William Allingham Archive

William Allingham was born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal on March 19th 1824. His father was a successful merchant and later a banker in the town. He grew up in Ballyshannon and worked in the bank there and various other towns in Northern Ireland before joining the Customs Service. He finally settled in England, remaining a Civil Servant for twenty five years. He continued to be torn between his love of Ireland and the discomfort he felt there. He was more comfortable in England where he could indulge his cultural interests without being thought odd. He married Helen Paterson, a watercolour artist in 1874, she was almost half his age. His literary career was fairly typical of a lot of Victorian poets. Over a period of 40 years he published in excess of 20 volumes of poetry, criticism, ballads and plays. Tennyson was his idol and he tried to emulate his style in his writings. He was also heavily influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite style of the Rossetti Circle and corresponded with Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Despite his publishing output he is best known for two poems - "The Fairies" and "Four ducks on a pond". His books are in demand primarily for their illustrations and associations with contemporary literary figures. He was part of the Rossetti Circle and intimate with noted figures of the Victorian literary milieu. Yeats described him as his "master in Irish verse". Allingham died on November 18th 1889


Original handwritten manuscript. 

Physical characteristics

One original manuscript. 

Description or Catalogue

Itemised hand-list with manual indexing. 

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Added by Libraries NI | Last updated on: 24 May 2018