The 2018 Mary from Dungloe, Caroline O'Donnell at McElhinney's Beauty Lounge, Ballybofey PICTURE: MATT BRITTON
Fifty one years after its inception the Mary from Dungloe Festival proved a winner once again from every perspective - commercial, the hospitality sectors and the pure entertainment value.
This year a local girl from out on the hillside of Leffin was the very popular choice with the community, the judges and her fellow contestants.
Caroline O'Donnell , a 25 year old Master of Science graduate was crowned the 2018 May from Dungloe on Sunday night last in the packed Ionaid Spoirt na Rossann.
Like all her fellow contestants Caroline performed with great poise and sense of humour throughout a very busy ten days - indeed each and every participant displayed great talent, ability and enthusiasm and really were a great credit to the youth
From a business point of view Dungloe was booming as were nearby towns and villages as tourists and indeed many of our own countymen and women discovered that the Wild Atlantic Way does not end at Sliabh Liag. .
Joseph McColgan of the Waterfront Hotel told the Democrat, “To be perfectly honest we did not think that last year's festival could be surpassed but we are well up on last year and we have noticed that apart from the many visitors Donegal people are now beginning to discover their own county.
“From a long term perspective it has been a great showcase for the Rosses and with TG4 going out on Saturday with the crowning ceremony it really is a win win situation.”
Keith Neary of the Stepping Stone echoed McColgan's comments saying that it had been their busiest period to date. “Our restaurant has now really taken off and I can see us adding another dimension to this at the end of the season.”
Guest houses in the town and the outlying districts all reported full houses and retail outlets recorded their best week in many years.
One seasoned observer of the festival Pat the Cope Gallagher remarked, “I have seen them all and this has been one of the most enjoyable in years. The theme “Local Heroes” was indeed very apt - we just have so many here in the Rosses.”