"Donegalaholic and proud"
Aileen McCallan, ICRfm
FIRSTLY, I have a confession to make. I am not a native
of Donegal. I am a ‘blow in’ as they say but I am also a
self-confessed Donegalaholic! I just can’t get enough of
My first memory of Donegal is a caravan, big fat chips
in brown paper bags and ice cream on the golden sand by
the Atlantic Ocean. Yes Donegal was a holiday
destination to dream about, to escape to from the
madness of the 12th fortnight in the north. It was
during this time its wild rugged beauty seeped into my
bones and hypnotised me under a sulky grey Donegal sky.
Now I am proud to call it home.
To me Donegal county is like a little mini-Ireland, from
the heather moors, mountains and bogs of the Gaeltacht
in the west, to the rich farmlands and towns of the
Taking the full force of
Atlantic gales, much of Donegal’s beauty is fashioned by
the sea with a hard crust of coastal cliffs on the
outside, Slieve League, St John’s Point, The Rosses
through Gweedore, Cloghaneely and across Lough Swilly to
Inishowen and Malin Head with a softer inner centre of
lakes including a region of undulating peat hills that
embrace Glenveagh Castle and Gardens. Donegal County is
primarily one of rocky landscapes, pristine beaches,
hauntingly beautiful moorlands with golden nuggets of
culture and heritage and adventure wrapped in its folds.
The majestic beauty of the unspoiled countryside,
combined with the wide array of outdoor activities make
Donegal a premier holiday destination for family days
out, romantic escapes, retreats and many other special
'Donegalaholic', Aileen McCallan.
In a new radio series I,
Aileen McCallan, hope to awaken the Inishowen Community
Radio listeners to the incredible beauty and energy that
is all around us in our home county. You won’t have to
worry about airport queues, insect repellent and turning
tangerine in the Mediterranean sun. Instead, grab a a
map of Donegal and come with me on a journey to explore
destination Donegal, its depth and diversity that is
right under your nose.
In this series of ten
programmes we will begin our two week vacation in
Donegal at The Franciscan Friary in Rossnowlagh. I will,
at times, be accompanied by my 3 children and also by
ICRfm’s Emma and Claire McDermott. After some quiet
contemplation, I’ll be checking out the activities on
offer at Old McDonald’s Farm near Ballyshannon,
Waterworld in Bundoran and the amusements on the shore
front!. Exploring the Glencolmcille Peninsula, I will
visit the bustling seaport of Killybegs and take in the
spectacular scenery along the Slieve League cliffs.
Ionad Cois Locha in the shadow of the haunting and
mysterious Poison Glen will define a perfect family day
out. After a great prawn sandwich at Nancy’s in Ardara
we will travel on onwards as we call into the
‘Workhouse’ in Dunfanaghy to hear "Wee Hannah" tell the
true story of her long life.
Aileen McCallan and her children
Cian, Christopher and Lauren.
We will get lost in Art and
Culture at the Glebe House & Gallery and Heritage
Centre, Churchill and experience the pleasure of seeing
one of the largest waterwheels in Ireland in action as
it drives the machinery of Newmills Corn and Flax Mills.
Crossing the Swilly we find ourselves back in Inishowen
but our Donegal holiday is not over yet. Not many make
it to the ‘Inishowen 100’ which is almost unforgivable
considering highlights such as Malin Head, Ireland's
most northerly point and other areas of outstanding
beauty such as Kinnego Bay. We will finish our trip by
reflecting on our journey at the IOSAS (Island of Saints
and Scholars) Prayer Garden outside Muff. So pack your
bag or come day tripping with me for a two week vacation
in the ‘Costa del Donegal’. It is sure to be action
Starting on Monday, May 16, the programmes air at 9am
each weekday morning, finishing on Friday May 27. Each
programme will be repeated the same evening at 7pm. The
series was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of
Ireland through the Sound and Vision scheme.
The series was researched and presented by Aileen
McCallan and produced by Emma and Claire McDermott for
Inishowen Community Radio.
So why not tune in this week at 9am on 105 or
107.6fm or around the world on