canvas. He smiles like he has just won the lottery. She hears voices from reception, glances at the clock. 9.55am. There’s a grey arc on the floor by the door to match the mark on the wall.

“Do you want your mother to come in?” he asks.

“No,” she says, quicker than necessary. “That’s fine.” He picks up the pen and paper and starts to write something new.

“I think it would be beneficial,” he says, and she knows he’s right, but . . . it’s hard.

She says, “Maybe next week,” and he grins widely again. She scratches her nails on her circle of bare thigh, “I’m missing science.”

“And is class more important to you than getting better?” She considers her answer carefully, then, just as she’s about to reply, he says, “Time’s up,” and that’s that. Put all your feelings back in their boxes until next week. Time’s up, but neither of them move until they hear the kettle in reception boil, “See you next week.”

“Thank you,” she says, even though she doesn’t feel very thankful. She doesn’t really feel any different from when she walked in. Maybe she’s a little upset about ripping her tights. She stands up, slowly, stiffly, and he opens the door to let her out. Time to go back to the real world.


You can read the story on The Irish Times website here

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CBI Book of the Year Awards Shadowing Scheme 2017 📖🤓❤

Our Book Club are delighted to be part of the CBI Book Awards Shadowing Scheme this year!  Established in 2005, the CBI Shadowing Scheme is a unique programme for schools and libraries, designed to encourage awareness and enjoyment of the CBI Book of the Year Awards. 😊

How it works

Each of our Book Club members will read at least two of the choices (which are age appropriate!) by the 10th of May. Up until then we will discuss how our reading is going, and pair up with readers on the same book to discuss them more in depth and to avoid spoilers for others! On the 10th of May, we will each give the books we have read a number of marks out of 100. We will then average the marks for each book and fill out our special CBI Book Awards Ballot Sheet and send it back! It will be very exciting to see if any of our favourites end up getting the Children’s Choice Award! 🤓

Another extremely exciting aspect of being a part of the Shadowing Scheme is that by returning our votes by the 12th of May, we will be in with a chance of attending the CBI Book of the Year Awards ceremony in Dublin’s Smock Alley Theatre on 23rd May as part of International Literature Festival Dublin!! Book nerds unite! 😂✌🤓📖

CBI will announce the Children’s Choice Award during the official prize ceremony in May. The shadowing groups alone choose the Children’s Choice winner so every vote counts! Look out for CBI’s Q&A with shortlisted authors and illustrators on Instagram (@kidsbooksirel) and check out their YouTube channel (CBI-Childrens’ Books Ireland) for lots more.

You can read more about the CBI Awards here

Anybody who is not currently in Book Club, but who would like to be part of the Shadowing Scheme can come and join us on Wednesdays for the 2nd half of lunch! We have books and biscuits! 📖🍪

Here is this years shortlist from which we have chosen four titles to read



The four titles chosen by Book Club are:

The Call

The Call

by Peadar O’ Guilín

This YA novel is my mashup of the darker parts of Irish mythology and classic survival stories.

‘Your people drove them out of their homes. Thousands of years later they turn up again – and they’re gonna wipe you out.’


On her birthday, Nessa finds out the terrible truth about her home in Ireland – the truth that will change her future forever.


That she and her friends must train for the most dangerous three minutes of their lives:



That any day now, without warning, they will each wake in a terrifying land, alone and hunted, with a one in ten chance of returning alive.

And it is Nessa, more than anyone, who is going to need every ounce of the guts, wit, and sheer spirit she was born with, if she – and the nation – are to survive.

Suitable for 14+

Published by : David Fickling Books



plain jane

Plain Jane

by Kim Hood

Jane has lived in the shadow of her sister Emma’s illness for over three years; her life is a never ending monotony of skipping school and long bus rides to the hospital, and her love life is not exactly setting the world on fire.

She feels like she’s stuck in neutral, until she meets Farley, who sees the world –  and Jane – differently. He may just be the person she can count on when things get tough. A heart-breaking novel about dark times, family and – just maybe – love.

Suitable for 12+

Published by : The O’ Brien Press



The Ministry of Strange, Unusual, and Impossible the ministryThings by Paul Gamble

The Ministry of SUITs is a novel full of adventure, hilarity, heroism and …pirates, The Ministry of SUITs tells the story of a secret Ministry hidden away in the far reaches of the Ulster Museum in Belfast. It deals with all the strange, unusual and impossible things in the world, the things we don’t want to have to think about or deal with as perfectly-normal-thank-you-very-much people: ancient monsters, wild animals, pirates, aliens and much more. Some people are born to work in the Ministry, and 12-year-old Jack is one of those people. Endlessly curious, perhaps to a level that might be called nosy, Jack finds himself and his frenemy Trudy as the Ministry’s newest recruits. And their first mission? To find out where all the school oddbods are disappearing to…

Suitable for 10+

Published by: Little Island Books


by Deirdre O’ Sullivan

‘I would like to make things beautiful, but a tawdry and repulsive kind of beauty. A braver sort than people have from birth. Sexy zombies on a bicep. That sort of thing.’ Ces longs to be a tattoo artist and embroider skin with beautiful images. But for now she’s just trying to reach adulthood without falling apart. Powerful, poetic and disturbing, Needlework is a girl’s meditation on her efforts to maintain her bodily and spiritual integrity in the face of abuse, violation and neglect.

Suitable for 15+

Published by: Little Island Books
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