Anyone who’s been in my office in the last year or so might have noticed two little girls looking down at them from my wall.  

The photo caught my eye at an exhibition by Galway photographer Joe O’Shaughnessy a few years ago so I bought it, not really knowing where to put it.  Recently, in an effort to cheer up my office a bit, I decided to dust it off and hang it on my office wall.

Twins first day at school

It has been a great hit with patients. There’s something about the cheeky, defiant pose of these twins (pictured on their first day at school), that raises a smile in most who notice it. I recognise the flicker of distraction in patients eyes as they register the picture behind me, the pause, smirk and then the questions. ‘Are they your girls?’ they ask. ‘Aren’t they just great!’ ‘Are they twins?’ ‘I’ve seen that look before!’

Truth be told, the time it takes to explain how the picture came to be there, and answer questions about it slows me down and probably contributes to my running behind a little. Nonetheless, its here to stay. People seem to take strength from these two brave girls as they prepare for their journey into the unknown. 

A first visit to a hospital can be intimidating, disorientating, and stressful for patients. Much like our first day at school, it may not be as bad as you think.

 Thanks to Nicole and Rachel Healy and their Mum Mairead for permission to use this picture. Good luck in the Leaving Cert girls.




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  1. Frederick Jeffreys
  2. Anthony Back

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