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South Of The Border
Fri 15th February - Sun 17th February 2019

Remembering the songs of Jimmy Kennedy & stories of Packie Manus Byrne


2018 saw the launch of the “South of the Border” Festival. The Festival incorporates the songs of Jimmy Kennedy and the stories of Packie Manus Byrne, and includes a song contest for songwriters (see below).

Jimmy Kennedy’s mother Anna Baskin was an Ardara lady. Born and bred here, she married the local constable Joseph Kennedy in the church of Ireland in 1901. Subsequently, her husband was transferred to Omagh, where Jimmy Kennedy was born in 1902.

Jimmy was a world famous music composer and one of the most successful songwriters of all time. He had more hits in the USA than anyone until Lennon and McCartney. His hits included ‘South of the Border‘, ‘Red Sail in the Sunset‘, ‘Isle of Capri‘, ‘The Prayer‘ and ‘The Hokey Pokey’.

We will also celebrate the great poet, storyteller and general character Packie Manus Byrne. He would be celebrating his 102nd birthday on the 18th but sadly he passed away a few years ago and as a community we want to keep his memory alive.

All storytellers and reciters are welcome to join with the famous guests attending to honor the birthday of Packie Manus Byrne on this special “South of the Border” weekend.

A television company working for the BBC is doing a film on Jimmy Kennedy and will be in Ardara to record the weekend’s event to be televised later in the year.


A Wonderful Contest for Songwriters – 1st Prize €1000

The prize for the winner is €1000 and the Jimmy Kennedy Song Contest Scroll.

Entries are now closed for the contest. Good luck to everyone who entered!

The Final takes place on Sunday 17th February (see Programme below)



2019 Programme


Fri 15th February 2019


Evening of Sessions & Stories.

Friday night Ardara welcomes a host of great story tellers at 9pm in the Corner House

Special Guests: Declan Forde, Patsy O Hagan, Noel Slevin, Charley Boyle & Frank Galligan.

Followed by a great session of Traditional Music in the Beehive



Sat 16th February 2019


Bri Carr Storytelling

Nesbitt Arms Hotel at 3.00pm

Bri Carr will host an afternoon for young people interested in the art of Recitation and Storytelling at 3pm in the Nesbitt Arms Hotel.

Well worth a visit – Admission free


Jimmy Kennedy Concert

Alexander's Ragtime BandNesbitt Arms Hotel at 8.00pm

This year we look at the Jimmy Kennedy era and the popularity of “Tin Pan Alley” and enjoy the classics like “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” which will be delivered superbly by Neilly & Paul and Company.

MC for the evening will be Frank Galligan who will introduce this wonderful period of music.


Packie Manus Byrne Evening

The Beehive Bar at 10.00pm

Celebrate the life of Packie Manus and hear many of the songs, stories and recitations made famous by Packie and others as we celebrate the 102nd birthday of the famous man.

A great selection of musicians and storytellers will be in the Beehive for this special occasion.



Sun 17th February 2019


€1000 Song Contest

The Song Contest

Nesbitt Arms Hotel at 3.00pm

Frank Galligan will introduce the songs that qualified to reach the final of this year’s contest and the judges make their final decision.

This year’s entries have been superb and this promises to be a great contest with amazing talent!

The winner will receive 1st prize of €1000 and the Jimmy Kennedy Scroll.



For more details contact Stephen on 087 2424590




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