Cumann Thír Chonaill - Baile Átha Cliath

Donegal Association - Dublin

Donegal Person Of The Year

It is with great excitement that we announce community activist and businessman, Stephen McCahill as the Donegal Person of the Year 2016

The 2016 Donegal Person of the Year is Ardara community activist and businessman Stephen McCahill!

Stephen is Chairman of the Ardara Heritage Centre and the Ardara Community Centre and is a former Chairperson, Secretary and PRO of the Ardara Parish Council. Stephen is involved in the famous Corner House Pub in Ardara.

It is evident from Stephen’s involvement in the many committees and projects that he has spent much of his adult life giving freely of his personal time to keeping his local area alive and vibrant, said the Donegal Association in making the announcement. He has helped develop and sustain tourism, heritage, culture and rural life through numerous projects, festivals, initiatives and enterprises. He has helped to highlight and promote all that is good in our county.

Stephen is the third in the family of Packie McCahill and Eileen (nee Gallagher) from Ardara, Stephen’s mother still resides outside Glenties. He was born in 1959 and grew up in Glenties and attended St. Columba’s Comprehensive School in Glenties and the Regional College in Letterkenny.

Stephen worked with Lyons Tea as a national sales representative and later became a quality control officer with Moracrete in Clondalkin. In 1981 Stephen moved back to Donegal where he took up a position as quality control manager with Campbell Seafoods in Killybegs and spent six years with the company. He later worked with Joe Murrin as a marketing manager. In 1991 Stephen set up his own company Glenard Fish which organised the sales of fresh fish. Stephen is still involved in the fishing industry in Killybegs.

Stephen is married to Marietta and they have two children, Steven and Gemma.

Stephen has endeavoured through various roles and initiatives to positively promote Donegal and in particular Glenties, Ardara, Portnoo and Killybegs as an area in which to visit, work and live.

Ardara was voted The Irish Times Best Village to Live in Ireland in 2012, it is volunteers like Stephen who work so hard in promoting Ardara that the town was awarded such an accolade. Stephen was one of the founding members of the Cup O’ Tae Festival and is currently Chairman of the Cup O’Tae Festival Committee. It was a new festival for new May Bank Holiday in 2001 and 15 years later it is still going stronger than ever.

In 2015 Stephen McCahill assisted in the rebuilding and redevelopment of the Ardara Town Website. He is a member of the Editorial Committee of ‘Duchas’ which saw the second edition launched successfully before Christmas replacing the annual Parish Magazine ‘Dearcadh’. Stephen was instrumental in the setting up of an editorial committee for ‘Duchas’ which was first published in December 2015.

He is Chairman of Ardara Traders Association, this group runs and supports a calendar of festivals and events each year in Ardara which has earned it the title of the ‘Festival Town’. Among the festivals which the Traders Association support are the Ardara Country & Western Music Festival, Ardara Walking Festival and St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Ardara Wild Atlantic Way Week, The Johnny Doherty Irish Traditional Music & Dancing Weekend and The Matchmaking Festival.

Stephen is heavily involved in the GAA Club in Ardara who recently hosted the Comórtas Peil na Gaeltachta in 2015. He was Club Treasurer for fourteen years and Club Chairman for four years. He remained in the role of Chairman for the construction and completion of state of the art dressing rooms, function rooms, a new pitch, flood lighting, disabled facilities and a 250 seater stand. The All Ireland Gaeltacht Finals was a huge event which involved welcoming, accommodating and entertaining numerous teams and hundreds of supporters to Ardara. Stephen was instrumental in organising this event. At the request of the Donegal GAA County Board Stephen was asked to manage the Sam Maguire Cup in 1992 and again in 2012. During this time he coordinated the distribution of the cup. This was a most demanding role given the huge demand for Sam Maguire through the length and breadth of county.

Stephen is very honoured to be chosen as the recipient of the Donegal Person of the Year and feels extremely privileged that he has been chosen as the 2016 Donegal Person of the Year and acknowledges the quality of the Past Persons of the Year and spoke of the high respect that he holds Deirdre McGlone (Outgoing Person of the Year) in. He remembers fondly attending the Donegal Person of the Year functions in the past and is very excited about the year ahead.

Stephen is very passionate about the promotion of our county and is very passionate about community involvement and the importance of keeping the community alive and vibrant. He believes a community needs to be kept alive and there is no place better than your own people and your own community.

Past Recipients of Donegal Persons of the Year:

2015…………………………………………………………….Deirdre Mc Glone
2014…………………………………………………………….Moya Doherty
2013…………………………………………………………….Liam Ó Cuinneagáin
2012…………………………………………………………….Jim McGuinness
2011…………………………………………………………….Hugh Green & Ann Marie Ward
2010 ……………………………………………………………Brian Friel
2009 ……………………………………………………………Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh
2008…………………………………………………………….Joe Mulholland
2007…………………………………………………………….John Carr
2006…………………………………………………………….Margo O’Donnell
2005 ……………………………………………………………Michael O’Donnell
2004 ……………………………………………………………Fr Michael Sweeney
2003…………………………………………………………….Jim McGettigan
2002 ……………………………………………………………Brid Rogers
2001…………………………………………………………….Patsy McGonagle
2000…………………………………………………………….Sir Gerry Robinson
1999…………………………………………………………….Joe Murrin
1998 ……………………………………………………………Paddy Harte
1997…………………………………………………………….Sean McGinley
1996 ……………………………………………………………Hugh Gallagher
1995 ……………………………………………………………Sean McEniff
1994 ……………………………………………………………Seán Ó hEochaidh
1993 ……………………………………………………………Charlie Bennett
1992 ……………………………………………………………Brian McEniff
1991 ……………………………………………………………Tomás Mac Fhionnghaile
1990…………………………………………………………….Packie Bonnar
1989 ……………………………………………………………Daniel O’Donnell
1988…………………………………………………………….Fergus Cleary
1987 ……………………………………………………………Eamonn Doherty
1986 ……………………………………………………………Danny McDaid
1985…………………………………………………………….Peter McLean
1984 ……………………………………………………………Cannon Tommy Doherty
1983…………………………………………………………….Willie Joe Cunningham
1982…………………………………………………………….Áine Ní Ghiolla Bhríde
1981 ……………………………………………………………Donal K O’Boyle
1980…………………………………………………………….Dermot Walsh
1979 ……………………………………………………………Larry Smith
1978 ……………………………………………………………Fr. James McDver

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