Writing Competition

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Maureen Donnelly Memorial 

    Writing Competition


The Saint Patrick Centre in Downpatrick, County Down is the only exhibition in the World about Ireland’s Patron Saint. Whilst the Romans wrote of Ireland from afar, Patrick’s story begins our history as the first written account of someone who lived and worked here.  


His story has remarkable modern resonances – someone who was a slave and was trafficked,  someone who was an immigrant, a person who forgave his captors and fought tirelessly for the faith he believed in. He brings together the Roman World of Britain and the Celtic World of Ireland and is remembered as someone who promoted the equality of women. His legacy is still alive today in the living faith of all denominations, in the many sites named after him and in parades which have become one of the largest annual cultural events in the World. 

The Saint Patrick Centre is launching the Maureen Donnelly Memorial Writing Competition in 2024 to celebrate the life of Saint Patrick and explore what his writings and his life can tell us about our own world. 


Maureen Donnelly was a long-standing Board Member of The Saint Patrick Centre. Born in County Antrim and resident in County Down, she dedicated much of her life to her passion of writing. Maureen’s first book Saint Patrick and his Associations with Saul and Downpatrick was published in 1972 and her most popular book The Nine Glens in 1974. Through the Saint Patrick Centre Maureen Donnelly Memorial Writing Competition we hope to honour Maureen’s dedication to literature. 

The competition will be in two categories. 


The first is for Key Stage 3 as creative writing either in the form of a poem or essay. The prize is £400. The second is for Key Stage 4 (and above as an essay). The Prize is £600. Essays can be handwritten, although our preference is typed copy. All applications should be emailed by Friday the 8th March at 5pm to heritage@saintpatrickcentre.com or posted to Saint Patrick Centre, Lower Market Street, Downpatrick BT30 6LZ. 

Maureen Donnelly

  • Key Stage 3 Creative Writing (700 word maximum)

Imagine you are Saint Patrick growing up as an immigrant and slave in Ireland. Tell us about your life and what you achieved.


  • Key Stage 4 and Above (1500 word maximum)

What can we learn from Saint Patrick’s experience of cultural identity, conflict and relationships. How are these experiences relevant today?

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The Saint Patrick Centre,
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Market Street, Downpatrick,
BT30 6LZ

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