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Donegal tops National Geographic Cool List 02.12.16

TOURISM groups have welcomed Donegal's latest accolade after the National Geographic Traveller named the county as the coolest place to visit in 2017.
The leading magazine named Donegal at the top of its Cool List: 17 for 2017. The list captures the “top culture capitals, hipster hotspots, wild escapes and places generally keeping it cool” and which the publication recommends checking out in 2017. Other places making the list are Santiago, Helsinki, Greenland, Peru, Aarhus, Canada, Portland, India and South Africa.
The article was complimentary on Donegal, saying: ‘With a weather-nibbled coast spotted with sea stacks, Blue Flag beaches and offshore islands, Donegal is a land that feels undiscovered. Last summer, scenes for Star Wars: Episode VIII were filmed on the Inishowen Peninsula. But this area of Ireland is also expecting 2017 to be a big year; there’s an array of reasons to visit, from surfing beaches in Magheroarty and Ballyhiernan Bay to Horn Head — a driving, walking or cycling loop that squeezes the 1,600-mile Wild Atlantic Way into a 4.5-mile nutshell.’
No 'Darth' of beauty here...Malin Head in 'cool' Donegal.
Welcoming the accolade, Fáilte Ireland’s Director for the Wild Atlantic Way, Orla Carroll said:
“The Wild Atlantic Way goes from strength to strength and it is starting to pick up a large amount of global recommendations. We are delighted that National Geographic Traveller are particularly praising Donegal as one of our key objectives for 2017 will be to boost visitor growth in the north west stretch of the coastal route. We know Donegal is cool and now we’re delighted that the rest of the world is hearing the same.”
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue said Failte Ireland must build on Donegal’s increasing profile and invest in tourism initiatives in the county.
Deputy McConalogue said: “The rest of the world is waking up to the incredible scenery, beaches, warmth and friendliness that Donegal people have long enjoyed. This is a county with something for everyone and over the past number of years, with the development of the Wild Atlantic Way, more and more people are discovering what Donegal has to offer.
“Being named the coolest place on the planet by National Geographic Traveller is a major coup and presents an opportunity for us to build on the already solid reputation that the county has, both at home and abroad. Donegal has begun to make a name for itself, and the decision by Disney to film Star Wars on Malin Head last summer will bring a whole new wave of tourism to the area.
“I am encouraging Fáilte Ireland to put a renewed focus on Donegal to capitalise on this prestigious accolade. While there has been investment in the past, this should be increased and a real effort made to boost the county’s profile and appeal. Tourism is an incredibly important industry here and recognition like the Cool List should not be let pass without an attempt to build on the progress made to date.”
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