Creative and historical writing competition unveils a remarkable and unexpected story connected to Napoleon.

Castleconnell is steeped in history and heritage, of that there is no doubt but when organisers asked for historical stories and tales of hidden history to be told within a story competition no one could have expected such an amazing true story to be told.

The competition was judged by local resident and one of the most highly respected writers and poets in Ireland, Stephen Murphy. Described as the “…new Bard of the country” by none other than President Michael D. Higgins. Stephen had the arduous task of sieving through the entries but was satisfied that there was one clear winner, with 3 other stories claiming the top prizes.


1st Place.  Napoleon’s Death Mask – Barbara Hartigan – Family Membership to River Leisure Club

2nd Place.  We Live in Hope – Mary O’Farrell – Stunning Christmas SuperValu Hamper courtesy of Cunninghams SuperValu Castleconnell

3rd Place.  Saturday Morning Walk – Paul O’Connor – Family Rail Tickets from Irish Rail

4th Place.  The War of Independence – Conor Gorey – €50 SuperValu Voucher courtesy of Unity Credit Union, Castleconnell


Already, by the end of the first paragraph, there’s a great sense of the fiery Annie Hartigan and the scene set around her, which continues throughout the story. It’s both really well told, and a deeply fascinating tale about the history of the area – Napoleon’s death-mask isn’t something you’d expect to show up in a trunk upstairs in a house in Castleconnell! – and it’s recounted with such precision that it left me wondering how whoever wrote this had such accurate descriptive detail for the story as it happened.” Stephen Murphy, Infopedia Competition Judge.


The competition was held to celebrate the launch of a new website for Castleconnell called Castleconnell Infopedia. This joint venture between ACM & Love Castleconnell was supported by The Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht and Audience Engagement Funding Scheme.


“We have had a huge response to the competition, and we are delighted. The stories will be published on the website for all to read. We also had a fantastic response to our questionnaire, which is invaluable for people to be able to share their thoughts. We are still encouraging people to contribute to this. The aim of which is give the general public the ability to offer feedback and offer opinions on how to improve life within the village.” Nicky McNamara, Love Castleconnell is a Living Encyclopedia designed to capture and preserve information about the community and the surrounds. It will gather together personal stories, local history and heritage, cultural events, the natural habitat and community achievements all relating to the village.