AN American couple who won a luxury holiday to Donegal say they have been amazed by the hospitality they have encountered.
Jason Kamienski and Emma Robinson of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, were the lucky ticket holders when the draw was made for the week-long stay in March.
The competition was run by the Irish Centre in Philadelphia which has been undergoing major renovations, with the top prize sponsored by the Mulroy Drive Tourist and Development Group.
The trip included Aer Lingus flights organised by Liberty Travel into Donegal Airport followed by three nights in Harvey’s Point Hotel.
Car hire was provided by Noel McGinley and Enterprise Car Hire which enabled Jason and Emma to visit Sliabh Liag.
They also took in Lough Eske, a walk organised by Donegal Person of the Year Noel Cunningham.
Yesterday the couple moved to the Rosapenna Hotel where a visit to Fanad lighthouse was thrown in along with kayaking on Mulroy Bay with Eco Atlantic Adventures, horse riding with Ashtree Riding Stables and a visit to The Old Forge at Logue’s of Cranford.
Speaking during a visit to Donegal Town on Tuesday, Jason said he and his partner had been taken aback by the warmth shown to them.
“Everyone we have met has been so friendly and so nice,” he said.
“So far we have been on the water bus in Donegal Bay, we’ve spent some time shopping, we’ve been in a few pubs chatting to the bar owners and really people could not be friendlier. It’s amazing.”
Jason and Emma, who had never been to Ireland before, bought their ticket from a co-worker. When their number came up, they were initially convinced it was a scam.
“We were very shocked and originally we thought it was one of these spam emails that you get. I contacted my co-worker to ask if it was legitimate and they put us in contact with Kevin Logue who organised everything. All we had to do was pick our travel dates.”
On Friday the couple travel to Letterkenny and to the Radisson Blu Hotel.
Laid on for them is an electric bike trip around Glenveagh organised by An Craoibhin Centre in Termon, a visit to Oakfield Park in Raphoe and a tour of the Cathedral area of Letterkenny.
A farewell function has been organised for Saturday hosted by Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce.
Chair of the Mulroy Drive Tourist and Development Group Paddy Logue said the aim of the super draw was to connect with the Irish diaspora in America, promote Donegal and let people there know that the county was “open for business”.
They intend to tell as many people as possible about how beautiful the county is.
“We are taking so many pictures and putting them on our Facebook accounts to try and promote Donegal to our family and friends,” said Jason.
“When we get back to our offices we will be posting the fliers up along with the website address for Mulroy Bay, just to let people know about it.
“It has been such a phenomenal trip. Everyone has been so friendly and that is coming from two people from Philadelphia which is supposed to be the city of brotherly love.
“It has been wonderful to see the scenery, the culture and the food has been great too.”
How much the draw for the trip has raised has yet to be finalised but it is believed to be over €20,000.
Paddy Logue added that the Mulroy Drive Group wanted to thank all their sponsors, Donegal County Council and Fáilte Ireland for all their help.