Donegal Connections - Christmas Edition

Portsalon Beach courtesy of Daniel Hewett
Portsalon Beach, courtesy of Daniel Hewett

Donegal Connections – December Ezine

Welcome to the final edition of the Donegal Connections ezine for 2020, bringing a close to what has been an extraordinary year.  Many of us will be happy to see an end to 2020, a year of uncertainty, fear, anxiety and indeed loss for many, but we look forward with renewed hope to a better 2021. Hope with the roll out of a vaccination programme; hope that our businesses will return to normality and prosper again; hope that families will be able to connect, hope that we will feel safe in each other’s company again; and hope that we will begin to welcome home our Diaspora from all around the world in the months ahead. For now, however, we must continue to do what has been asked of us to help keep the virus under control over the holiday period to ensure our own safety and the safety of our loved ones.

Normally at Christmas time over 750,000 people return to Ireland for the holiday season but few will travel home for Christmas this year.  However, this is the perfect time to remember the global Donegal Diaspora; you can do this by getting involved in a special initiative developed by the Department of Foreign Affairs supported by Local Authorities, cultural institutions and communities across the country who will be “lighting up” and sharing stories about what it means to be Irish this Christmas.  This special campaign will remember Ireland’s connections all around the world during this very special time of year.   You can get involved by posting a video, picture or message to the hashtag  #IrishChristmas and visit the specially created website “to be Irish at Christmas” which will feature stories, festive activities and lots of Christmas events over the festive period from 21 – 31 December. 

Irish Embassies and Consulates all around the world, together with our Peacekeeping posts, and Irish Aid operations, will be sharing videos and pictures and “Lighting Up” this Christmas to connect with our Global Irish community.

Arranmore Island in Donegal has lit up for Christmas, the official switch on was followed by a procession of local people and candles were lit in honour of those who can’t make it home this year.  The Islanders have been overwhelmed by the donations received and offers of help from home and abroad.  The Arranmore Community Council rolled out a Homecoming campaign in 2017 and with the support of Donegal County Council and Three Ireland has seen the Island transform with a new digital hub and high speed broadband making it a very attractive proposition for many city dwellers to consider relocating to.  The Community Council has been inundated with enquires from the global Diaspora.

In the ezine you will find out more about Island life and read about those who found their work-life balance in one of the most scenic places in the world – one which is digitally connected like no other; you will also learn about interesting people and places and plans in place for 2021 and beyond. 

As always, I hope you enjoy the ezine and finally, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your continued support for the Donegal Diaspora project and to wish you and your families a happy, healthy and prosperous Christmas and New Year.

John Mc Laughlin, Chief Executive Officer, Donegal County Council.