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Name: Dan the Donkey.

Age: 27

Normal Look: Black and white donkey.

Superhero Look: Big supersonic donkey with spotted ears and wings that are invisible to anyone but me.

Likes: Carrots and television.

Dislikes: Villains and cabbage.

Special Powers: He is able to change his size and shoot fire out of his tail. He is also able to change into a human.

Sidekick: Frank the Super Spider.

Mission: Save me from the evil Dr. Draco.

I was eleven years old when I got Dan. My family had just moved into a farmhouse with 120 acres of land around it. My aunt Jane and her husband Tom (who were also farmers) gave me a donkey. I named him Dan. I have a love of spiders, so I declared to my horrified Mother that I was also getting a pet tarantula.

One day while I was messing with my chemistry set I spilled a potion on Dan's food. I was about to throw out the spoiled food when my mom called me to do my homework. I was so busy doing my homework that I completely forgot all about the spoiled food. When I went to feed Dan next morning I found all the spoiled food had been eaten. I then looked at Dan. What I saw was a bit scary, Dan was floating in the air. His ears were big and spotted. I realized that if the spoiled food had done this to Dan it might do the same thing to Frank the tarantula. To my delight it did.

That night as I was watching television, there was a programme on which showed how the crime rate had increased over the last year. It got me thinking about how maybe Dan and Frank might be able to help by using their powers to help fight crime.

The following day I brought Dan and Frank to the Police Station and told the Police about their special powers and showed them a little sample of what they could do. The Police were very impressed with them and agreed to give them a trial at fighting crime. The days passed and as they solved more and more crime the Police decided to give them the Job on a permanent basis. The crime rate figures fell dramatically and Dan and Frank drove out the gangsters and mobs except for the elusive “Dr. Draco”

After a year of fighting crime Dan and Frank had made a real name for themselves, but they also had made an enemy. He was Dr. Draco the worst villain in the world. As I was walking home from school one day I was jumped on, gagged and blindfolded. Then I was thrown into the back of a van.

I knew what was going on straight away. Dr Draco had captured me. It was a plot to make Dan and Frank come looking for me. Then Dr. Draco could kill them and me also. As all this was happening Dan and Frank were at the bank fighting Dr. Darco’s henchmen. When they got home Mum asked them were I was. She said she thought that I was with them. She rang me on my mobile. When I didn’t answer they got worried. Mum rang all my friends. They said they hadn’t seen me since I left school. Dan and Frank headed straight for Dr. Darco’s lair. When they got there they got a shock. I was on a glacier in the middle of a swimming pool. Dr. Draco informed them they had two hours to fight all his henchmen and save me. At that moment two thousand men appeared. Dan and Frank got straight to work. Dan killed most of them using the fire in his tail. Frank killed the rest by changing his size and stamping on them. It had taken an hour and a half of their two hours for them to kill all two thousand men. They used the rest of their time trying to think of a way to save me but every time they tried to go into the pool an invisible wall pushed them back. Dan turned into a human being and ran towards the wall and jumped into the pool. He swam to the glacier which at this stage was so small there was barely enough room for me to remain on it. Dan untied me and we swam back to Frank. We had two minutes left. We ran as fast as we could. Just as we got out of Dr. Draco’s lair it exploded. After that day Dan and Frank decided to fight crime for as long as they live.


Aoife Naughton

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Nano's Lucky Escape



It was 3 o’clock on Christmas Eve. Everything was ready for Christmas Day. Mammy asked if we were ready to go to see Nano. It was traditional for Mum to visit Nano and take her a bottle of sherry wine and 50 gold flakes cigarettes. Nano loved her glass of wine and her cigarettes. Nano is Mum’s grandaunt and she was 90 years old but she is very fit and healthy for her age. She does not mind living alone even though she misses her husband who died some years ago. She did not have any children. She loves people to call so we knew she would be expecting us. I was also looking forward to seeing her. She would have the usual three big brown envelopes ready, one envelope for me and the other two for my two brothers. There would be money in each of them for us for Christmas. When we reached the townland we left the main road and travelled for another mile along the little narrow roadway that took us to Nano’s house. It was a very bumpy ride as there were a lot of potholes on the road. Eventually I spotted Nano’s light in her little thatched cottage. It was a candle lighting on the window.

When we stopped outside Nano’s house I jumped out of the car. Nano was standing in the doorway with her arms stretched out to greet us. She said “Hello Collette. My goodness how big and strong you have got. You are the image of your Mum when she was young.” She then hugged Mum and kissed her on the cheek and said to her. “Welcome, oh welcome. It brings back old times when your brother and yourself came to visit Jack and myself.” In we went to a big open fire, which threw out lovely heat. We sat around it and wished Nano a happy and Holy Christmas. Nano was very happy with her crib on the table and a rosary beads by its side. “I was just saying a few prayers” she said. Nano opened her press and took out her own bottle of sherry and a bottle of lemonade. I got a big glass of lemonade and Mum said that she would drink lemonade also as she was driving. Nano took a big glass of sherry herself and lit her cigarette. How happy we all were.

Suddenly Mum looked at the clock. “Oh Nano, look it’s 9 o’clock. We had better be going as we must be home on time to go to Mass at 10.00 pm.” “Wait” said Nano as she went into the bedroom. While she was in the room I ran out to the car to get the presents for Nano and mum came with me. We were a few minutes outside as it took us a while to find the cigarettes. When we went back in we got such a shock. Smoke was coming from Nano’s room and there was no sign of Nano. Suddenly we heard Nano’ voice. “Katie and Collette, please help me. Mum handed me Nano’s lamp and told me to run as fast as I could to the nearest house to get help. Nano didn’t have a phone and we had forgotten to bring our mobile phone with us. I was afraid of the dark but I had to think of Nano. I stopped at Jim and Tomo O’Sullivan’s. They were just parking the tractor before going in home. I shouted out to them. “Help, help. It’s Nano”, I said. “Nano’s on fire”. I said with the excitement. That’s what I said instead of saying that it was Nano’s room that was on fire. They got out their car and we went down the road so fast, not bothering to avoid the potholes.

When we got there the room was being gutted by flames. Mum was at the side of the house. She was all black and her two hands were all burns. Nano was lying on the ground beside her with Mum’s coat covering her. “Is she dead?” I cried. Mum said “No, thank God but will you please stay here with her while I go to help Jim and Tomo. They ran down the field to the next house. They got the loan of a water hose and with the help of the car and tractor lights they tried to put out the flames but the heat kept them back. Just then I heard “zing, zing” It was the fire brigade on its way. They asked if there was anyone inside. It took about two hours for them to get the fire under control. Half of Nano’s little cottage was wrecked. In the meantime the doctor had arrived and was treating Nano.

He put cream on Nano and bandaged her arms. He gave her an injection for shock. When the ambulance arrived they got her ready to take her to the hospital. Nano was lifted onto a stretcher and into the ambulance. We were crying and so was Nano as it was her first time in 90 years having to go to hospital. Before she went she said “My little cottage is half gone but thank God I am still alive”. Off the ambulance sped down the road. The doctor had cleaned Mum’s hands and bandaged them. Mum rang for Dad when we reached Tomo’s house and we waited there for him. Mum told us how she had grabbed Nano’s shawl and wrapped it around herself and entered the room in search of Nano. She found Nano on the floor where she had collapsed and just took her out. It seemed that Nano’s candle had set fire to her curtains. Dad arrived and took us home as Mum’s hands were sore and she was in shock. When we got home Mum rang the hospital to see how Nano was. The nurse that answered said she was comfortable but still in shock. She had the greatest escape in her life and I think so too.

Collette Keniry


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The Secret Cave.

It all started on the day after my 21st birthday. I got a notice in the post, which said that there would be a canoeing tournament on the 2nd of February and that I was one of the 20 participants. It was due to start at 02:30. I went over to my calendar. I noticed immediately that the 2nd of February was that very day. I got ready to go. I had something to eat before I went to the race. I got into my car and drove to the Angel Valley in Dublin.

When I reached Angel Valley I took my luggage from the car and booked into the Regency Hotel. My boss was at the door of my room. I invited her to come into the room for a cup of tea but she said that there was no time for either of us to have a cup of tea. She told me to look at the clock. When I looked at the clock the time was 02:00. I went to the universal sports shop. I bought a new canoeing helmet and a life jacket. When I was ready I went to the starting point. Everybody was at the starting point and ready to go. The race official blew the whistle and everyone was off. I was slow at first because the waves were not rough but I was getting faster as I went along.

I was concentrating so hard on going faster and faster that I forgot about the waterfall which lay ahead. I didn’t know what I was going to do so I started to scream as loud as I could but no one could hear me because the waves were so rough and they were really loud as well. I was trying to catch on to a pole but it was too slippery so I lost my grip. I closed my eyes and hoped that I was going to survive. I landed in a strange place that looked like a cave. There was a little passageway on the left hand side of the cave so I got out of the canoe and stepped up on a ledge. There was lots of sparkling stuff on the top of the cave so I decided to take some home. I put my hand up and grabbed some. I took out my camera from my life jacket and took a picture of the gold stuff

I went on a little further into the cave and then I was getting colder. The ledge had come to an end so I had no place to stand so I had to walk in the water. Just as I thought that things could not get any worse the tide was coming in. I opened the top zip of my life jacket and I took out a walky-talky. I tried to contact someone at the starting point. I finally got through to my boss.

She sent out a helicopter to look for me. As they were doing that I started to leave the cave. I took one deep breath and dived down into the water. When I got out the helicopter was waiting for me. It took me safely back home I had a nice hot cup of hot chocolate. When I went to bed I thanked my lucky stars that I had lived to tell the tale.

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Ciara Lynch

My favourite animal is the horse. We have seven horses and a pony called Charlie. Charlie is my pet and I feed and bed him every day. It doesn’t matter what kind of horse or horses you have you still have to feed them and bed them every day. To do this properly you will need a wheelbarrow, a four-pronged fork for lifting straw bedding, a broom with stiff bristles for sweeping the floor, a shovel for moving large piles of dung and a hose for washing down the stable walls and stable door. You will also need at least two square bales of straw so that the horse can’t hurt his legs on the hard floor. Horses sleep standing up, but if they feel safe, they will sleep lying down.

Horses are large, fast-running mammals that live in family groups on grasslands. They eat grasses; they are nomadic herbivores. Racehorses can gallop at up to about 42 mph (68 kph) in short bursts in order to escape from predators. The horse's life span is about 20-35 years. All horses have only one official birthday. It falls on Jan. 1st
Horses were first domesticated by people in Asia 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. There are about 200 domesticated breeds of horses. The earliest-known horse is the tiny Eohippus (Hyracotherium).

Horse Terms
An adult female horse is called a mare, the adult male is called a stallion. A foal is a horse not yet one year old; a colt is a young male and a filly is a young female. A gelding is a sterilized male horse. A pony is a small horse, less than 58 inches (146 cm) tall at the shoulder. Horses are closely related to the zebra and donkey. Mules and hinnies are the offspring of donkeys and horses.

Horses have hoofed feet. The hooves and teeth continue to grow throughout the horse's life. Horses have a narrow, flowing mane. They have large nostrils that let them get lots of air quickly. Large eyes and ears help the horse detect predators early, allowing it to run away. The heaviest horse is the Belgian (up to 3,150 lb,1400 kg), a draft (working) horse; the tallest is the Percheron (7 ft tall), another draft horse. The lightest and smallest is the Miniature Horse, a type of pony.

Handling a Horse
Part of caring for a horse or pony is knowing how to treat him on a day-to-day basis. This is called how you “handle” him. Well trained horses are usually trusting, willing and they enjoy being with people. Good handling ensures that they stay that way.
It is important for the horse to see you clearly. You should always approach a horse with caution.

Happy and Healthy
Even a well-looked after horse may develop a health problem at some stage. This might be a mental problem caused by the boredom or frustration of living in a stable, or a physical problem such as having colic or developing laminitis. Fortunately, most health problems can be treated effectively if they’re noticed and treated early enough.
You can encourage a horse to develop good manners by spending time with him around the stable. Crib- biting is often a sign of boredom.

Horses that live outside
A horse that lives outside only needs a light groom before riding. A full groom would remove the oils in his coat which protect him from the weather and insects. He may, however, need extra brushing when losing his winter coat.
For a light groom, brush his body and legs gently with a dandy brush, making sure the saddle and girth areas are clean and dry.

Stabled Horses
When a horse is kept in a stable, he needs a lot of care; because he is unable to look after himself as he can’t do outdoors. He can’t graze, roll around or exercise himself, so it’s up to the owner make sure all these needs are met.
A stable or loose box should be at least 4m by 4m, so that the horse has plenty of room. It needs to be a solid building, with a good drainage system and a roof that doesn’t leak.

Hooves and Shoes
When you ride a horse, his feet have to support your weight as well as his own, so they get a lot of wear and tear. This means it is very important to look after them properly by caring for his hooves and shoes.

Parts of a Hoof
The frog is rubbery and quite sensitive. The wall is made of hard horn, so the horse can’t feel anything.

Nursery Rhyme

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost:

For want of the shoe, the horse was lost;

For want of the horse, the rider was lost;

For want of the rider, the battle was lost;

For want of the battle, the kingdom was lost,

And all for the want of a nail.


In the winter, horses grow thicker coats to keep them warm and dry. Exercise also makes a horse warm, so a working horse’s coat should be clipped to stop them getting too hot. When resting, he may need a rug to protect him from the cold.
There are several ways a horse can be clipped. Which clip is used depends on how much work he does, and whether he lives in or out. Most clips leave some hair to protect the horse, but show horses may be fully clipped. Western horses are often left unclipped.

If a horse has been clipped or if he lives out in winter, he may need a rug to keep him warm. When a horse is out in the field a “New Zealand” rug is ideal. This is a strong, waterproof rug made of canvas or nylon, with a warm lining. It should reach from in front of his withers to behind his tail and be long enough to cover his sides. It should fit snugly without being tight. There are also several other kinds of rugs you may come across. These rugs can be used to keep a horse warm, to help dry him off, or to protect his coat and keep it clean after grooming.

In a showing competition, the horses are judged on how they move, behave and look. Competitions are divided into categories, called classes, for horses of different types, sizes and ages. They are good places to watch quality horses and to learn about breeds.

At the Show
There are different classes for all kinds of horses and ponies, from Thoroughbred horses to family ponies. Most shows have separate horse and pony classes.

Difficult Horses
Horses and ponies can be very difficult to ride and disobedient at times. Sometimes this is simply because they know they can get away with it; but it can be because they can be distressed or in pain. Many problems arise as a result of bad riding.

Shying is when a horse swerves or jumps away from something frightening. It is a natural reaction, so let them investigate and sniff the scary object. If a horse shies frequently, he should be ridden by a calm, strong rider, who is able to urge him past whatever frightens him. It can also help out with a calmer horse.

Rearing is a very serious problem that should only be dealt with by an expert. If a horse rears when you are riding him, lean forward to spot him falling over backwards.

Famous Horse Names

Black Bess

Dick Turpin

Black Nell

Wild Bill Hickok


Alexander the Great

Copenhagen Duke of Wellington
Lamri King Arthur


Hopalong Cassidy


Gene Autry

Marengo Napoleon
*Pegasus Bellerophon
Trigger Roy Rogers
Silver Lone Ranger

*Pegasus was an immortal winged horse in Greek mythology. His mother, Medussa was a snake-haired woman and Poseidon his father was god of horses and of the sea.

Horse Idioms and Sayings

To work like a horse
To work very hard

A horse of another colour
An entirely different matter

To put the cart before the horse
To do something clumsily the other way around

A dark horse
A person whose merits are not fully known

To flog a dead horse
To argue about something that has already been settled or to waste one’s strength

A willing horse
A person who works hard without being urged on and is consequently not very highly appreciated

To hold one’s horses
To stop, restrain oneself, consider before acting

To ride one’s high horses
To put on an air of importance

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St. Cuan's National School
County Clare
Tel: 065 9058212