Donegal Connect launches programme of events

A MAJOR programme of events to engage with the Donegal Diaspora across the world and bring them back home in the hope of creating new opportunities for the county has been launched.
Last week the ‘Donegal Connect’ initiative launched its programme for their 10 days of events running from September 27th – October 06th across the county. It covers over 45 events and it was launched at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Letterkenny. 

Pictured at the launch of the Donegal Connect Programme of Events are Left to Right: Donegal County Council Chief Executive Seamus Neely, Cathaoirleach Cllr Nicholas Crossan, Programme Manager for Wild Atlantic Way, Failte Ireland, Joan Crawford, DCC Director of Service, Garry Martin, and chief executive of Donegal Local Enterprise Office, Michael Tunney.

The launch unveiled details of an eight week promotional campaign aimed at capturing lots of attention for the events worldwide. Through the project it is hoped to engage with the Diaspora both overseas and in Ireland as well as anyone considering coming to Ireland. The plan is to entice them to make the journey to Donegal, to explore the county and to find out why it is a wonderful county to visit, to invest in, to live in and be educated in.
“We will be staging a #lovedonegal Twitter day on 14th August, asking everyone with Donegal connections to tell us what they love about our county,” said Michael Tunney of Donegal LEO – a leading partner in the project.

Pictured at the launch of the Donegal Connect Programme of Events are members of the project committee Left to Right: Deirdre McGlone, Harvey’s Point Hotel, Mary Daly and Sarah Nolan, Donegal Tourism, Trish Hegarty, Inis Communications, Garry Martin, Donegal County Council and Michael Tunney, Donegal Local Enterprise Office.

“We’ll be calling on our high-profile Donegal Connect ambassadors like Sarah Jessica Parker, Packie Bonner and others to support the Twitter day, so we are confident this will help us reach even more people.”
Mr Tunney continued: “We will also be launching a short video competition on social media, which is for everyone – you don’t have to be a professional to enter. We want to harness the talent and creativity of ordinary people in how they portray Donegal in 20 seconds or less. And we want and to share their vision of Donegal and their pride in our county, to create an online global buzz.”
He added that none of this would be possible without the funding and support that has been received from Fáilte Ireland under the Global Irish Initiative. 
The programme of events was officially launched by the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Nicholas Crossan. 
“Donegal Connect aims to entice all those with Donegal roots home to visit, to work, to retire, to invest, or to start a business. The programme will have something for everyone and will showcase just how much we have to offer here.”
Speaking at the launch, Cllr Crossan said music highlights for Donegal Connect include Altan and Christy Moore. “We will have a feast for the senses with a spectacular LUXE carnival, plus art exhibitions on Gaeltacht life, and women & emigration. And Donegal Food Coast events will offer a real taste of our local seafood and produce, and culinary skills.”
“If you want to explore your Donegal roots, then there are workshops in how to trace your genealogy and clan gatherings. Get outdoors with walks, tours, Gaelic football, golf, island trips and a half marathon. There will be family fun, poetry, songs and choirs. Lá na Gaeltachta will highlight our rich Gaeltacht heritage and its future growth.”
CEO of Donegal County Council, Mr Seamus Neely stated: “Donegal Connect is also about creating opportunities for economic growth. Special events will explore business and investment opportunities. We will also have a focus on education and career development, showcasing what local employers have to offer. And the programme includes networking events and workshops on the practicalities of relocating or returning to Donegal.”
“If friends or family are coming home for Donegal Connect, let them know there’s a range of travel offers available, said Garry Martin, Director of Service with Donegal County Council. These include discounts on US flights and fly-break packages from Glasgow and Dublin as well as a book of special offers.
To find out more or to book events, go to email or call +353 74 9160735 for information.
Donegal Connect is funded by Fáilte Ireland under the Global Irish Initiative. Additional funding, operational support and sponsorship comes from: Donegal County Council, the Donegal Local Enterprise Office, Donegal Diaspora, Donegal Tourism, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Udaras na Gaeltachta, IDA Ireland, Donegal Food Coast, Pramerica, Abbots Diabetes Care, Randox, Harvey’s Point Hotel, and Donegal Global Irish.

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