Updated: 06/12/16 : 12:46:26
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‘Destination Donegal’ – Event for International Students of IT Sligo

As part of their Honours Degree in Tourism with Event Management assessment, a group of four tourism students planned and managed a trip called ‘Destination Donegal’ on 17th and 18th November. The trip, mentored by lecturer Aine Doherty was planned and organised by the students with the aim of educating Sligo’s International and Erasmus students in authentic Irish culture.

47 international students from Germany, Finland France, Spain, Canada and Brazil, visited a number of popular tourist attractions in Donegal. Although, the weather was not ideal during the two day excursion, it did, however, make the scenery even more spectacular. The first stop on the trip was Fanad Lighthouse, where the students were educated on the history of the lighthouse and its keepers. Following the lighthouse, participants were invited to visit ‘Hugo’s House’ and Heritage Centre in Carrigart, run by Hugo Boyle and his wife, Margaret, who kindly supplied the tea and homemade scones for the group.

On the way to the Beach Hotel, Downings, the students were able to take in some amazing scenic views along the ‘Atlantic Drive’ including Tran na Rossan Beach and Dooey both of which proved to be popular stops. After checking in, later that evening many International students also participated in a Gaelic football session at Na Dunaibh GAA Club under the guidance of local trainer, ‘Coach Johnny’ Connor and Dominic McGroddy. The students picked up core football skills quickly and really enjoyed the session.

'All Smiles' - IT Sligo International Students braving the elements at Fanad Lighthourse during their recent 'Destination Donegal' trip, organised by the Institute's Tourism students.

In the evening, after a delicious three course meal at the hotel, the students were treated to a ‘trad’ session in the bar with music provided by local musicians. Some even got involved themselves including Remy from Vichy, France and Nico from Dusseldorf, Germany alongside a local playing the tin whistle, gave their own unique cover of ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Locals were also treated to a spine-tingling rendition of ‘Les Marseilles’ which was sung passionately by the visiting French contingent.  

After an enjoyable night, students were up bright and early on Friday morning ready to take in some more of what Donegal had to offer. After a short bus journey and a walk through some quiet country lanes, the first stop of the day was Doe Castle for a guided tour from expert tour guide, Janet McIver.

On the final stop of the trip, the group had the chance to visit Glenveagh National Park. Students were free to explore the gardens, castle and take advantage of the surrounding areas and its beauty. The gardens proved to be a very popular background for many photographs.

After a long and eventful two days, the bus arrived back at IT, Sligo on Friday evening with a bus full of tired students. The organising team were very pleased with both, the positive and constructive feedback they received. Truly, a great learning experience for everyone involved. The event management aspect of the Tourism Honours degree allows students to gain practical experience in running events, giving them the skills required for employment or within voluntary event groups.