She has been a familiar face on our TV screens bringing us all the happiness, tragedy and triumphs which has taken place across Donegal in recent years. Although based in Sligo, RTE reporter Eileen Magnier spends much of her working time reporting from Donegal. This is her ‘My Donegal.’
What is your favourite place in Donegal and why?
I have loads of favourite places in Donegal but the problem is that I’m always up against a deadline and don’t get to spend as much time as I would like in any one spot. Whenever I retire I think I’ll do a tour around the county and just stop off wherever I feel like and for as long as I feel like. When Prince Charles came to Donegal the security involved meant that accredited media had to choose one spot to be in to report from – I chose Glenveagh National Park and Castle because I thought it was the most beautiful place on his itinerary. We had to be in there early so we had a lovely time with a nice picnic by the lake waiting for the Royals to arrive and we did a couple of live inserts showing off the beauty of the park and castle in typical lovely Donegal sunshine – it’s definitely on the route for my retirement trip!
If you could change one thing about Donegal what would it be?
The attitude of some young drivers – I’ve covered so many road tragedies in Donegal, it just breaks my heart.
Seamus Coleman or Michael Murphy?
I met Seamus for the first time recently when he was given the Freedom of Donegal, what a great guy, he was so good with the young fans – but how could you chose between him and Michael, they are both a credit to the county.
Who is the one person in Donegal who you look up to and why?
It’s not fair to keep asking me to choose one! There are so many great people in Donegal but I’ll just name two – Margaret Rose Cunningham and Liam Ó’Cuinneagáin in Glencolmcille – I really admire the great work they do to preserve the language and heritage of Donegal and at the same time generate employment and income in the community in the true spirit of Fr McDyer.
What’s your happiest memory in Donegal?
There you go asking me to choose again – it’s not fair! The night Packie Bonner saved the penalty against Romania in 1990 and the night the Donegal team brought the Sam Maguire home in 1992.
Your nomination for Donegal’s most stylish person?
Oh dear, lots of stylish people in Donegal including yourself Stephen, but I think I’ll go for Mary Coughlan – we used to have a good laugh when she was in politics and we had a couple of near fashion clashes because we shopped in the same place – she has the height to carry off some outfits better than me though!
Favourite journey in Donegal?
Helicopter trip out to Tory Island from Sligo – it’s just fabulous to see the beautiful scenery of Donegal from the air.
Football Special or Kinnegar Beer?
I’m ashamed to confess that I’ve tasted neither and now I hear there’s Football Special ice cream – so I’ll have to try all three very soon!
What has been Donegal’s proudest moment in recent years?
Finally getting the recognition it has long deserved as the county you have to visit, thanks to initiatives like the Wild Atlantic Way and the filming of Star Wars.
What is your favourite Donegal-made product?
You didn’t specify what kind of product so I’m going to go for one that makes you feel good inside and one that makes you feel good on the outside! I love Fisherman Out of Ireland cardigans and wool jackets and you can’t beat McGettigan’s award-winning sausages in Donegal Town and I’m really sorry that they are closing down.
Who is Donegal’s greatest ambassador around the world and why?
Has to be Daniel O’Donnell – he’s such a genuine person with a great love of his county which he promotes wherever he travels around the world.
Who is your favourite Donegal sportsperson of all time?
Packie Bonner – I’ll never forget the whole Italia 90 experience, it was great fun working in those days and Packie has been a legend for me ever since.
What is your favourite Donegal restaurant?
Far too often it’s “Dashboard Dining” for me – grabbing a sandwich and a coffee on the run but if I’ve time to sit down for lunch I love The Blueberry in Donegal town, especially their soup.
What is your favourite Donegal saying or expression?
Love when people chat about the “wains” and the way everything is “wee”.
What is the biggest challenge facing the people of Donegal today?
What is your favourite food that you associate with Donegal?
Chowder, it’s the old reliable on a busy day – Kealy’s in Greencastle, The Highlands in Glenties to name but a couple, but I will have to get to Ballyliffen to try the new World Champion Chowder at Nancy’s Barn.
Is there anything that really annoys you about Donegal or its people?
Has to be the number of road tragedies again – it saddens me but also annoys me that despite the good work of the Gardai, the County Council and schools, Donegal families are still suffering dreadful and needless loss of life.
If you had a million euro to improve something in Donegal, what would it be?
I’d give it to the Donegal Road Safety Working Group for a big campaign.
Where’s the most unusual place you’ve logged on to Donegal Daily?
Las Vegas airport.
Is there anything about Donegal that you are very proud of?
The fact that Donegal people give such a warm welcome to cheeky Dubs like Stephen Maguire and Kilkenny Cats like myself – where else would someone see you filming out on a cold day and bring you out tea or give you buns to eat on the journey home! It’s a special place!Tags: