Donegal Crowned World’s Coolest Destination

Donegal cityscape.
Donegal cityscape.

By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
February / March 2017

Co. Donegal claimed the number one spot on National Geographic Traveller’s annual “Cool List” of recommendations for those who love travelling the world. The isolated western county ranked above locations in Greenland, Sudan and Seoul among other “culture capitals, hipster hotspots [and] wild escapes” and was praised for its “undiscovered” aura by the magazine.

“There’s an array of reasons to visit,” the official statement explained, “from surfing beaches in Magheraroarty and Ballyhiernan Bay to Horn Head – a driving, walking and cycling loop that squeezes the 1,600 mile Wild Atlantic Way into a 4.5-mile nutshell.”

“We considered many destinations for our Cool List 2017, but we felt Donegal was in a real sweet spot,” National Geographic Traveller editor Pat Riddell told the Irish Times. “On one hand, you have big pushes like the Wild Atlantic Way and the recent visit of Star Wars; on the other, you only have to drive a few miles to have a beach or a road completely to yourself. It’s a warm-hearted place, but wilderness always feels just a stone’s throw away. And it is wilderness… world-class wilderness. We think it’s due a big year.”

The announcement was received with great pride by Failte Ireland, with spokesperson Orla Carroll commenting, “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.” ♦

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