Donegal Rose of Tralee contestant Niamh Duggan
Our lovely Donegal Rose this year is Niamh Duggan from the island of Tory. We are certain she will be a great ambassador for Donegal on the night
What's your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend out in Donegal?
My perfect weekend would definitely involve a day’s shopping in Letterkenny, a day to visit one of the many beautiful beaches in Donegal- Knockalla and Marble Hill being two of my favourites, a night out in Donegal Town simply because the atmosphere is just so great and I would finish that weekend with a drive to Killybegs, Glencolmcille and Glengesh - it is the most relaxing drive with some truly breathtaking views.
Who has made the greatest contribution to Donegal in your lifetime - and why?
There are countless people in Donegal who inspire me everyday. I think that if I had to name anyone it would be Jim McGuinness. I gained the utmost respect for Jim after watching his interview on the ‘Late, Late Show.’ He spoke about his life journey, his family, how he dealt with losing his two brothers, his love of the GAA, football and Donegal. During that interview I think everyone who was watching felt like they knew him on a more personal level as we could all relate to him. What stands out to me the most about him is his drive and commitment for improvement and development, not just as a sportsman but as a person. He also spoke about how he went back to education to sit his leaving cert after leaving school at 15. McGuinness sets a great example for young people as he is forever trying to better himself. A few weeks ago, my uncle John was driving to Letterkenny where there had been an accident and who was standing out directing traffic? Jim McGuinness himself. I think that story alone says it all. That alone goes to show the kind of person he is. That alone is a contribution to the community of Donegal. Everything else he has done and continues to do for Donegal is what makes Jim McGuinness the legend that he is.
What's your first Donegal memory?
My first Donegal memory would have to be in my home place on Tory Island. I have many happy memories from when I was youngster of walking through the field to my Granny’s house and walking down to the shore, Port Teilg, which is my favourite beach on Tory.
What's your favourite part of the county - and why?
My number one place will always be my small island off the coast of Donegal, Tory Island. It’s where I grew up, it’s where my family lives, I have so many happy memories there and I love going home to see everybody. When you’re away for a while, it makes you appreciate what you have at home. If you want to experience Irish culture and the wild Atlantic way at its utmost, go to Tory Island. I do love other parts of our wonderful county as well.
Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
The first local author who springs to mind would be one of my professors in NUIG, Lillis Ó Laoire.
If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Donegal, what would it be?
I don’t think there’s much I would change about my beautiful Donegal. As we say in Irish “Tá mo chroí istigh ann.” However, I do think we could do with better roads in the west in particular.