Donegal, Ireland’s hidden gem, has been recognised by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s top travel destinations, further solidifying its global appeal.
Local pride has been strong ever since Donegal was ranked the fourth top region to visit in 2024 in the Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel’. The county takes its place among global hotspots such as Tuscany, Montana and Kangaroo Island in South Australia.
The Lonely Planet award was officially collected by Donegal County Council representatives on Monday.
Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr Martin Harley accepted the award at the World Travel Market in London. This prestigious event is recognised as a global hub for the travel and tourism industry.
The honour was presented by Jim Brody, Global Director, Destinations, Lonely Planet, and Tom Hall, Vice President, Lonely Planet to Cathaoirleach Harley, and Mary Daly from the Tourism Unit, Donegal County Councill. Alice Mansergh, the newly appointed CEO of Tourism Ireland, also attended the event.
Lonely Planet’s announcement, which highlighted Donegal as the only Irish destination on its global list, has already generated significant media buzz and attention from travel enthusiasts.
Cllr Martin Harley, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, expressed his delight at the award, stating: “Accepting this award on behalf of County Donegal is a great honour. Being recognised by Lonely Planet as one of the top regions to visit globally underscores Donegal’s appeal and significance. This is the second time in five years that Lonely Planet has acknowledged Donegal, previously naming it the coolest place on the planet in 2017. This continued recognition speaks volumes about our vibrant cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality.”
Lonely Planet praised Donegal for its tranquil solitude, untamed landscapes, welcoming atmosphere, and pristine coastal hikes along the Wild Atlantic Way. The guide further accentuated the county’s ancient forts, lively musical traditions, and the rich heritage of the Irish language, providing an enriching experience for travellers. With Ireland’s longest coastline, over 100 beaches, and Europe’s highest sea cliffs, Donegal promises a unique and unforgettable travel experience.
John G. McLaughlin, Chair of Donegal Tourism CLG and Chief Executive of Donegal County Council, expressed confidence that this recognition will propel Donegal’s global stature as a tourist hotspot. He said: “This listing on Lonely Planet is a significant milestone for Donegal. It’s a testament to the collaborative approach we’ve adopted in promoting County Donegal in recent years, and we’re confident it will yield positive results.”
For more details about Donegal and to uncover its hidden treasures, visit the official website here.