'He had the world before him, fully fledged, full of confidence, ready for the off. He stood on the ledge, the warm breeze ruffling his feathers, lifting his spirit. He looked down, gauging his course, calculating the downdraft, the uplift. Suddenly, without warning, the cat struck, a glancing blow, knocking him off the safety of his perch, sending him careening into the void, helpless. He lay there, stunned, breathless, injured. I picked him up, the first swallow I've ever held, quaking, terrified, his little heart beating madly. He cheeped his protest, the cat fled, I put him safely back in his nest. Tomorrow is a better day to fly.'

In memory of the six young Irish J1 students who were tragically killed today when a balcony they were standing in, collapsed without warning in San Francisco two days ago. Air dheis De go raibh a h-anamacha. Remembering also their seven friends who have suffered catastrophic injuries in the accident.

Tags: Berleley, Dublin, Francisco, Ireland, J1, San, balcony, collapse, students

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