One of Ireland’s leading travel writers has said all the elements are coming together to make 2017 a bumper year for tourism in Donegal.
Travel Editor of the Irish Independent newspaper and independent.ie online, Pól Ó Conghaile, was speaking after a reader’s poll named Donegal as Ireland’s hidden gem in places to visit.
The accolade comes just a couple of weeks after National Geographic named our county as the coolest place on the planet to visit in 2017.
Mr Ó Conghaile, who has been named Irish Travel Writer of the Year on five occasions, says it is all “coming together” for Donegal.
In this specially-commissioned piece for Donegal Daily, Pól outlines the reasons why this looks like being a great year for Donegal tourism.
“From the judges’ perspective, we felt that Donegal’s time is coming. The next Star Wars movie, and the recent nod by National Geographic Traveller, are just the beginning. Readers know Kerry and Cork, but there’s a real sense that they are ready to take things to the northwest in 2017.’
‘Donegal is in a sweet spot. It’s not exactly an unknown quantity, but it still lacks motorway or rail access, which makes it a slightly more intrepid trip for visitors. Lot’s of people say ‘Oh, we’ll do that one day.’ We felt 2017 could be that ‘one day’.
“It’s a county where you can still find complete wilderness – and we think there is a real appeal in that as tourism starts to grow and travellers widen their horizons again.’
‘It’s not just landscape, of course. I’ve travelled to Donegal many times over the years, and have loved seeing the evolution of a foodie ethic, the way communities like those on Inishowen, in Dunfanaghy or on the Slieve League peninsula have come together to promote their destinations, and of course, the amazing visuals being shared by people like Bren Whelan, Iain Miller and Rónán McLoughin on social media.
“It’s all coming together to give Donegal the pixie dust every emerging destination needs… momentum.’
If you would like to read what the judges of the Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards 2017 had to say about Donegal, log onto http://independent.ie/travelawards