Meet the Judges - Deadline for Fiction/Poetry Fri. Sept. 21st!

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Don’t miss your opportunity to enter this year’s Allingham Festival Poetry and Flash Fiction competitions! The deadline is this Friday, September 21st, at midnight.

This year’s judges of the poetry competition are Jessica Traynor and Theo Dorgan, with Una Mannion and Paul Mc Veigh judging the Flash Fiction competition.

Jessica Traynor is well known to Allingham Festival-goers as she delivered the very memorable Allingham Lecture a few years ago, drawing links between Yeats and Allingham. A prize-winning poet, Jessica runs workshops in the Irish Writer’s Centre, has worked as Literary Manager for the Abbey Theatre, and contributes regularly to RTÉ radio. Jessica will host the Wild Atlantic Writers session on Friday at the Allingham Festival.

Theo Dorgan is no stranger to the Allingham Festival either, having delivered an fascinating lecture on art and poetry in the Abbey Arts Centre several years ago. Well-known as a writer, poet, lecturer and broadcaster, Theo’s work has earned him many awards over the years. Theo is also a member of Aosdána.

Una Mannion teaches the BA in Performing Arts and is the Chair of the new BA in Writing and Literature Degree at Sligo IT.  She has won several awards for her work, including prizes from the Allingham Festival and the 017 Hennessy New Irish Writing Prize for the poem ‘Crouched Burial’. Una will run writing workshops for Leaving Cert students at this year’s festival.

Paul Mc Veigh’s first novel The Good Son won The Polari Prize and The McCrea Literary Award, and was shortlisted for several other awards. He has taught creative writing and judged many international literary competitions. Paul co-founded the London Short Story Festival, of which, he was Director and Curator for 2014 & ’15. He is associate director at Word Factory, the UK’s national organisation for excellence in the short story. Paul will also host a workshop for writers on Saturday morning at the Allingham Festival.


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Marc Mc Menamin to launch latest book at Allingham 2018


Marc Mc Menamin to launch latest book at Allingham 2018

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Marc Mc Menamin, well-known local writer, broadcaster and historian, will launch his new book “Code Breaker: The untold story of Richard Hayes, the Dublin librarian who helped turn the tide of WWII” at this year’s Allingham Arts Festival. The book will be published by Gill Books on October 12th, and will be available to buy in A Novel Idea and all good bookshops.

The incredible true story of the librarian, the Nazi spy and Ireland’s secret role in turning the tide of World War II.

When unassuming librarian Richard Hayes, a gifted polymath and cryptographer, was drafted by Irish intelligence services to track the movements of a prolific Nazi spy, Hermann Görtz, Dublin became the unlikely venue for one of the most thrilling episodes in Irish history.

In a complex game of cat-and-mouse that would wind its way through the city and its suburbs, Code Breaker reveals how Richard Hayes cracked a code that helped turn the tide of World War II, and uncovers a secret history of the capital that has remained hidden in plain view for the past 70 years.

Marc McMenamin is a journalist and documentary maker. A specialist in exploring uncharted corners of Irish history, he is the maker of several acclaimed radio documentaries, including Good Cop/Bad Cop, exploring the life of controversial former NYPD officer Peter Daly, and Richard Hayes, Nazi Codebreaker.


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Allingham Competitions For Schools Now Open

The Allingham Festival Competitions for Schools are now open! As always, young artists can enter the Primary School Art Competition, while writers and poets can submit their work in the primary and secondary schools Poetry and Fiction Competitions. All entries must be submitted by October 12th along with application forms which can be downloaded from the competitions page on our website:

Winners and runners-up will be invited to attend a special Awards Ceremony in the Abbey Arts Centre on Saturday November 10th 2018. The winners will each receive a commemorative trophy. Results of each competition will be posted on our website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Francis Harvey play to be produced for Allingham Arts Festival 2018

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A rehearsed reading of Francis Harvey's play 'Farewell to Every White Cascade' will take place in the Abbey Arts Centre, Ballyshannon, on November 7th as the opening event of the Allingham Arts Festival. The reading will be recorded live on the night in the presence of an audience, complete with sound effects. The prize-winning play was written for radio, and was broadcast on RTÉ in the late 60s, as well as the BBC and many other radio stations around the world thereafter.

'Farewell to Every White Cascade' tells the story of how the building of the hydro electric station in Ballyshannon affected the lives of the members of one family. A very evocative piece of writing by a skilled writer, the play shows the conflicting emotions faced by people as the young Irish state struggled to find its feet in the 20th Century.

The players are Conor Carney, Ben Daly, Audrey Davitt and Terence McEneaney.  The producer is Carl Duggan.

The production is part of the Allingham Festival's celebration of Harvey's life and work, which includes a panel event on the following Friday night.

Tickets will go on sale in early October and early booking is advised.


Not to be missed!


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Allingham Songwriting Contest - €1000 Top Prize

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Calling all songwriters and musicians! The Allingham Songwriting Contest is open, with a grand prize of €1000 for the winner. 

We've had some brilliant entries over the last few years, and the Live Final is always a highlight of the Allingham Festival weekend. The finalists perform in front of a panel of judges and a live audience in Dicey Reilly's Bar in Ballyshannon.

Don't miss out on your chance to enter. Please share with all your musically-inclined contacts!

To view more information on the competition, visit, or head straight to to upload your songs now. 


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Allingham Flash Fiction & Poetry Competitons Now Open!


Allingham Flash Fiction & Poetry Competitons Now Open!

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The Allingham Festival 2018 Flash Fiction and Poetry Competitions are now open! We have received some fantastic entries over the years, and we anticipate the same again this year. You can read some of the more recent winning entries on our website

Our competitions are designed to recognise and reward talented writers who, following in the footsteps of William Allingham, seek to launch or further their careers. The Allingham Festival includes competitions for adult writers of poetry and flash fiction, and also for children. The festival offers readings and workshops led by nationally-recognised literary figures where aspiring authors can meet, share ideas, and discuss the emerging trends in the world of writing and publishing.

This year are judges are Paul McVeigh (Flash Fiction) and Monica Corish. Poet Theo Dorgan will judge the Poetry competition.

Submission deadline: 21 September 2018. Postal entries must also be received by 21 September.

The top prize in both Flash Fiction and Poetry is €300. Winners are invited to read their winning entries at a special awards ceremony at the Literary Lunch on Saturday, November 10th.

Writers with a lyric flair should also take note of the Allingham Songwriting Competition. In addition to his skills as a writer and editor, William Allingham was also a fine fiddler.

For Allingham competitions for Children's Art and Writing, the rules and entry forms are listed separately on the Allingham website.

To upload your entry, use our online entry form here:

Terms and Conditions for Allingham Poetry and Flash Fiction Competitions for adults:

·       All entries must be the original work of the entrant. Entrants must be 18 years old or older on or before 8 November 2018.

·       Entries must not have been published elsewhere (online, digital, or in print) before 8 November 2018.

·       Winners of 2016 or 2017 Allingham Poetry or Flash Fiction competitions are not eligible to re-enter in 2018.

·       All entries must be written in English.

·       Entries must be typed. Handwritten entries will not be considered.

·       Entries can be submitted by email or by post. The deadline for receipt of postal and e-mail entries is Friday, September 21, 2018.

·       Each entrant may submit up to 5 poems, maximum 40 lines per poem.

·       Each entrant may submit up to 5 flash fiction pieces, maximum 800 words each.

·       Judges’ decisions are final. No correspondence will be entered into regarding the shortlist or the winners. Entries will not be returned.


·       Submit online entries as doc, docx, or pdf files. Each entry – each poem or flash fiction piece – must be submitted in a separate file. Postal entries must be typed or printed on A4 pages.

·       Flash Fiction pieces must be submitted in 12 point Arial or Times New Roman font, with 2 cm margins on A4 page(s). Use 1.5 or double-spacing. Include title of entry and page number(s) on all pages. 800 words maximum.

·       Poetry formatting, including spacing, is at the discretion of the author. Include title of entry and page number(s) on all pages. 40 lines maximum.

·       Each entry must include an application form. For online entries, the entry form serves as an application form. For postal entries, print an application form and include it with your entry.

·       Include the title of your story or poem and its page number(s) on all pages, but not your name or any other personal details. Personal information must appear only on the application form.


·       The entry fee is €5 for 1 entry, €8 for 2, €12 for 3, €15 for 4, €17 for 5.

·       Poetry and flash fiction competitions are separate, and entries to the two competitions must be made separately. Example: if you wish to submit one piece of flash fiction and three poems, fill out an entry form for the flash fiction and submit the entry along with the fee. Fill out a separate entry form for the three poems and send the form and the three poems along with the fee.

·       Poems and flash fiction pieces must be submitted in separate emails or in separate envelopes.

Postal Entries

Post entries, cover letter and postal order or cheque to:

Allingham Poetry Competition


Allingham Flash Fiction Competition,

A Novel Idea,

Castle Street,


Co Donegal.


In your cover note list:

– The number of entries submitted

– The title of each entry

– Your name

– Postal address

– Email address

– Contact phone number

Cheques should be made payable to “Allingham Festival”.



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Jessica Traynor returns to the Allingham Arts Festival


One of the first literary guests we can confirm is the wonderful Jessica Traynor, returning to the Allingham Festival three years after she gave a very memorable Allingham Lecture on the connections between Yeats and Allingham. Jessica makes regular appearances on the RTÉ Poetry Programme and other shows, and gives readings and hosts workshops around the county.

Jessica's first collection of poetry, Liffey Swim, was published by Dedalus Press in 2014.  In 2015, she was commissioned by the Irish Writers Centre and Ireland 2016 to write a poem as part of the Easter Rising Commemorations. The 2014 recipient of the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary, she was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize, named Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year in 2013 and won the 2011 Listowel Poetry Prize.


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Donegal Youth Orchestra to headline the Allingham Concert


We are very excited to announce that the Donegal Youth Orchestra will perform at the Allingham Concert on Saturday November 10th, with renowned conductor Vincent Kennedy. The DYO consists of over 60 musicians from all around the county, including two from Ballyshannon.

The orchestra has been very busy this year, topping the bill at the Festival of Youth Orchestra in the National Concert Hall in February, a performance on Arranmore Island earlier in the year, and celebrating ten years with conductor Vincent Kennedy at a special performance in Letterkenny. The Donegal Youth Orchestra is one of the 11 performing groups of the Donegal Music Education Partnership, which is part of the Donegal Education and Training Board and is supported by the Department of Education and Skills.

The Allingham Concert has become one of the musical highlights of the year in Ballyshannon, and this year promises to be no different! 


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