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Donegal Lights up New York

Deirdre’s Diary

Deirdre McGlone - Rosina Gillespie

It’s 5am Monday 20th June and I am sitting in Dublin airport waiting on the 8 o’ clock bus home to my beloved hills of Donegal. Having spent five days in the Big Apple, I am looking forward to getting back to base and catching up with home and hotel life.

There is certainly a buzz in New York. The sounds and smells, the frantic traffic, the sheer volume of people from all over the world – this is what makes it such an ‘awesome’ place. I know now why they say it’s the city that never sleeps. I feel as though I haven’t slept in a week!

‘Donegal Gathering’ in New York

The purpose of this visit was to showcase all that is good and great about Destination Donegal. In my capacity as Donegal Person of the Year, I had the pleasure of hosting a ‘Donegal Gathering’ which was essentially an event to bring the Donegal Diaspora together for a social evening in celebration of our shared love of our home county. The message was to encourage our Donegal brothers and sisters to come home for holidays and to spread the word in New York that Donegal is the perfect place for a vacation.  There has never been a better time to visit. The Wild Atlantic Way is an incredible marketing hook. Access is much improved. The product is great. And of course the people – Irish hospitality at it’s finest. Donegal indeed has it all!

I was accompanied by my good friend and ‘Donegal Ambassador Supreme’, Peggy Stringer, member of the Donegal Association Dublin. We had such fun together and there was no doubt that we found every opportunity to promote Donegal during our whirlwind visit. The ‘Donegal Gathering’ was even featured in the bright lights of Times Square. That’s a first for sure!

Mc Gettigan’s Bar of New York

Big thanks to Mc Gettigan’s Bar of New York for all their support in organising the event, especially to Jim, Martin, Alan and all the Team. Thanks also to the Donegal Association New York – Katie Barret, President and Rosina Gillespie, Donegal Person of the Year NY, Tourism Ireland, Failte Ireland and Donegal Tourism.  Pauric from Ocean FM and Madeline from the Irish Echo were present on the night and fair play to Matt Britton back home waiting on the pics for the Donegal Democrat. Thanks also to Shaun Doherty from Highland Radio who invited me onto his show to talk about the ‘Donegal Gathering. Donegal Airport, Ostan Loch Altan, Hanna Hats and Harvey’s Point sponsored prizes for the event.

Donegal Diaspora

The ‘Donegal Gathering’ was a super success. Well over 120 people attended and it was amazing to hear everyone’s stories. Some people had made a new life in New York twenty or thirty years ago and come home regularly to visit family and friends. Some can only dream of coming home as they are part of the undocumented population in the US. Quite a few young people had only recently arrived with high hopes of achieving their goals in the Big Apple. There were many glazed eyes when the video presentations of Donegal were displayed and when the band played ‘The Homes of Donegal’. The spirit of camaraderie, community and friendship was wonderful.  The Donegal Diaspora share and value their connection to their home county and they play an important role in supporting economic recovery in Donegal. To each and every one of them, we extend our thanks and warmest wishes.


June 2016

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