Athlone Castle Visitor Centre to host children’s creative writing series

Athlone Castle Visitor Centre will host a children’s creative writing series of events as part of this year’s national Cruinniú na nÓg activities.

The events will comprise of a children’s creative writing competition, creative writing workshops and a virtual awards ceremony to unveil prize winners and launch a digital publication of winning entries. These events are supported by Creative Ireland and Westmeath County Council.

Children are invited to write a short story or poem inspired by Athlone Castle’s resident troublemakers - Olaf the Viking and Hugh the Williamite soldier, two cartoon characters who feature in the castle’s interactives and social media storytelling content.

The creative writing competition is open to children from Athlone, neighbouring localities, and Westmeath in two age groups: 7-11 and 12-17 years. Children are invited to write a short story or poem inspired by one of the specially created illustrations of the shenanigans of the cartoon characters for a chance to win some great prizes.

Up for grabs will be a selection of Rory’s Story cubes, a dice game that inspires creative storytelling and endless hours of imaginative fun. There will also be Eason’s vouchers for every winner.

Children and their parents can view the illustrations and find out all the details about this exciting creative competition on

All entries to be emailed to Athlone Castle before 4pm on Friday, May 14.

To help inspire all the young authors out there, Athlone Castle has enlisted the support and expertise of Keith Payne, the current John Broderick Writer in Residence, to host free online creative writing workshops on Saturday, May 8. More details about the workshops can be found on

A selection panel will choose the winning entries and the children whose stories or poems are selected, will have their work published in a specially commissioned digital booklet ‘Olaf and Hugh’s Adventures at Athlone Castle’.

The publication will be displayed and available to download from the castle website and social channels and a limited number of copies will be printed, with the winning children getting their very own copy.

The highlight of Athlone Castle’s creative writing event will be the live streaming of a virtual ceremony on Saturday, June 12, the day of Cruinniú na nÓg during which the winners will be announced, and the ‘Olaf and Hugh’s Adventures at Athlone Castle’ publication will be officially launched online by the John Broderick’s Writer in Residence, Keith Payne and Caroline Coyle, of Poetry in the Park. All the finalists will be invited to read their works during the opening.

So, to be in with the chance to win fantastic prizes that include vouchers and games, children should submit their story or poem which can be no longer than 500 words, by email to [email protected], no later than Friday, May 14.

Visit the Athlone Castle website for full details of these creative writing events supported by Creative Ireland and Westmeath County Council.


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