Competition winners announced as Cornamaddy students impress with their essays

Thirteen-year-old Sandra Nieradka, a sixth class student at Cornamaddy National School has been announced as the winner of the Athlone Castle essay writing competition.

John Flynn and Leah Fox both aged 12 and in sixth class, were placed second and third respectively in the competition. The students were invited to write an essay about their experience of the newly opened Athlone Castle Visitor Centre following their visit, having previously been the last school group to go into the castle prior to renovation. On November 6, 2012 Athlone Castle reopened its doors after significant renovation works were complete and appropriately its first visitors were a group of students from Cornamaddy School.

As winner of the competition Sandra has won two family passes to Athlone Castle as well as a goodie bag containing castle merchandise. John and Leah also each won an Athlone Castle goodie bags for their essays.

Mary Bannon, Art and Heritage Guide at Athlone Castle said, “Congratulations to Sandra, John, and Leah. Their essays and those of their classmates have provided us with invaluable insight into what visitors think of the new castle visitor centre and will help us to ensure that we are providing the best possible visitor experience. When we went through the entries it was really difficult to select just one or two as they were all so strong and heartfelt. I would like to thank each and every one of the students who entered our competition and Cornamaddy’s class will be thought of very fondly by the team here in the castle.”

Athlone Castle will be officially opened by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring on Tuesday February 26. Athlone Castle is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am-5pm and Sundays 12-5pm. For further information see



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