The success of the Earagail Arts Festival was once again clear this year as visitors from around the world congregated at the many events throughout the county between the 7th and 22nd of July. The latest choice for ‘My Donegal’ is a man who along with a hard-working team is responsible for that success; Earagail Arts Festival Artistic Director Paul Brown.
By Caoimhe Ní Chathail
What is our favourite place in Donegal and why?
There are so many of them, it’s a hard one. Horn Head is probably it. It’s just so dramatic out there in terms of the scenery and the fact that you’re right out on the Atlantic. It’s that combination of the remoteness of it but also the mixture of sea-cliffs, the sea and if you get a real clear day out there it’s a magical place to be.
If you could change one thing about Donegal what would it be?
The public transport infrastructure, in terms of actually getting people to Donegal. I think Donegal has been left out a lot over the years in terms of transport. But then again maybe we don’t want the county over-run with tourists either but I think definitely it’s something that I would change.
Who is the one person in Donegal that you look up to and why?
I would say my partner Sally Murphy because she’s so patient and she’s a great support and she’s the mother of my children.
Daniel O’ Donnell or Packie Bonner?
Daniel O’ Donnell, you have to admire the man. I was in Adelaide earlier this year at the Adelaide festival which is this huge venue and all the posters were up on the walls for all the forthcoming concerts by international artists like Riverdance and huge names in music and performance and the only poster on the wall that had a ‘sold out’ sticker on it was Daniel’s. You have to admire him.
What has been Donegal’s proudest moment in recent years?
I think the Relay for Life that took place earlier this year. It was just amazing to see so many people come out and support it. It gave you a real sense of the generosity and spirit that there is in Donegal but also it was a really poignant moment to acknowledge how many people are affected by cancer as well. It was definitely just a really good moment in terms of community coming together.
What has been Donegal’s saddest moment?
The terrible tragedy that happened on the roads there two years ago up in Inishowen with young people losing their lives. It highlights a real issue in rural areas, particularly where a car is seen as a symbol of liberation and that’s a difficulty. Obviously select people lose their lives and I think it’s one of the worst problems in Donegal.
What is your favourite Donegal-made product?
There’s a craft brewer in Rathmullen, Kinnegar Brewery, and he makes some amazing beers. It’s great to see somebody making products locally as well.
Who is Donegal’s greatest ambassador around the world and why?
I think probably somebody like Moya Brennan from Clannad. I think any of our ambassadors, whether it’s sport personalities or musicians, particularly our musicians are really good ambassadors because their music is so well known internationally. Moya is a great supporter of her home county and I think that’s why she would be one of the best ones.
Who is Donegal’s most successful business person in your opinion?
I suppose Sir Gerry Robinson would be the obvious one just because of all the positions he has had over the years.
Who is your favourite Donegal sportsperson of all time?
It would probably have to be Packie Bonner.
What is your favourite Donegal restaurant?
Firebox in Fawn.
Donegal’s golden eagles or basking sharks?
Your nomination for Donegal’s most stylish person.
Again I would have to go with my partner for that one!
What is your favourite Donegal saying or expression?
“What’s the craics?”
Will Donegal win the All-Ireland this year?
I do hope so!
What is your favourite Donegal food?
Any of the seafood.
If you had a million euro to spend on improving something in Donegal what would it be?
An increased budget for the Earagail Arts Festival every year!