Donegal gets a lift at the Holiday fair
BY PADDY WALSH
Those who were doing their utmost to promote the virtues of Donegal as a holiday destination could have fitted quite comfortably into the luxury Gold Service coach which took pride of place close to the main door of the R.D.S. Simmonscourt pavilion. And comfortable was the word as Joe Mangan of Mangan Tours, the coach operators, was keen to stress to those patrons who stopped to have a look during the annual Holiday World Show in Dublin over the weekend.
"We've had some confirmed bookings already as a result of being here. It's the first time we've exhibited at the show and it's been very well worth while," said Joe.
Not content with simply bringing along brochures to the event, he opted for the full monty - giving potential customers the chance to prove the point of the additional leg room and comfort on offer in the ‘Gold Service' coach.
"We took out eleven of the seats to help create the extra leg room - you can definitely see the difference," insisted Joe who was acccompanied at the Mangan Tours stand by Padraig Harkin.
Donegal International Airport personnel were also flying their colours at the show but being unable to get a plane into the pavilion had Pauline Sweeney and Grace Mulligan on hand to help persuade would-be customers that this was the way to travel to and from the county.
"We're pushing the boat out on everything," declared Pauline. Well, perhaps not the boat, but with a few special offers for anyone booking over the three days of the Holiday Show and the promise of packaged tours for holidaymakers once they got to Donegal, it might just have been plane sailing for those attempting to sell the idea.
"We obviously had problems last year what with the ash cloud and the bad weather but we hope this year is going to be busier. We want to get it out there that Donegal Airport is still going strong," said Pauline.
Commented Grace: "We're selling the whole county, not just the airport. It's a matter of getting them to Donegal - it doesn't matter how."
At the stand displaying the attractions and events in Glencolmcille, Margaret Cunningham was spinning a few yarns, in one sense literally, but in the wider context far from it. The manager of the popular Folk Village was extolling what's on offer and what will be in the picturesque area.
That was already achieved through a recent edition of R.T.E.'s ‘Nationwide' programme and Margaret considered that it had proved extremely beneficial to the locality. "It got a great reaction and we've had people coming to us telling us that they saw us featured on television. All great publicity and the show is doing the same."
The Glen contingent at Holiday World 2011 included Liam O Chuinneagain, who was highlighting Oideas Gael, involving courses for adults in Irish language and culture; and David Gillespie who was also manning the Folk Village stand. In addition, the Glencolmcille Hillwalking Centre was being promoted.
And when not operating the beautifully crafted spinning wheel, Margaret took up the fiddle to help entertain the masses on Saturday, joined later by two Dublin based musicians, Ronal Galvin and Michael Cherry, both of whom can boast strong Donegal parental links.
Bundoran, too, wasn't being left behind when it came to promoting all it had to offer - quite a lot if the promotional material was anything to go by.
The enthusiastic pairing of Aisling Harris and Naomh Hamill were also there to fill in the gaps for visitors to the stall and, potentially, to the well known resort town.
"It's going really well but we're looking to promote the entire county and not just Bundoran. We thought there might be more Donegal stalls here," said Aisling.
One of Bundoran's top facilities is, of course, Waterworld and coming attractions there include a space bowl slide, galleon ship, multi-slide and toddler pool.
"All in the pipeline," as Aisling aptly put it.