Erin McGinty is marking one year since setting up her Instagram account @coolestplaceontheplanet to celebrate the best of Donegal.
The Dungloe schoolteacher, who lives near Lifford, is passionate about travelling the county and sharing tourism and fitness journeys with followers online.
In her own words, she explains why she was motivated to showcase Donegal as the ‘Coolest Place’:
“I moved home last year having left Donegal at 17 to go to college and not returning for 15 years. Having lived and travelled from the US to Europe, Australia to the Middle East, South America to Asia I decided I needed to rediscover my own home county.
“I’ve always loved running hiking and eating so I pretty much started doing all that on my own doorstep. I started documenting my travels and at the beginning it was mainly tourists following but now it’s mostly people from Donegal looking to discover everything we have,” Erin said.
My Donegal… with Erin McGinty
Where is your favourite place in Donegal and why?
Grianan of Aileach has always been my favourite place, the views down over the Swilly and Inch Island are spectacular and on a clear day you can see right up to Fanad Lighthouse. I’m lucky that it’s quite close to me so many a day is spent there with a book and a coffee.
How do you like to spend Christmas in the county?
I spend it at home with all my family and friends, most of my family and friends are living away so Christmas is that special time when you get to reconnect and catch up with everyone over a drink, a hike or food.
Who is the one person in Donegal that you look up to and why?
As corny as it sounds probably my mum, she’s a Sligo woman that moved to Donegal at a very young age and fell in love with daddy. She’s made Donegal her home for 40 years and I’d say she’s hiked and walked more of it than me, she’s always on the go, always positive and always smiling.
What do you think is Donegal’s best tourist attraction?
From speaking with a lot of tourists over the last year of doing coolest place on the planet the main draw seems to be Sliabh Liag and I can see why having hiked it for the first time in May. It’s breath taking.
Do you prefer Donegal summers or Donegal winters?
Big call after the summer we just had but I definitely prefer the Atlantic and the coastline in general during stormy months, it’s so ferocious. I love the coastline along Maghery, Dungloe, Kincasslagh, Mullaghderg, I could watch the waves crash in there all day.
What would you do on your ideal day out in Donegal?
Follow my page and you’ll see lol – www.instagram.com/coolestplaceontheplanet
What is your favourite Donegal-made product?
I have a few McNutt of Donegal scarfs that I just adore. Donegal wool every time 💚
Who is Donegal’s greatest ambassador around the world and why?
Around the world it’s got to be Daniel O’Donnell, being a past pupil of my school he’s done a lot for the area and is so generous with his time. Plus everyone loves Daniel 😉
Who is Donegal’s most successful businessperson in your opinion?
John Magee and now the Temple family who own and run Magee 1866 .They are absolute adventurers too. Rosy completed the Wild Atlantic Marathon during the summer and is such an inspiration to follow, she can often be found at Mountcharles Pier for a swim with all the family. They have built a hugely successful global business and are the loveliest people, constantly giving back to the local community. And how could you not LOVE their suits.
Who is your favourite Donegal sportsperson of all time?
I could be in trouble here if I don’t say our very own Shay Given 😉 but seriously Shay is such an amazing sportsperson and ambassador for both Lifford and Donegal. Knowing Shay since I was wee, he is the loveliest, friendliest person who definitely hasn’t forgotten where he’s from and who has reached the absolute heights within his footballing career.
What is your favourite Donegal saying or expression?
I don’t know if it’s Donegal or just me but apparently it’s funny the way I say ‘wer jus goin for a wee bite to eat’
When I lived away there were some confused faces at this conversation
Person: did you do much at the weekend?
Me: Auk not a wile pile
What is the biggest challenge facing the people of Donegal today?
Promoting what we have within our own local county, we are absolutely blessed to come from this heavenly part of the world. We need to tell everyone to come here, and we as Donegalians need to see it all for ourselves…eat here, hike here, holiday here!
What is your favourite Donegal food?
Brown wheaten bread and potato bread 😋
If you had a million euro to improve something in Donegal what would it be?
The sign posting 😆 especially for well known sites like Muckish Mountain, Errigal, even Sliabh Liag. I would also have interactive information points dotted around the county as it can be hard (even when you’re from Donegal) to get information on how to get somewhere.
Is there anything about Donegal that you are very proud of?
A lot but some main things are:
Fintown railway: Fintown runs it close for my favourite place but the wee train that runs in the summer is just so special and it’s run with such pride and history by the locals.
Oakfield Park, Raphoe: the grounds are immaculate and the events they run throughout the year are just amazing. I had the pleasure of being at Oakfest in the summer and more recently the Santa express. Each time I visit I’m blown away by the staff, the stunning grounds and how much there is to do and see.
Follow Erin’s Adventures on www.instagram.com/coolestplaceontheplanetTags: