Hampshire girl wins Allingham Ballad Competition

Vicky Kimm, from Lymington in Hampshire, has scooped the coveted Allingham Best Ballad prize for 2011. Vicky, who has never been to Ireland, entered the competition because of her interest in the famous poet and Ballyshannon native, William Allingham.

Vicky Kimm, from Lymington in Hampshire, has scooped the coveted Allingham Best Ballad prize for 2011. Vicky, who has never been to Ireland, entered the competition because of her interest in the famous poet and Ballyshannon native, William Allingham.

She says she discovered Allingham because of her interest in Lord Alfred Tennyson, arguably the most famous poet in the English language of the nineteenth century.

A poet herself, Vicky was studying the great man’s life when she came upon the diary and works of William Allingham. From Allingham, she writes, she

began to discover the real Tennyson. As time went on, though, her interest turned more and more to Allingham.

The area she lives in on the South Coast of England is next to the isle of Wight. It’s the area where William and Helen Allingham settled and where he wrote much of his poetry. Vicky regularly walks the same woods that the Ballyshannon poet walked and takes her inspiration from the trees and flowers which are a feature of the landscape.

Her other interest is song writing. She was fascinated to discover that there was an Allingham Festival in Ballyshannon and, from the website, www. Allinghamartsfestival.com, she entered the ballad competition.

Her music echoes the beautiful pastel shades of the south of England. Her love songs are passionate and tender and always heartfelt. The hurt of ‘Left- Handed Girl’, the sensuousness of ‘Born in Time’, the tenderness of ‘Inherited Blue Eyes’ show Vicky to be a consummate musician and a worthy winner of the Best Ballad 2011.

Vicky will fly into Carrickfinn airport on Saturday and hopes to be on the banks of the Erne to receive her prize at the Miscellany concert at the Abbey Centre on Saturday night.

Vicky will join a host of stars afterwards in Dicey Reilly’s for an old fashioned ‘come all ye’ and has promised to play some of her tunes.

She will also join the members of Ballytour - John Meehan and the two Eddies - for a feast of music song and story on Sunday morning in the Thatch. The Allingham Association is thrilled to be able to have the Lord Mayor of the town playing as only John can. Ballytour have been a feature of the town’s entertainment for years. Their original, street theatre style molded by the talented Maura Logue, will regale the early morning crowd with their take on Allingham.

Eddie Mc Farlane and Eddie Lynch will give the Sunday Morning a real fizz when they unfold their jazz sound in the perfect pub setting. Eddie Mc Farlane featured many times in the Allingham gig in the past and we’re delighted to have him back again with his old friend Eddie Lynch from Bundoran.

Traditionally the Sunday morning get together was the scene for the recitation of all kinds of verse and many of the local writers will make their way there to air their rhyming couplets. One voice will be absent. PJ Drummond from the Rock who died recently will not be present. PJ is well remembered for his word perfect rendition of the Winding Banks Of Erne on manys the Allingham Sunday morning in Sweeny’s bar.

He never missed a word of the twelve verses and was one of the standard attractions of that Sunday morning. PJ’s family will be on hand this Sunday to remember him and present a memorial cup to the Allingham festival for a competition best recitation at future festivals. PJ’s own poem telling the story of a drop of rain will be recited at that morning session. PJ may have died but his memory will not

The Keane family, also from the Rock, will also remember their father Jim with the presentation of a memorial cup for the best short story. This cup will be presented on Saturday night to the winner of the best short story just before the Miscellany concert. Garry Keane will present his film based on the poet Dermot Healy on Sunday at 4pm.

Patricia, Jim’s daughter and winner of the best actress award 2010 for her part in Steel Magnolias, will read from her father’s work at the miscellany on Saturday night.

Parents of aspiring writers or children interested in writing take note. Workshops will be held in the Tir Hugh Centre on the Mall on Saturday for a limited number of children. Celine McGlynn and Denise Blake will host these workshops. To have the opportunity to work with these renowned writers is a real opportunity for any child with aspirations of succeeding in education in general and in the art of writing in particular. Check out the website www.allinghamarts festival.com for further information.