Wednesday 7 December 2016

In the library, like the Coast Guard, she went extra mile

Laura Larkin

Published 15/09/2016 | 02:30

Caitriona’s window paintings in Ennistymon library Picture: Mark Condren
Caitriona’s window paintings in Ennistymon library Picture: Mark Condren

Colourful window paintings of Fantastic Mr Fox and Matilda, painted by Caitriona Lucas only last Saturday, look out onto the square in Ennistymon where she worked as a librarian.

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The mum of two was keen to get children excited about reading - and had organised an event for local readers to mark the centenary of author Roald Dahl's birth. A Fantastic Mr Fox mask that she made as a template for children is being kept safe by her colleagues.

In the library, like with her job in the coastguard, Caitriona always went the extra mile.

"She was very good with her hands and had great ideas - and always did things on her own initiative," her colleague Tim Murphy told the Irish Independent.

Her organisation skills - which have been hailed by her colleagues in Doolin Coastguard - were honed in the busy library branches in Ennistymon, Lisdoonvarna and Corofin.

Her work with the Irish Coastguard couldn't have been more different from the time she spent in Clare libraries, where she worked for the past 16 years. But she found a way to bring her skills in the rescue service to work with her too.

"She organised a Lego club, where the kids build things together, which is all about teamwork. It was actually so popular we had to spread it out over a longer time because there was so many people who wanted to do it. The importance of team building was obviously something that she picked up from working with her colleagues in the coastguard.

"Rather than position one interfering with the other, they complemented each other."

Mr Murphy said she was always available to help people with their book selections.

"She was great for helping readers if they were trying to select and they loved that," Mr Murphy said. "She will really be a big loss."

Despite giving hundreds of hours to the coastguard and working between three libraries, sometimes on her own if necessary, Caitriona was also studying. She was doing Library and Information studies through distance learning.

The Ennistymon branch is used by both locals and people who holiday regularly in the area, who all know the quiet Clare woman who dedicated her life to helping others.

Although the library was closed, one of her colleagues was on hand to allow members of the public in to sign a book of condolences yesterday.

It was, Mr Murphy said, a great comfort for people who wanted to send a message of support in some way to Caitriona's husband Bernard and her two children Emma and Ben.

Irish Independent

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