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Sea change: scenery and surfing make Donegal an attractive location for workers

Edel Corrigan discovers how Donegal County Council is working to highlight the county’s allure for new business and residents

Donegal, home to some of the most beautiful scenery and perhaps the best surfing in the country, may usually be thought of as a great place for a staycation, but because of the pandemic and the possibility of remote working, there’s been something of a sea change, and the county council has rolled out a campaign to encourage people to move to the county.

In January 2023, Donegal County Council launched the #MoveToDonegal relocation campaign, highlighting the county’s vibrant culture, modern infrastructure and world-renowned scenery which makes for the perfect location to live, work, and invest, says Daniel McChrystal, senior economic development officer at the economic development directorate, Donegal County Council.

In addition to the relocation campaign, Donegal County Council is also implementing its Remote Working Strategy for Business, launching in June. This strategy helps position Donegal as the ideal location for a high quality of life without compromising high-quality career opportunities. With more than 15 state-of-the-art digital innovation hubs located throughout the county, excellent connectivity, a talented workforce and easy access to travel, Donegal is as connected as the world’s largest cities.

Donegal is the ideal location for those who crave both a productive work week and a weekend filled with pastimes that enrich and excite them, says McChrystal. “Whether it’s enjoying a play in An Grianán Theatre, taking part in a pottery class in Donegal Craft Village or heading to the local pub for a gig, the county has something for everyone seeking a more rounded lifestyle.


“Donegal is an attractive location for those who are looking for a modern, connected lifestyle, no matter where in the county they choose to settle.”

Bringing in business

Donegal facilitates a culture of innovation and advancement for new and growing businesses, says McChrystal. “A wide range of accelerator programmes are available for businesses located in Donegal that makes setting up here easier than ever before. Multiple sources of expert advice and guidance to make your journey as successful as possible are also at your fingertips, including the Local Enterprise Office, Enterprise Ireland, Donegal Local Development Company, ATU Donegal, WiSAR Technology Gateway, Údarás na Gaeltachta and more.

“We have excellent resources in Donegal which support business in their journeys to growth, advancement and innovation. Various organisations and agencies across Donegal are committed to providing the best opportunities for businesses and employment throughout the county.”

Relocation relocation

Whether relocating to one of the many villages or towns across the county, or for those wishing to live a little more remotely, access to amenities and a connected way of living is what makes Donegal so appealing, says McChrystal.

Many of our diaspora are in a position to give something back and plans are under way to bring back some of the best and brightest to mentor businesses

—  Daniel McChrystal, Donegal County Council

Many have already made the decision to relocate to the county, and have shared their experiences and journeys with the world through the #MovetoDonegal campaign. One relocator said, “I would definitely recommend moving to Donegal. The work itself plus the work-life balance are fantastic. There’s a vast amount of employment opportunities across all sectors, particularly in the blue economy, which is food, energy and tourism. This is already growing at a steady rate and is set to expand even more over the next 10 years and beyond.”

Going global

As one of the most cost-effective locations in the country, there has never been a better time to relocate a business to Donegal, says McChrystal. “Donegal is strategically placed with close connections and linkages with Europe, the UK and the US, with growing sectors across fintech, medtech, life sciences, blue economy and tourism; the business growth in the county is driven by a culture of innovation, ambition and talent.

“Donegal County Council is extremely active in the area of diaspora connectivity. We value our diaspora, wherever they may be located in the world, and look to use that value to increase what we have to offer to businesses already here in Donegal or businesses considering investment in Donegal. We regularly keep in touch with our diaspora, by way of monthly newsletters and through social media, as well as targeted and specific communications when opportunities arise.

“We view our connections as an opportunity to grow the brand that is Donegal,” McChrystal says. “Many of our diaspora are in a position to give something back and plans are under way to bring back some of the best and brightest to mentor and nurture select businesses that are scalable to prepare them for entry into new markets around the world. We are an active member of NetworkIrlande and will soon become a new member of Asia Matters.”

Edel Corrigan

Edel Corrigan is a contributor to The Irish Times