Annual Gala Ball 5th March 2016
On Saturday night the 5th March, hundreds turned out to honour Deirdre Mc Glone as the 2015 Donegal Person of the Year.
Deirdre was joined by her family, friends and many people from Donegal especially Ballintra, Donegal Town and the surrounding areas. Many of the well-known hotelier’s friends and colleagues from the tourism industry also joined her in celebrating this special accolade. The evening kicked off with a wine and gin reception in the Regency Suite and from then onwards there was a very special atmosphere for the whole event!
Siobhan Shovlin, MC for the night, kicked off the proceedings shortly after 8pm in the Regency Hotel and paid tribute to the past persons of the year in attendance including John Carr, Joe Mulholland, Anne Marie Ward and Moya Doherty. Hugh Harkin, President of the Association, paid tribute to the outgoing Donegal Person of the Year Moya Doherty. Hugh spoke of the fact that this is the first time in the 38 years of the award that two women have been recipients back to back. He highlighted the importance of recognising entrepreneurs and business people in our county as they contribute so much.
Cathaoirleach, Elaine Caffrey addressed the crowd and thanked all in attendance including the sponsors and media for their continued support. On a sadder note Elaine remembered the late Charlie ‘Dora’ McGinley from Annagry who was such a familiar face at the ticket collection point for many years. Charlie sadly passed away before Christmas but his family attended the event on Saturday night. Elaine spoke of the hard working committee who put the evening together and the Regency Hotel for their support and dedication to making the night run so smoothly.
The lady of the moment, Deirdre later addressed the crowd and spoke about how she never envisaged winning such an accolade and spoke of her desire to continue putting Donegal on the map as a tourist destination. She thanked the committee of the Donegal Association for choosing her and assured them that she would do all in her power to continue promoting the county she loves so much. She paid tribute to her own family and all those who help in the smooth running of her establishment. She spoke of her three children who were present on the night and who later presented Deirdre with a birthday cake for her 50th birthday. She spoke about her daughter Christina’s ambitions to fill her shoes in years to come and that she should have no difficulty in doing so. Deirdre said that we really have it all in Donegal and our people are so special and referred to how proud she is to be a Donegal person and stated that her ‘feet may wander but they will always return back home to Donegal’.
This year, there was a special dimension to the Gala Ball as there was a special prize for ‘The Best Dressed Lady’. The winner was Lianne Mc Crea from Donegal Town who wore a fantastic navy lace sleeved dress. Lianne walked away with a pampering voucher, dinner for two and a bottle of champagne. There was a charity raffle held on the night with proceeds going to Pieta House, who hope to set up a centre in the Northwest in the coming years, this was a very worthy cause indeed as proceeds are being ring-fenced for the centre in the Northwest.
After the meal the wonderful Noel Cunningham introduced the interval acts Eamonn Gillespie and Roly Daniels who are regular performers at the Summer Cabarets in Harvey’s Point. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed singing along to the fantastic entertainment. The night was truly fantastic from start to finish with so many special moments for Deirdre and her guests which they will cherish for many years to come. On the stroke of midnight, Deirdre’s children brought out a cake for their mother who celebrated her 50th birthday on the Sunday. The Paul and Mary B Band kept the guests entertained late into the night and ensured the dancefloor was full at all times for the final part of this special night.
The Donegal Association in Dublin are delighted and proud to have Deirdre as their ambassador for the year ahead.