Daragh McCauley is a well-known coffee expert and artisan food champion from Lifford. Many know him as the owner and manager of the iconic 9ine Hostages Coffee Co. at Manor Picnic Area.
Daragh grew up in Cavan and went to university in the UK. He worked in the Civil Service for 15 years in Dublin and Galway before returning home to Donegal in 2014 for a change of pace.
“Donegal was always home for me growing up and we returned often and spent much of the summer months here,” Daragh says.
Now, Daragh parks his coffee van at one of the most scenic places overlooking Lough Swilly, where he serves coffees, sweet bakes and Scarpello & Co sourdough toasties.
You can sample the 9ine Hostages menu and more at a charity event this Saturday January 27th. The For The Love Of Street Food! event at Manor Picnic Area will see The Happy Camper, 9ine Hostages Coffee Co. and The Spicy Bird setting up for a day of food and fundraising in aid of the North West Simon Community. Call down from 10am to 4pm to enjoy the event and donate to the cause.
Here is Daragh’s My Donegal…
Where is your favourite place in Donegal and why?
My favourite place in Donegal would have to be Glenveagh. It’s just a magical place.
Who is the one person in Donegal that you look up to and why?
The person I look up to would be both my parents. They made me who I am and still give me great advice and help when I need it.
What do you think is Donegal’s best tourist attraction?
Its hard to pick one great tourist attraction in Donegal because there are so many. The Wild Atlantic Way is at its best in Donegal. I think Donegal is its star. The people of Donegal are its biggest attraction.
Do you prefer Donegal summers or Donegal winters?
I think I prefer Donegal summers marginally as it’s hard to run a mobile coffee business in the winter. But there is something to be said for seeing Wild Atlantic Donegal when it’s actually wild. It’s breathtaking and fierce at times.
What is your favourite Donegal-made product?
My favourite Donegal made product is Football Special ice-cream at Rockets ice-cream shop in Letterkenny.
What is your favourite Donegal restaurant?
My favourite Donegal restaurant is the Lemon Tree in Letterkenny. Always perfect. For coffee apart from 9ine Hostages Coffee Co (haha) it has to be the Counter Deli.
What is your favourite Donegal saying or expression?
My favourite Donegal expression is ” hold your whist” – a favourite of my Grandfather’s.
What is the biggest challenge facing the people of Donegal today?
I think the challenges that face the people of Donegal are the same as those of ten, twenty and fifty years ago. We just need to keep doing our own thing in our own way and look out for ourselves like we always have.
Daniel O’Donnell or Packie Bonner?
Daniel or Packie? Sorry Daniel you are pure gold and pure Donegal but my heroes are all sports stars and chefs. I’ll never forget Packie at Italia ’90.
Is there anything about Donegal that you are very proud of?
The thing about Donegal that I am most proud of is that no matter where you go in Ireland or further afield, no one ever has a bad word to say about it or its people.