Donegal Camino 2022 raises €50,500 for Cancer Care West Services in Donegal
Diary date Donegal Camino 2023 – 3rd to 9th September 2023
The second Donegal Camino has raised €50,500 for Cancer Care West services in Donegal. The vision of Carndonagh native Peggy Stringer who’s now Dublin based, Peggy came together with her friends Donegal Person of the Year Noel Cunningham and former owner of Harvey’s Point Deirdre to create the 7 day hike from Inishowen to Slieve Liag Cliffs just over 2 years ago. The rapidly growing Donegal Camino is fast becoming the most popular walk in Ireland and since its foundation in 2020 has generated €76,500 for Cancer Care West Services in Donegal.
On average 65 walkers joined the walk daily from all across Donegal and the North West along with walkers from Dublin, the Midlands, Clare, Galway and of course Northern Ireland. This year also saw walkers from Scotland and North America which highlights its growth. They each had their personal Camino wishes and challenges to undertake over the 7 days while the burning desires of all was to raise money for Cancer Care West in Donegal and experience the unique camaraderie and hospitality of the Donegal Camino.
The 2022 Donegal Camino took walkers through the stunning Urris Hills of Inishowen on Day 1 which was followed by a breath taking walk of coastal beauty on the Rosguill Penninsula on the second day before climbing Muckish Mountain on Day 3. A unique island experience generated many surprises on the scenic Gaeltacht island of Gabhla where walkers got a surprise performance from the enchanting Maireád Ní Mhaoinaigh of Altan. She is also Údarás na Gaeltachta’s artist in residence in GTeic Gaoith Dóbhair. Gallaghers Bakehouse and Harvey’s Point came off shore too for the island mystery tour and together delivered a delicious walkers picnic on Gabhla while everyone being entertained by Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh.
The second half of the week took the 2022 Donegal Camino walkers through the picturesque scenery and stunning sand dunes of the Sheskinmore Nature Reserve which was followed on Day 6 by a lovely hike in Drimarone along the Clogher and Disert Valleys at the foot of the famous Bluestack Mountains close to Donegal Town.
The finale which saw the Donegal Camino number of walkers peak at 82 was of course on Europe’s highest seacliffs, Sliabh Liag in South West Donegal on the Wild Altantic Way. The sun shone brightly from a cloudless sky and gave the perfect finish to what was another inspiring and splendid Donegal Camino.
Guided by Donegal’s John Mc Groary of John’s Walking Ireland and his team of guides Joe Coyle, Denis Sheridan and Michael Devaney, the 2022 Donegal Camino was also supported by many of Donegal’s high profile personalities who took to the highways and bi ways of their beloved Donegal with vigour. They included singer Mickey Joe Harte who entertained everyone along the Rosguill Penninsula. The Inspiring Guide Dog owner Jennifer Doherty from Buncranna also joined this year’s Donegal Camino while adventurer Jason Black joined the climb of Muckish and shared valuable safety tips from his worldwide adventures with walkers. Altan’s Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh enchanted all on Gabhla island. The late Fr Quinn from Donegal Town was remembered throughout the week for his walking ambitions and the trails he followed. While Donegal’s strong Celtic Connection with Scotland was also visible on this years Donegal Camino with musicians Seamus O Sullivan and Kieran Hepburn from Glasgow travelling to entertain walkers for the latter half of the week.
“We’re blown away by the resounding success of our second Donegal Camino,” says Donegal Person of the Year, Noel Cunningham who himself walked, laughed, sang and entertained walkers throughout the week. “I’m a patron of Cancer Care West and to experience the heartfelt support and see the resounding donation of €50,500 this year, fills my heart with joy. It will help so many cancer patients and their families across our wonderful county, and I’m so proud of everyone and to be part of this very unique Camino experience”.
“We were blessed with brilliant weather and a wonderful group of walkers from all over Ireland this year, which yet again gives me such encouragement and excitement for the future of the Donegal Camino,” says Peggy Stringer, founder and visionary of the Donegal Camino. She went on to say, “This was originally a simple idea I had to raise funds for Cancer Care West in my beloved Donegal as a close friend was suffering because of the scourge of cancer. Coming together with Noel and Deirdre has brought the Donegal Camino to potentially be Ireland’s number 1 walking event in the very near future.”
Former owner of Harvey’s Point, Deirdre McGlone says, “Donegal has the most beautiful scenery, the best walking and I’ve always known we have the warmest welcome for our visitors to the Northwest. The combination of these ingredients along with our fantastic hospitality sector has once again shown the beauty and brilliance of Donegal. The Donegal Camino is putting our county on the map for first class walking and hiking and this year saw walkers join us from Milwaukee in the US which is hugely encouraging”.
Richard Flaherty CEO of Cancer Care West, walked with the 2022 Donegal Camino and thanked the organisers for their huge efforts in creating such a successful and unique walking event and for the generous donation. “We are beyond grateful for this magnificent donation of €50,500 from the Donegal Camino. In 2021 the Cancer Support Centre in Letterkenny provided support to over 250 people affected by cancer. All services are provided free of charge and we rely completely on fundraising and voluntary contributions to run the centre. This sizeable donation from the Donegal Camino will certainly bring much comfort to many of Donegal’s cancer patients and their families in the year ahead.”
The Cancer Care West Support Centre in Letterkenny offers a range of services including Oncology advice & information, individual counselling, Reflexology & Manual Lymphatic drainage. The centre operates on both a drop-in basis and also an appointment basis.
The organisers of the Donegal Camino are extremely grateful to all those who participated in this years walk making it such a success. Sincere gratitude and appreciation is also expressed to those who volunteered of their time, made donations along with the wonderful partners who supported the successful walk including Gallagher’s Bakehouse, Harvey’s Point, Vodafone Donegal, Kieran and Jacinta Kelly, Sliabh Liag Distillers and Dúlamán, Mulroy Bay Gin and Póitín, Donegal Airport and state agencies Údarás na Gaeltachta and Fáilte Ireland. Gratitude is also expressed to Carndonagh Brass Band, Lorna Henry and the Inishowen Honora Choir and the Mc Nelis Cunningham School of Dancing’s Cian Mc Ginley, Ciara Mc Kelvey and Ellie Campbell and artist Sinead Smyth who will compete in the World Championships in Canada in 2023.
Such is the support and enthusiasm for the Donegal Camino, that the committee are already hard at work planning the 2023 event which will take place from the 3rd to the 9th of September 2023. The Donegal Camino organising committee includes Peggy Stringer, founder and visionary and owner of Monkstown Skincare Clinic, Donegal Person of the Year, Noel Cunningham, Deirdre McGlone owner of Le Moulin Sur Celé in France and former owner of Harvey’s Point and Noreen D’Arcy, D’Arcy Marketing & PR, Galway who’s strong Donegal Connections.
Stay tuned to Social Media and the website www.donegalcamino.ie for launch details of Donegal Camino 2023.