Golfing legend Paul McGinley has humbly accepted the Freedom of the County ahead of the Legends Tour this weekend.
This afternoon in the glorious setting of the Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort in Downings, the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr. Liam Blaney together with the elected members hosted a civic reception to confer the Honorary Freedom of the County on Mr. Paul McGinley.
Mr. Mc Ginley has been honoured in recognition of his golf achievements on the European and PGA tour, his winning captaincy of the 2014 European Ryder cup Team and for his enormous contribution to promoting Donegal as a golfing destination.
Speaking at the ceremony, a passionate Paul McGinley said that he was honoured to be afforded this prestigious award. He has always felt an affinity with the County of Donegal, and what he had achieved in his career could be traced back to the County, and after today he was truly a Donegal person – an identity which he is truly proud of. He described Donegal as a hidden gem which is about to be discovered by people around the world, with golf acting as a conduit, declaring “if Donegal was a stock I would be buying it now… Donegal has so much to offer.” He concluded the afternoon’s proceedings by thanking all in attendance and left the podium to a standing ovation.
Paul is the 10th recipient of a badge and pin specially commissioned by the council and which is reserved exclusively for those on whom the Freedom of the County is conferred.
The badge, crafted by Ms. Geralding Hannigan, Designer Goldsmith, Letterkenny and mounted on a background is a silver replication of the County Badge granted to the Council by the Chief Herald of Ireland as part of a Grant of Arms to the County. The badge comprises the O’Donnell Cross enfiled by an Iunula. The Iunula on which it is based was discovered at Trentagh, Co. Donegal, and dates to the period 1500-2,000 B.C. It is on display in the National Museum.
Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Liam Blaney said “Paul McGinley is not only known for his sporting success but his continued support for the development of the golfing sector in Donegal. He stated that Paul is “known for his love of the county and its golf courses. He is also known as the man who has made good on the global arena but has never forgotten his family roots.” In his speech he also acknowledged that “Paul spent many a day in Rosapenna in his youth, caddying for his father and learning the trials and tribulations associated with the game of golf. It therefore seems very apt, that he is here today at that same golf course to now receive this tremendous accolade as an acknowledgement of his work to support the golf sector in the county.”
The Chief Executive of Donegal County Council, Mr. John McLaughlin congratulated Paul on receiving the honour. He stated that “Donegal is fortunate to have many great ambassadors, and Paul McGinley is one of them, demonstrating a huge passion for the county and stated that he was one of the driving forces in bringing the Irish Open to Donegal in 2018 and has used his international profile to promote the golf experience in the county.”
Representatives from political groupings also paid tribute to Paul McGinley on his outstanding golfing achievements and his continuous promotion of Donegal as a first class golfing destination.
Other recipients of the Freedom of County Donegal include Phil Coulter, Daniel O’Donnell, Patsy McGonagle, Shay Given, Packie Bonner, 28th Infantry Battalion, Anthony Molloy, Seamus Coleman and Danny McDaid.