Donegal Person of the Year 2016

Donegal Person of the Year Stephen Mc Cahill pictured with Chairperson of the Donegal Association Dublin.
Donegal Person of the Year Stephen Mc Cahill pictured with Chairperson of the Donegal Association Dublin.

Stephen McCahill, a native of Glenties, has been named Donegal Person of the Year for 2016. The announcement was held in The Black Door Piano Bar on Harcourt Street in Dublin on Friday, 20th of January much to the delight of the large crowd in attendance.

Stephen is the third in the family of Packie McCahill and Eileen (nee Gallagher) from Ardara, Stephen’s mother still resides outside Glenties. He was born in 1959 and grew up in Glenties and attended St. Columba’s Comprehensive School in Glenties and the Regional College in Letterkenny. Stephen worked with Lyons Tea as a national sales representative and later became a quality control officer with Moracrete in Clondalkin. In 1981 Stephen moved back to Donegal where he took up a position as quality control manager with Campbell Seafoods in Killybegs and spent six years with the company, he later worked with Joe Murrin as a marketing manager. In 1991 Stephen set up his own company Glenard Fish which organised the sales of fresh fish. Stephen is still involved in the fishing industry in Killybegs. Stephen is married to Marietta and they have two children, Steven and Gemma. Stephen and his family reside outside Ardara.

Stephen has endeavoured through various roles and initiatives to positively promote Donegal and in particular Glenties, Ardara, Portnoo and Killybegs as an area in which to visit, work and live.

Ardara was voted The Irish Times Best Village to Live in Ireland in 2012, it is volunteers like Stephen who work so hard in promoting Ardara that the town was awarded such an accolade. Stephen was one of the founding members of the Cup O’ Tae Festival and is currently Chairman of the Cup O’Tae Festival Committee. It was a new festival for new May Bank Holiday in 2001 and 15 years later it is still going stronger than ever.

In 2015 Stephen McCahill assisted in the rebuilding and redevelopment of the Ardara Town Website. He is a member of the Editorial Committee of ‘Duchas’ which saw the second edition launched successfully before Christmas replacing the annual Parish Magazine ‘Dearcadh’. Stephen was instrumental in the setting up of an editorial committee for ‘Duchas’ which was first published in December 2015. He is Chairman of Ardara Traders Association, this group runs and supports a calendar of festivals and events each year in Ardara which has earned it the title of the ‘Festival Town’. Among the festivals which the Traders Association support are the Ardara Country & Western Music Festival, Ardara Walking Festival and St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Ardara Wild Atlantic Way Week, The Johnny Doherty Irish Traditional Music & Dancing Weekend  and The Matchmaking Festival.

Stephen is heavily involved in the GAA Club in Ardara who recently hosted the Comórtas Peil na Gaeltachta in 2015. He was Club Treasurer for fourteen years and Club Chairman for four years. He remained in the role of Chairman for the construction and completion of state of the art dressing rooms, function rooms, a new pitch, flood lighting, disabled facilities and a 250 seater stand. The All Ireland Gaeltacht Finals was a huge event which involved welcoming, accommodating and entertaining numerous teams and hundreds of supporters to Ardara. Stephen was instrumental in organising this event. At the request of the Donegal GAA County Board Stephen McCahill was asked to manage the Sam Maguire Cup in 1992 and again in 2012. During this time he coordinated the distribution of the cup. This was a most demanding role given the huge demand for Sam Maguire through the length and breadth of county.

Stephen is Chairman of the Ardara Heritage Centre and the Ardara Community Centre and was

Former Chairperson, Secretary and PRO of the Ardara Parish Council. Stephen is involved in the famous Corner House Pub in Ardara where he ensures that guests not only enjoy Irish hospitality and traditional music but where they are introduced to local people, local knowledge and local information. It is evident from Stephen’s involvement in the many committees and projects mentioned above that he has spent much of his adult life giving freely of his personal time to keeping his local area alive and vibrant. He has helped develop and sustain tourism, heritage, culture and rural life through numerous projects, festivals, initiatives and enterprises. He has helped to highlight and promote all that is good in our county.

                                                                

Stephen is very honoured to be chosen as the recipient of the Donegal Person of the Year and feels extremely privileged that he has been chosen as the 2016 Donegal Person of the Year and acknowledges the quality of the Past Persons of the Year and spoke of the high respect that he holds Deirdre McGlone (Outgoing Person of the Year) in. He remembers fondly attending the Donegal Person of the Year functions in the past and is very excited about the year ahead. Stephen is very passionate about the promotion of our county and is very passionate about community involvement and the importance of keeping the community alive and vibrant. He believes a community needs to be kept alive and there is no place better than your own people and your own community.

Last year’s winner of the Donegal Person of the Year, Deirdre McGlone attended the Official Announcement and reflected on her time as the recipient of this prestigious award. She said it was a great honour for her to receive such an award and thanked the Donegal Association for their support over the year.

Stephen McCahill will be inaugurated as The Donegal Person of the Year 2016 at the Annual Gala Ball on Saturday, 4th March in the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, Dublin 9.