Donegal Connect

Donegal Connect takes Best Tourism Initiative at the LAMA All Ireland Community & Council Awards
Donegal Connect takes Best Tourism Initiative at the LAMA All Ireland Community & Council Awards


Donegal Connect was a collaborative project between the private and public sector in Donegal aimed at creating new opportunities for Donegal and our Diaspora.  The project developed from a proposal back in 2017 from the Donegal Association in Dublin into hosting an event in Donegal by encouraging Diaspora to visit the county and spend time exploring all that we have to offer. 


The project wanted to engage with our Diaspora, both overseas and within Ireland; indeed, anyone considering coming to Donegal.  The aim was to entice them to make the journey to Donegal to find out why it is such a wonderful county to visit, invest, live, set up or grow your business, get education or training in, or retire to.


A very ambitious PR and marketing campaign was undertaken in the lead up to Donegal Connect including marketing events in the U.S, Glasgow, London and Dublin.  The aim of this campaign was to reach out to Donegal Diaspora all over the world to promote the Donegal Connect programme and the individual events, to audiences at home and abroad.  In terms of statistics we reached over 70m on social media, 33.5m from #LoveDonegalDay, 13m was reached over the course of the 10 day programme with 423,000 interactions on facebook, twitter and Instagram.


A highlight from the marketing campaign was #LoveDonegalDay held on the 14th August 2019 which literally exploded over social media.  Almost 11,000 posts, images and videos of Donegal were shared on social media by ordinary people and key influencers;  including  sports and music celebrities like Packie Bonner, former Ireland goalie Shay Given, boxer Jason Quigley, former Rugby international Norah Stapleton, Moya Brennan from Clannad and Daniel and Majella O’Donnell.


The content promoted all our key messages and created a buzz and momentum that went far beyond the statistics.  #LoveDonegal trended No 1 in Ireland that day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., trended No 1 in Belfast and also trended in the US.  In fact, the hashtag is still popular as a result and getting hits online and in mainstream media.  We will build on the connections created this year, mainly online and via social media to establish long-term relationships with our Diaspora. 


The programme rolled out over 70 events in 10 days, from September 27th to October 6th and over 100 local community, arts organizations, public sector bodies, artists, performers and venues took part in the organisation and delivery of these events.  Events took place throughout the county attracting in excess of 18,000 people.

Some of the major successes from the schedule of events included the official launch, the practical workshop for returning members of our Diaspora, the business conference "Driving our County Forward", the Bridge of Tears walk in Falcarragh, a spectacular feast of Donegal food at the foot of Errigal, an ICT/FinTech symposium hosted by the Donegal ICT/FinTech group in Donegal and the grand finale at Fort Dunree which included an amazing show by the LUX Carnival group from Inishowen. 

All the effort was rewarded as the Donegal Connect 2019 initiative was recognized and awarded Best Tourism Initiative at the All Ireland Community & Council Awards 2020.