Siobhán Grant runs Grant Connections, a Business Advisory and Training Company. A native of Buncrana she lives with her son Andrew in Letterkenny. Apart from business, her interests include sport, music, politics and most of all, people!
My Donegal… with Siobhan Grant
(1) Where is your favourite place in Donegal and why?
The beaches are my favourite places. Fahan, Rathmullan, Portsalon, Ards and Moville all hold a special place in my heart! Childhood memories of learning to swim in Fahan with my Mum will never be forgotten. These days I love listening to the music of the waves and often enjoy a chatty beach walk with a friend.
(2 ) How do you like to spend Christmas in the county?
I generally relax at Christmas and focus on family. Home is my favourite place over the festive season. I love all of the music associated with the season. Our extended family meet on Christmas morning for mass in Fahan where the choir is always wonderful.
(3) Who is the one person in Donegal that you look up to and why?
I look up to all of the people who have started a business in Donegal, past and present. It is great to see so many people able to live and support themselves in this fabulous county. And we have some very successful businesses to be proud of such as James McGinley with his Coach and Cruise business, Denis Sheridan who has built up a brilliant Environmental business to Marina Hamilton who combines her love of animals with her fabulous artistic skills.
(4) What do you think is Donegal’s best tourist attraction?
It is more than one thing! The scenery, peace, its people and our food! And not forgetting our culture too!
(5) Do you prefer Donegal summers or Donegal winters?
I have to say that I prefer the summer when you can get up and swim in the morning on a beach on your own before going to work! The long evenings also give you time for a few holes of golf or a nice meal with a great choice of views.
(6) What would you do on your ideal day out in Donegal?
A swim, catching up with some friends for some food, relaxing in the outdoors followed by more food and a few drinks!
(7) What is your favourite Donegal-made product?
I love Rathlin Knitwear, McNutt’s Scarves, Filligans Relish and our wonderful meat. I have great respect for Lottie Dolls too!
(8) Who is Donegal’s greatest ambassador around the world and why?
People like Seamus Coleman, Paul McGinley and Jason Quigley are all great ambassadors for our county. They are true professionals and are committed to the success of the county.
(9) Who is Donegal’s most successful businessperson in your opinion?
The person that I admire most in Donegal is Seamus McMenamin of Mantis Cranes and McMenamin Engineering. He never gives up; he cares about people and is never short of ideas.
(10) Who is your favourite Donegal sportsperson of all time?
Probably Ray Houghton. I lived in Birmingham when he was playing for Aston Villa and being from Buncrana I just had to go and see him play. Then his goals in Euro 88 and USA in 1994 were such highlights of some great times for Ireland. I had a conversation about Ray with my Dad on the last day of his life as he was a fan too! I met Ray in my local, the Orchard, with his cousin Rosie who is a neighbour of mine. His real life friendliness was great.
(11) What is your favourite Donegal restaurant?
In Letterkenny I love Moonshine and was delighted to see Paul McDaid opening at night recently serving wonderful food. I also love the Railway Tavern for atmosphere and the Olde Glen near Carrigart.
(12) If you could change one thing about Donegal what would it be?
I wouldn’t change anything! I think it is pretty special as it is. When I lived and worked in England I spent hours on motorways, days looking out at concrete and longed for the fresh air of Donegal. I have everything here that I need!
(13) What is your favourite Donegal saying or expression?
I love words like ‘futter’ and ‘thran’. And I suppose one of my favourite sayings is ‘sure it will be alright’! And it usually is!
(14) What is the biggest challenge facing the people of Donegal today?
I think for young people it is the challenge of being themselves and not giving in to ‘social’ pressures or the need for instant/constant gratification. For all of us our mental health is a challenge. But I believe that living in Donegal is good for anyone’s mental health!
(15) What is your favourite Donegal food?
I have to mention Doherty’s bread in Moville. It is owned by my Mum’s family connections but I do believe the bread tastes better than any other!
(16) Is there anything that really annoys you about Donegal or its people?
Sometimes people being late annoys me. I am fairly punctual but at this stage I know the people who are generally late and make allowances for them.
(17) Do you have a favourite local band?
Dermot Donohue and the Delta Blues band are great. You just have to dance when you hear them and the crack is fairly good with them too.
(18) If you had a million euro to improve something in Donegal what would it be?
I suppose our access routes could be improved but that will happen in time. I would probably use the million to highlight all of the positive things we have around us. The Wild Atlantic Way has been visited by millions of people from all around the world. Donegal people have so much to be proud of that we should be promoting our county to ourselves and others all of the time.
(19) Daniel O’Donnell or Packie Bonner?
I like both. Daniel makes me smile while Packie gave us a moment we will never forget. I was in an Irish bar in Coventry when he made his famous Irish save. We were out on the roundabouts shouting and some of the locals hadn’t a clue why! But most of them did!
(20) Is there anything about Donegal that you are very proud of?
I am proud of our resilience. We don’t give up easily. We don’t allow our perceived peripherality to keep us back. And I am immensely proud of our footballers. I am lucky enough to have witnessed many great games in Ballybofey, Clones, Croke Park and O’Donnell Park. Proud days!
Connect with Siobhán on www.grantconnections.ie
Would you like to take part in the My Donegal series? Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.orgTags: