Strengthening our connections with the Donegal Diaspora in Scotland

Donegal Diaspora working group in Scotland
Strengthening our connections with the Donegal Diaspora in Scotland

Donegal County Council traditionally focussed their efforts in connecting with the Donegal Diaspora along the East Coast of the United States.  However, having successfully secured funding in 2018 from Fáilte Ireland under the Global Irish Festival funding, the platform was established to begin the process of connecting and indeed reconnecting with our Diaspora in Scotland.

Donegal has an unbreakable historical and social link with Scotland, established initially through the many thousands of people who travelled to and from Scotland in search of work over the last century particularly the tattie hoakers, tunnel tigers and herring gutters.  Many of these people remained and integrated into Scottish society, developed strong personal networks, while continuing to maintain their unshakable passion and loyalty for their home county of Donegal.

Packie Bonner, former Celtic and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper and past recipient of the Tip O’ Neill Irish Diaspora award has been instrumental in assisting the council in their endeavours to connect with the Donegal Diaspora in Scotland. 

In an effort to rekindle the connections, the Donegal Diaspora project participated in the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Merchant’s City in Glasgow and Donegal County Council undertook a marketing event in Glasgow in June 2019 to promote the Donegal Connect festival.  This festival, which included some 70 events throughout the entire county, took place from September 27th to October 06th and was developed to encourage people to come to Donegal to find out for themselves why Donegal is such a great county to live in, be educated in, start a business in, invest in or retire to.

The Donegal Connect festival in 2019 built upon the success of the Donegal Global festival in 2018 and further strengthened our connections with our closest neighbour.  This engagement has given rise to a very active Donegal Diaspora group in Scotland.

The group is being driven by Donegal County Council in collaboration with Packie and other members of the Donegal Diaspora living in Scotland.  This group includes people from the music world, business, Irish dancing, sport to name but a few, all of whom have one thing in common – a love for Donegal.  The aim of the group is to establish a greater connection between existing networks and the sporadic Donegal/Scottish Diaspora by providing a focal point to celebrate the positive links established between Scotland and Donegal.  Exciting plans are in progress for an initiative to be held later in 2020.  Keep an eye on the Donegal Connections ezine for details as this initiative evolves.