Magnificent mix of events for 2019 Allingham Festival in Ballyshannon

Magnificent mix of events for 2019 Allingham Festival in Ballyshannon

The festival opens on Wednesday, November 6 with a performance of the Frank McGuinness play ‘ The Bread Man.’

Visitors to this year’s Allingham Festival can look forward to a packed programme that includes live entertainment, exhibitions, film screenings and workshops.


The festival opens on Wednesday, November 6 with a performance of the Frank McGuinness play ‘ The Bread Man.’ Set in north Donegal in 1970, it tells the story of Sinner Courtney as he struggles with family relationships.


Cathal Gallagher will give a talk on mental health and well-being in Kilbarron House.

There will be an art exhibition by former Children’s Laureate, illustrator PJ Lynch in the Abbey Arts Centre.

Evening events kick off with a wine reception and festival welcome in the Abbey Arts Centre followed by the Allingham Lecture ‘Power And The People’ by Eamonn McCann.

McIntyre’s Saloon will host an open mic evening of music, poetry, song and craic.


PJ Lynch’s art exhibition continues in the Abbey Arts Centre foyer. The renowned illustrator will also hold a workshop for primary school children in Coláiste Cholmcille, and will talk about his life as a working artist in the Abbey Arts Centre.

Olive Travers and gardener Brendan Little will give a talk on the garden paintings of Helen Allingham.

Annemarie Ní Churreáin will host an intimate session of poetry readings by writers including Denise Blake, Chris Sparks and Charlie Gracie in Dicey Reilly’s.

Friday evening will be a tribute to Frank McGuinnes starting with a wine reception in the Abbey Arts Centre, followed by a staging of The Bread Man.

Up and coming band Hatchlings play in Dicey Reilly’s.


Highlights include a screening of award-winning documentary ‘Gaza’ by Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell, and Kevin McAleer’s comedy show in the Abbey Arts Centre. 

Indeed, the Abbey Arts Centre will be a hive of activity. There will be an arts and crafts fair with handcrafted art, prints, wood engravings and hats for sale. Mary Kelly-Reid’s Wardrobe Makeover is on in the morning.

The Stephen’s Family Archive is an exhibition of old books and newspapers. The Jim Maguire photo exhibition of Ballyshannon through the years will run throughout the day. 

The schools art and writing awards will be presented by Conor Carney.

Over lunchtime, there will be a talk on ‘Powering The Nation,’ the construction of the Erne hydroelectric scheme.

A Novel Idea will host a book fair. And there will also be a launch of the book Outlanders by Seán Ó'Tuathaigh.

Sure to be a popular event, Frank McGuinness will be in conversation with Seán Rocks.

History Ireland Hedge School promises an enjoyable evening of art and culture.

Elsewhere in Ballyshannon, there will be a fun craft workshop for all the family in Local Hands. 

Brickz 4 Kidz Lego is in Coláiste Cholcmille, as is Sketching With Words, a creative writing workshop with Olive Travers, and there will be  a children’s art workshop with Christine Fox.

The Literary Lunch in Nirvana Restaurant will see poetry and flash fiction winners presented with their prizes. Keith Corcoran will launch his book ‘Mysteries and Legends of Donegal.’


The final day of the festival opens with music and poetry in The Thatch, including a recitation competition for the PJ Drummond Cup. This will be followed by Rhythms and Rhymes in the same venue, with Monica Corish and Gráinne McMenamin.

Disney’s Robin Hood will be screened in the Abbey Arts Centre, as will the 15A film ‘Extra Ordinary,’ described as a hilarious Irish horror/ rom-com.

The festival closes with a concert in St Anne’s Church on Sunday evening.

See for more information.

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