Deirdre McGlone named as Donegal Person of the Year 2015!
Business women, Deirdre Mc Glone, has dedicated her life to promoting Donegal at home and abroad and it is with great excitement that we announce her as the Donegal Person of the Year 2015.
Hotelier Deirdre Mc Glone, owner of the award-winning Harvey’s Point Hotel, will be presented with her award at a gala ball in March. The announcement was held in The Black Door Piano Bar on Harcourt Street in Dublin by the Donegal Association in the capital.
Ballintra native Deirdre is the second youngest of the late Joe and Sally Mc Glone’s six children. She travels all over the world to entice tourists to visit her native county. She went to the University of Limerick to study European Studies and later started working as a receptionist in Harvey’s Point. The award winning hotel located on Lough Eske just outside Donegal Town was originally owned by Swiss brothers Jody and Marc Gysling. Deirdre married Marc Gysling in 1996 and the couple bought the hotel and have successfully run it for the past 19 years. They have 3 children, Carl, James & Cristina.
Deirdre has been part of the Harvey’s Point journey from the beginning. Fine Gael Minister Joe McHugh TD was among the first to congratulate Deridre. “I would like to extend a warm and heartfelt congratulation to Deirdre on being awarded Donegal Person of the Year this evening. I have had the pleasure of meeting Deirdre on a number of occasions and I know she is fully deserving of tonight’s award. Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Donegal, the natural beauty of the landscape a huge attraction for visitors and this highlighted by the great success of the Wild Atlantic Way, with three key signature points in Donegal on the route. The award-winning Harvey’s Point is renowned for ensuring that tourists have an extremely memorable experience in Donegal and the incredible work Deirdre and her team do every day is without doubt, to the benefit of the County,” he said.
Harvey’s Point has grown from strength to strength over the past 26 years and what started off as 20 bedrooms and a small restaurant has become a well renowned four star establishment and has seen phenomenal growth over the years. Today, the hotel boasts 64 suites, employs 130 staff and has recently launched ‘The Lodge @ Harvey’s Point’, located on the grounds of the hotel for special interest groups. Deirdre and her team use local suppliers from the Donegal town region and beyond to source the produce for the hotel. The hotel has been awarded the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award for Number One Hotel in Ireland in 2013, 2014 & 2015 and ranks the 6th Best Hotel in Europe and the 18th Best Hotel in The World in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards 2015.
Deirdre firmly believes in promoting Donegal as a tourist destination and with the high quality of service which the team in Harvey’s Point provides to all guests they are constantly promoting and strengthening the tourist industry in Donegal on a national and international level. She regularly travels to the US & Canada and multiple locations in Europe including the UK, Germany & Switzerland. In recent time her key focus has been to promote the Donegal section of the Wild Atlantic Way and has also led in the design and print of ‘The Green Guide to Donegal and the Northwest’. She is a superb ambassador for our home county during her travels to ensure Donegal is recognised as a serious tourist destination at all times.
Recently, Deirdre was appointed as a member of Industry Leaders Group by Minister for Tourism as representative of the tourism trade in helping to shape government policy from 2015 to 2025. This Tourism Policy Statement ‘People, Place and Policy – Growing Tourism to 2025’ was set up by the Minister for Tourism Paschal Donohoe and Junior Minister Michael Ring. The group meets once a month to outline an action plan to meet the objectives of the Tourism Policy Statement which is to have 10 million visitors to Ireland by 2025 and to increase employment in the tourist sector to 250,000. Deirdre plays a key role in ensuring that Donegal is well represented in the strategy to increase visitor numbers to the island of Ireland and Donegal in particular.
Deidre is a volunteer with ACORNS (Accelerating the Creation of Rural Nascent Start-ups, this programme is funded under the CEDRA 2015 Rural Innovation and Development Fund through the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM). Through this organisation, she helps early stage female entrepreneurs, living in rural Ireland with the knowledge, support and networking opportunities to meet and even exceed their current aspirations. As a Lead Entrepreneur, Deirdre believes in the philosophy of entrepreneurs supporting entrepreneurs and she gives her time to assist others on a voluntary basis. These voluntary Lead Entrepreneurs are the backbone of the ACORNS initiative and are entrepreneurs with businesses based in rural Ireland. She is also involved with Going For Growth for Women in Business, which is the brainchild of Paula Fitzsimons who put it forward in response to an initiative on women and entrepreneurship proposed by the NDP Gender Equality Unit in the then Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.
Despite her busy schedule, Deirdre still finds some time to dedicate to various charity organisations to help those who need it most. She is involved in the Annual Hospitality Charity Climb where a group of hoteliers get together to raise money for different charities such as Canteen Ireland, Hospitality Trust, Irish Cancer Society, Laura Lynn Foundation and Debra Ireland. In the past 10 years, almost 100k has been raised. She also supports the RNLI through various fundraising activities. Both the Donegal and the North West Hospices benefit from proceeds being donated from the Annual Burns Supper held in Harvey’s Point. In 2012 & 2013, Harvey’s Point was official sponsor of The Donegal Bluestack Challenge, raising funds for the Bluestack Foundation to assist people with special needs. In 2015, the chosen charities were Irish Motor Neurone Disease Ireland and Cancer Care West. For 2016, the chosen charities are Pieta House and the North West Simon Community.
Last year’s winner of the Donegal Person of the Year, Moya Doherty attended the Official Announcement and reflected on her time as the recipient of this prestigious award. She said it was a great honour for her and her family to receive such an award and how it brought huge pride to them. Moya thanked the Donegal Association for their support over the year.
Deirdre McGlone will be inaugurated as The Donegal Person of the Year 2015 at the Annual Gala Ball on Saturday 5th March in the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, Dublin 9. This promises to be a very special night with the excitement already starting to build after the announcement on Tuesday night! Tickets are limited so please contact 087 2439317 to reserve your tickets or they are also available online on our website.