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Schools Competitions Now Open

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Our Primary & Secondary Schools Art, Poetry and Short Story Competitions are now open! Each year we receive many fantastic poems, stories and paintings from primary and secondary school students all around the country, North and South, and we expect this year will be no different.

The deadline is October 11th 2019. To enter, print off one of the application forms on our Competitions Page, or upload your story using the online form on the same page.

Best of luck!!!

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Meet the Judges!

The Allingham Festival Poetry & Flash Fiction competitions invite new work from emerging talent around the country and abroad. The winners will receive a prize of €300 in each category along with their award, and will be invited to read their work at our Literary Lunch event on Saturday November 9th in Ballyshannon.

This year’s judges will have their work cut out for them, from shortlisting dozens of entries in each category, to selecting the winners. In the Poetry category, we have two well-known and award-winning Donegal poets, Denise Blake and Annemarie Ní Churreáin. Annemarie will also host this year’s Wild Atlantic Writers session in the Dicey Reilly’s pub on November 8th as part of Allingham 2019. For the Flash Fiction competition, Jo Holmwood and Brian Leyden have the arduous task of identifying this year’s top stories. Read more about our judges below the fold.

There’s still time to enter, as the deadline is September 26th. To enter, upload your work here: www.allinghamfestival.com/upload-entry


Annemarie Ní Churreáin is a writer and poet from northwest Donegal who now lives in Dublin. In 2016 she was awarded a Next Generation Artists Award by President Michael D. Higgins on behalf of the Arts Council of Ireland. Annemarie has also received literary awards from Jack Kerouac House (Orlando), Akademie Schloss Solitude (Germany) and Hawthornden Castle (Scotland). She is a co-founder of the Upstart Arts Collective and a panelist on the Writers In Irish Prisons Scheme. Annemarie's debut poetry collection 'BLOODROOT (published by Doire Press 2017) was shortlisted for the Shine Strong Award for best first collection in Ireland in 2017. Annemarie will also host this year’s Wild Atlantic Writers session in Dicey Reilly’s pub, Ballyshannon, at 4pm on Friday November 8th as part of Allingham 2019.

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Brian Leyden is an Irish writer from Arigna, County Roscommon and currently living in County Sligo. He has published the best selling memoir The Home Place, the short story collection Departures, and the novel Death and Plenty. He won the RTÉ Radio 1 Francis MacManus Award in 1988 for The Last Mining Village. He has written extensively about his home area for RTÉ's Sunday Miscellany and the Doc on One: No Meadows in Manhattan, Even the Walls Were Sweatin’ , The Closing of the Gaiety Cinema in Carrick-on-Shannon and Practical Rooms and Pre-Fabs. He co-wrote the original screenplay for the feature film Black Ice, which premiered at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013.


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Denise Blake’s third collection, Invocation was published by Revival Press, Limerick Writers Centre. Her poem, And They All Lived Happily, was part of Poetry Ireland’s Poetry Day ‘19 promotion. She is a regular contributor to Sunday Miscellany RTE Radio 1. Denise facilitates creative writing workshops. www.deniseblake.com


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Jo Holmwood writes fiction and plays. She has published in The Stinging Fly and The Cormorant and also published a collection of stories, Under the one roof, as part of the Spark residency in Leitrim, funded by the Arts Council. In 2016, she won Highly Commended from the prestigious Bridport Prize. She has also be shortlisted for the Bristol, Fish and Ms Lexia short story awards.


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Garry Keane seeks support for Gaza Red Carpet Festival

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Director Garry Keane and the production team behind the award-winning documentary ‘Gaza’ have launched a GoFundMe campaign to save the Red Carpet Film Festival in Gaza.

“The Red Carpet Festival in Gaza is under threat and without support and backing, the organizers will not be able to stage this very important event again this year. The situation in Gaza is worsening by the day and local sponsors are just not there anymore. The festival is a shining light for the people of Gaza who try so hard to strive for normality and who desperately need any outlet to escape the pain and anguish they suffer constantly” - Garry Keane.

Gaza recently won the inaugural Pull Focus Award for best new Irish documentary at the Docs Ireland film festival, held in Belfast. Directors Keane and Andrew McConnell, and producer Brendan J Byrne, immediately handed over their £2,500 prize to the ailing film festival in the territory that provided the inspiration for their film. 


If you would like to donate a couple of euro to bring save the festival, click on the link to visit the GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/gaza-red-carpet-festival.

‘Gaza’ will be screened on Saturday November 9th at this year’s Allingham Festival, and if we’re lucky, we may even have a Q&A with members of the team. ‘Gaza’ is on release in selected cinemas around the country.

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Looking Ahead to Allingham 2019

With just over three months to go to the Allingham Festival 2019, it’s about time we revealed a little of what the Allingham Fairies have been up to in preparation for our annual arts extravaganza!

Buncrana writer Frank Mc Guinness

Buncrana writer Frank Mc Guinness

This year we pay tribute to the work of Donegal writer Frank Mc Guinness (‘The Factory Girls’, ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’) with a very special event. We’re teaming up once again with the award-winning Ballyshannon Drama Society to produce Mc Guinness’s play ‘Breadman’. Set in a North East Donegal town in 1970, the play follows the antics of a breadman as his behaviour becomes more and more unusual, and the impact his behaviour has on his family.


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Annemarie Ní Churreáin will host the Wild Atlantic Writers session this year, featuring local and national writers and poets for a informal and entertaining reading. Annemarie is a poet from North West Donegal. Her poems have been published in Ireland and abroad. Some of the major publications to feature her work include Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, The Shop and The London Magazine.


Kevin Mc Aleer, Ireland’s leading Mindfulness comedian guru!

Kevin Mc Aleer, Ireland’s leading Mindfulness comedian guru!

Ireland’s leading lama, Kevin Mc Aleer, will bring his latest show ‘Spud!’ to Ballyshannon, a hilarious meditation on Mindfulness and the importance of living in the moment. Honest! Mc Aleer, most recently spotted playing the role of ultra-boring Uncle Colm in Channel 4’s ‘Derry Girls’, has been sharing his deadpan brand of comedy with the world since the ‘80s, and we’ll be delighted to welcome him to Ballyshannon in November.



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Donegal-based film-maker Garry Keane returns to the Allingham Festival to present his award-winning documentary, ‘Gaza’, fresh from winning the Dublin Film Festival and participating in the Sundance Film Festival. Along with co-director and cinematographer Andrew Mc Connell, Keane spent over five years producing this heartfelt and beautifully shot film which focuses on the day to day lives of ordinary people living in the Gaza Strip. ‘Gaza’ will introduce the audience to the surprising and the unexpected, the unfamiliar stories that portray its true face.







Eamonn Mc Cann will deliver this year’s Allingham Lecture.

Eamonn Mc Cann will deliver this year’s Allingham Lecture.

Eamonn Mc Cann, well-known Derry politician, writer, broadcaster, human-rights and environmental activist, will deliver this year’s Allingham Lecture. Always informed, insightful and often controversial, Mc Cann’s talk promises to spark a lively and fresh discussion on various aspects of life in modern Ireland.

A perennial favourite, Tommy Graham’s History Ireland Hedge School will explore another fascinating area of local history, wth local experts contributing.

If that weren't enough, we will have the usual spectacular mix of music, kid’s workshops, arts and crafts workshops, competitions, writing workshops and much more! Stay tuned to allinghamfestival.com and our Facebook page for updates.








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'Prisoners of the Moon' - Donegal Premiere of Johnny Gogan's new film July 18th

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The Allingham Arts Festival presents the Donegal premiere of 'Prisoners of the Moon', a new documentary directed by Johnny Gogan, in the Abbey Arts Centre, July 18th, followed by a Q&A with the director.

Filmmaker Johnny Gogan’s drama/creative documentary brings to life the story of Arthur Rudolph, a scientist who played a key role in NASA’s historic 1969 moon landing.

He was one of a number of Nazi rocket scientists who assisted America as they tried to win the space race. The film examines Rudolph’s work and alleged involvement in war crimes, and screens as the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing approaches.

Johnny took part in Allingham 2018 when he presented a screening and discussion on his film 'Mapmaker'.

Abbey Arts Centre

July 18th


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A Taste of Ballyshannon - June 18th

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Fancy a taste of Ballyshannon? Join us for a cookery demonstration by Nirvana Restaurant and Shelly's Cakes & Bakes in Kilbarron House on June 18th at 7.30pm. Not only with the chefs be local, so will all of the produce. Last year's event was a great success so we expect a good crowd again this year! Admission €10. All proceeds go towards this year’s Allingham Arts Festival.

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'Gaza' Wins Best Documentary at Dublin Film Festival!

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Congratulations to directors Garry Keane and Andrew Mc Connell and their team on ‘Gaza’ winning the top prize at this year’s Dublin Film Festival! The film won the Best Documentary prize, selected by the Dublin Film Critics’ Circle, and earlier in the day was awarded second prize in the ICCL Humarn Rights Film Award, which recognises the role of film in raising awareness of human rights.

This is fantastic news for Garry and all of the production team who spent years working on this film, and often placing themselves in dangerous situations to tell this story.

Garry has been involved in the Allingham Festival for many years, having presented a screening of his ‘Toughest Place…’ documentary a few years ago, and also donating the Jim Keane Award for fiction in honour of his father, one of the founders of the original festival. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we all get to see the film in Ballyshannon!!

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