Pride of All
We thought it would be fun to retrace our steps through some videos we made about the county over the years since 2008. In these years we produced the Donegal App (2012-2017) and usually released a promo video each year to go with its expansion in the tour guides added to it. The other big event we covered was the county winning the All Ireland in 2012. This certainly got our creative juices working overtime and we hope there might be one or two surprises from back then that you might enjoy. The cameo of a certain famous TV legend still makes us smile a lot.
Originally prepared for #LoveDonegal on Twitter in September 2022, the overkill of sunset shots, videos in portrait format, lazy commercial plugs, usual Twitter suspects and the politically aggrieved were soon using up the cyber real estate of the occasion. This one day forum was not the arena for our sort of videos that can take a wee bit of time to get going, so we skipped over the cyber wall and left them to it. Ah well, if you’re reading this far sure why not have a look below and see for yourself? Warning: we’ll require your attention span for more than the six seconds limit on most social media these days!
Our list below is in order of personal preference. Some videos were definitely more popular than others. I rated them on whether they successfully achieved the ‘I am completely and totally filled with Donegal Love’ after watching it. You may disagree with the order of merit, but hopefully you’ll agree with the overall intention. They were supposed to have the viewer wanting to get to Donegal ASAP and to savour its many wonders. Please share if enjoyed.
The Top Ten
No. 10. Doagh Famine Village
We’ve always been big fans what Pat ‘Doagh’ Doherty and his sister Majella have done with the Doagh Famine Village. Don’t mind the sniffy D4 types who caused a 24 hour Twitter forore in 2021 over what Pat presents up here. This is top class entertainment and education with proper hospitality thrown in for good measure.
Hopefully our video from 2009 shows the village and indeed Pat in an accurate light. We did miss out on the Elf’s disco he throws on at Christmas, so see that in person with the kids. Pat and Majella have been great supporters of my time up in Inishowen and were always most welcoming. We don’t forget things like that Pat and Madge – long may you both thrive with the village and the disco!
No. 9. Donegal’s Hallowed Sites
This project started off life in 2012 as ‘Donegal’s Greatest Shrines’ on the Donegal App. It had always been our favourite of the eight tours on offer on that app, so when it came down in 2018, we were keen to resurrect it at some point, but turbo charge it somehow. I wanted there to be audio to match the scenery of the county. It was a big ask, but I got lucky in my efforts.
National Heritage Week 2021 was the time I chose to repackage it, but with full audio and a few surprises thrown in. Each of the 25 places referenced had a local talk about that site, be it Moya Brennan talking about her father’s pub or Michael Murphy talking about MacCumhaill Park. In total we have an eight hour soundscape of the county on Spotify.
No. 8. Bumping into a legend
The night before the 2012 All Ireland football final had half of Donegal in Dublin. Out in The Goat Inn at a function, I bumped into the sporting legend that was Mr. Memory himself, Jimmy Magee. Considering we were all there to support another Jimmy and his 15 players, I knew I couldn’t let the occasion go without borrowing Jimmy to say a few words on the big day in Croke Park and the result accompanies this piece.
However, lest Donegal lost that day, I wanted to cover all bases. Jimmy was good enough to even say a few words to Jimmy McGuinness in the event that they lost which can be viewed here. Both pieces showcase the great man in free flow and full of his immense charm.
No. 7. Leap of Faith
Against the odds, Leap Day 2012 saw the official launch of the Donegal App. At the time, it had only five tours, had a very basic website, a rather naff logo, no turn-by-turn guidance, no audio or video and only this somewhat zany promo video to accompany the launch. It was done on a budget of zilch by one fellow then living up in the wilds of Inishowen, with no support from either the Council or the State via Failte Ireland.
It is a bit nuts to view now, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Had I been signed up to the powers that be, no doubt it would have been vetoed for being too off the wall. A big debt of gratitude however goes to Ludwig von Beethoven for his magnificent music!
No. 6. Forget Arthur, salute Jim
You have to remember that when this video came out, it was September 2012 and Ireland was still lumbered with the attempt by Guinness to inflict a backdoor Paddy’s Day called Arthur’s Day. We were all supposed to be drinking at 17:59 to salute Arthur. Only a complete tonk couldn’t see it was an attempt to get folk drinking their brew good and early.
The great recent win in Croker set me up for a chance to forget Arthur’s Day and make the date Jim’s Day instead, complete with iconic Guinness ad words and music. It’s a slow build up, but we think the lads work nicely with those black and white horses riding on a wave. Sláinte!
Into the Top Five...
No. 5. Wild Thing, I think I love you
For 2014, to coincide with the official launch of the Wild Atlantic Way, we rebooted our 2012 tour of the Wild Atlantic (yep, two years before Fáilte Ireland got their act together!) and combined some places that are marked along the official route together with our own favourites along the way.
Fond memories of the massive waves up in Malin Head were used to great effect as a bookending of the video. Donegal has the longest coast in Ireland and definitely the wildest, so a big brash video was in order. The material was there, it just needed The Troggs to help elevate it somewhat.
No. 4. Skywalker in the back garden
After the 2014 Kerry All Ireland defeat and the news that Star Wars was to film there, I’d decided it was time for Donegal to have a say. The original 2014 video imagined that George Lucas had based all his Star Wars characters on famous Donegal folk. The original video went down well, but bigger news was to come when lo and behold, Lucasfilm wanted to film on my humble 55 acres of scrubland up in Malin Head.
I was selling up at the time, but I felt compelled to give the iconic peninsula its moment of glory in Hollywood and so a deal was struck. Yes yes, I know all about the recent sale and good luck to all involved. Shame the film was crap, but I’m very proud of rebooting the video to take into account what’d occurred.
No. 3. Bog Road Blues
For years I’d come back to Donegal via the dreary Pettigo road. The same two magic moments occurred every time: 1) seeing the Bluestacks and 2) seeing Donegal Bay. In my head, I knew there was a story I’d have to tell about the highs and lows of coming along that never-ending road.
Rebooting The Bluestack Way audio guide in 2022 gave me the opportunity to do just that. With audio and video in the bag in June, I’d work on the road that summer, but was keen to have a finished video by September. It has just come out and while one person has described it as ‘brave’ I’d like to think it is both honest and hopefully a fitting tribute to a stunning range of mountains with many great tales to hear about on the guide.
No. 2. Play it again, Sam
2012 marked the twentieth anniversary since Donegal had last seen the Sam Maguire cup. The motif for a video to stir up a bit of Donegal pride came pretty quickly after a recent screening of a classic 1942 film I’d seen. Some archive material was needed and with that I got a mash up of various Donegal tunes.The finishing touch was the pre-show music from U2’s Zoo TV tour of 1992 – now that was one helluva trailblazing show that still resonates.
It had the perfect build-up required for an epic sort of video. One that would truly get any donkey of a player revved up and ready to take on the world. Indeed, the online sports journal Balls.ie called it ‘the most epic promo video in advance of an All Ireland football final ever made‘ no less!
No. 1. Donegal Draper presents
For the 2013 campaign, the Donegal App enlisted and indeed rechristened Don Draper to help promote the app’s special appeal to those missing home. Give the video a minute and you’ll see what I mean. I’d seen a mash-up of the video before and felt it was ripe for adding in the recent magic of that All-Ireland win at the key moment. Don just brought the right amount of lustre to it all.
All these years later, I still think those who watch the whole video are well rewarded. For me, it is the ultimate Donegal Love moment this brain is capable of creating. The Donegal App was an effort to promote the county with mixed results, but with this video, I believe I got the components just right.