Cumann Thír Chonaill - Baile Átha Cliath

Donegal Association - Dublin

Donegal Person Of The Year

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.


Moya Doherty, a native of Pettigo, has been named Donegal Person of the Year for 2014.

Moya was born in Pettigo and lived there until she was seven years old with her parents and four brothers & sisters. Her parents were both teachers and taught locally in the area. All the family moved to Dublin in 1964, however, they spent every summer in Dungloe with her cousins. Both her parents worked very hard to succeed and Moya credits her Donegal roots with giving her a very strong work ethic and determination to succeed.

Moya started work in RTÉ initially as a secretary, however she went on to hold a number of roles ranging from broadcast assistant to researcher/presenter and she eventually came back to work as producer/director after having spent some working in London during the 1980s. In this role as producer she excelled showing her ability to foster and grow an idea and really bring it to life. She has been involved in theatre, radio and television production and presentation, both in Ireland and internationally during her career. She has fronted a number of RTÉ arts, features and documentary programmes. As executive producer, Moya produced a number of charity telethons, the Eurovision Song Contest and the televising of the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics 2003.

She was also director of Tyrone Productions, one of Ireland’s leading independent television production companies. She was a founding member of the popular Today FM radio station. Most recently, she was appointed as chair of the new RTÉ board.

Moya was the creator and commissioning producer of Riverdance, the worldwide acclaimed theatrical phenomenon, which premiered in Dublin’s Point Theatre. Riverdance originated as an interval performance during the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. It was an immediate success and received a standing ovation on the night. That was only the start of its success. Later that year, the BBC commissioned a repeat performance of the act for the 1994 Royal Variety Show.

Shortly afterwards husband and wife production team John McColgan and Moya Doherty expanded it into a stage show, which opened in Dublin on 9 February 1995. The show ran for five weeks and was a sell-out with ticket sales of over 120,000.

During the second half of 1995 Riverdance performed a four-week season at The Apollo at Hammersmith before returning to the Point Theatre Dublin for another six-week sellout season before again returning to The Apollo at Hammersmith for another six-week season which again was a sell out. After successful runs in many other European cities,  Riverdance travelled to New York City to perform at the legendary Radio City Music Hall in March 1996, marking the start of an eight-week sell out season there. This was the first time the show had been performed in America. Riverdance continues to be performed all over the world to this day and is still a huge success.


Liam Ó Cuinneagáin, a native of Gleann Cholmcille, was named Donegal Person of the Year for 2013. The announcement was held in Dublin’s Mansion House on Monday 20th January much to the delight of the gathered audience. Liam has received many awards and praise for his dedication and effort in promoting the Irish language and his locality of Gleann Cholm Cille. He works tirelessly to promote both at every possible opportunity. Through his work, he has created employment in his hometown and surrounding areas and helped generate much needed revenue for the area.

Liam attended the announcement with his wife, Anne, family and many close friends. He said he was over-whelmed to receive such an accolade. He was truly grateful to be honoured as Pearsa Thír Chonaill, an award that is greatly valued by people in Donegal. He said that he would like to accept this special award on behalf of everyone who is involved in strengthening and promoting the Irish language, especially those in Gaeltacht regions throughout Ireland.

Liam Ó Cuinneagáin was inaugurated as The Donegal Person of the Year 2013 at the Annual Gala Ball on Saturday 1st March in the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, Dublin 9.

Jim McGuinness was awarded Donegal Person of the Year 2012.

A packed Mansion House in Dublin’s Dawson Street hosted the event with McGuinness, joined by his wife Yvonne, thanking the Association for the honour bestowed on him.

In a moving acceptance speech, Jim McGuinness said he was deeply honoured and accepted the award on behalf of the Donegal players and management team.

Paying tribute to Jim McGuinness, the Mayor of Dublin, Naoise Ó Muirí, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, revealed that for the first time ever, the Donegal flag had flown over the Mansion House on September 23rd after Donegal’s victory.

Martin McGettigan, President and Sorcha Ni Dhomnaill, chairperson, of the Donegal Association in Dublin, paid tribute to Jim McGuinness and to the 2011 joint winners.


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