Aidan Friel runs the trendy new eaterie in Kerrykeel – the Narrow Quarter. The popular cafe – run with business partner John McDaid – has been enjoying a good summer; one of a number of new businesses to pop up in the village over the past year or so. Here’s Aidan’s My Donegal
Where is your favourite place in Donegal and why?
Anywhere in the Fanad peninsula, it’s beautiful.
Where in Donegal do you call home?
What do you think is Donegal’s best tourist attraction?
Fanad light house without a doubt. I never get tired of it. Rain hail or shine! Fanad Lighthouse is always a must see when I have friends visiting the county.
Summers or winters?
Summers. Is there anywhere more beautiful than Donegal (when the sun shines)
Ideal day out in Donegal?
A trip to Dunfanaghey, A walk on marble hill, coffee from the shack followed by a pint in Patsy Dan’s.
Favourite Donegal product?
Our tweed products are amazing. McNutts in Downings or Orwell & Browne. (check them both out on Instagram. Stunning products that make great gifts.)
Who is Donegal’s best ambassador and why?
She might not be known world wide just yet but I really think Erin McGinty is doing a wonderful job promoting Donegal. She has a strong online presence with her Instagram account @coolestplaceontheplanet. She is really showing off the county in all its glory. Her clever posts and busy lifestyle are catching the attention of thousands of online users both from inside the county and further afield.
Who is Donegal’s most successful business person?
This is a difficult one …. Exactly how are we measuring success?
Favourite Donegal sports person?
Barry McNamee who hails from ‘the wee toon’ Ramelton, #25 Derry City Midfielder
Favourite Donegal restaurant?
The Lemon Tree Letterkenny. If you haven’t been you don’t know what your missing.
Change one thing about Donegal what would it be?
I’d like to see a bigger push for real environmental changes and sustainability.
Favourite Donegal expression or saying?
“I’m foundered” I spent my whole life thinking that this was a perfectly normal everyday expression. Until I went to Carlow to study. Where I quickly realised it must be just a Donegal thing.
Biggest challenge facing Donegal people of today?
One of the biggest challenges and perhaps one of the most overlooked facing the people of Donegal is mental health. Many people struggle at some point with their mental health and sadly it seems more common that young people appear to be affected. For the younger generation, social media has transformed their daily lives. However, Online, we are constantly being bombarded with other people’s lives and their perceived success. It can be very easy to begin to question your own circumstances and question your individual successes in life. Also, I feel like work pressures in Donegal has increased, with an increase in corporate employment in the county. I also think the elderly are suffering from mental health challenges such as isolation and loneliness. We don’t visit our neighbours like we used to and this has created a real detachment in the community.
Favourite Donegal food?
Where do I even start with this one. Honestly, I can’t just choose one. Donegal has some of the finest produce around. The Haven Smokehouse has the best smoked salmon out there without a doubt. Hugh Wilhare and his team from Mulroy Bay Mussels grow such an excellent product. We have some of the best seafood in the country coming in fresh from Killybegs. Ballyholey Farm Shop produce fresh and tasty veg and our local butchers all around the county including Kerr’s butchers in Kerrykeel. If there’s one thing for certain we are spoilt for choice when it comes to good fresh produce.
Is there anything that really annoys you about Donegal or its people?
Not a thing. After living away for a while I’m just so grateful that I am able to live and work in Donegal.
Favourite local band
In Their Thousands.
If you had a million euro in Donegal to improve something what would it be?
I’d love to see rural transport links further improved. But I’m afraid sometimes in Ireland, a million euro wouldn’t even cover the cost a feasibility study costs.
Daniel O Donell or Packie Bonner?
“Wee” Daniel, my grandmother wouldn’t allow any other answer to this one.
Is there anything about Donegal that you are very proud of?
Yes, I am exceptionally proud of the local people of Kerrykeel and surrounding areas. Whether they realise it or not without them our business, The Narrow Quarter wouldn’t be a success. The local support we have received since we opened in April 2018 has been over whelming. To think in such a small village it would be possible to employ so many people and remain open all year round, It’s amazing and humbling to say the least.Tags: