John Joe McGinley and his four boys
Author John Joe Mc Ginley is certainly playing his part in showcasing the beauty and rich history of Gaoth Dobhair to a wider global audience.
Having worked in social media before he left Scotland to come to Ireland, Mr McGinley is well acquainted with the art of getting his messages across on a global scale. To date, he has brought many projects to fruition. One such project is Wild Atlantic Gweedore which is a suite of social media centred around a website called wildatlanticgweedore.com.
This consists of a Twitter account with around 4,300 followers a Facebook page with over 7,000 likes and a rating of 5 out of 5, and a growing Instagram page. The results of his work are plain to be seen. On stormy days, Mr McGinley will post photographs and video footage of stormy seas from the wild Atlantic coast of Gaoth Dobhair. On other occasions, he will post photographs of old houses that will soon crumble and be forgotten. Dunlewey and beaches features strongly on his site.
“The ethos of Wild Atlantic Gweedore is simple - to showcase the history and landscape of Gweedore.
“I leave the business promotion to the excellent Gweedore parish page run by Bernie Turk,” he said.
He says that the audience for his site are not only from Gaoth Dobhair but rather include those who have left north-west Donegal in search of work and who live in other countries. It also includes those who have grown to love Gaoth Dobhair through their spending their holidays in the Gaeltacht area.
“I set myself a goal of posting every day on Wild Atlantic Gweedore and I am now five years in and ... I have posted continuously not missing a single day for the last three years.
“This has proved highly popular with comments given that the site reconnects people with their memories of a place they long to return to.”
The Irish Wise Guys
Many will have read, the author’s book The Irish Wise Guys which has sold hundreds of copies and has travelled across the country and world. The book is one that is extremely interesting and depicts the lives of Irish men who went to live in the United States many years ago. The author is currently working on another book and this work will focus strongly on the history of Gaoth Dobhair.
“I have a deep interest in history and part of the site is dedicated to the history of the parish. I have researched and uncovered great tales about, Father Mc Fadden, Black Jack Adair, Lord George Hill and Patrick O’Donnell amongst others.”
His stories have featured on global websites and have fared exceptionally well.
“The interest in the history is such that I am nearly ready with my second book Wild Atlantic Gweedore: Tales From a Rural Parish, which will include the tales already on my website but others, such as, the battle of Tory Island, the story of how electricity came to Gweedore and many more stories of the area.
“This will include a selection of the most popular pictures from the Facebook page.”
His calendar based on wildatlanticgweedore.com sold out within the space of two weeks much to his delight and also proved that people wanted to support the website and enjoyed the photographs.
Active community member
Mr McGinley is also very active within the community. He presents a rock show on the Rosses radio on a regular basis. He also organised Huddle Up Errigal which was a fantastic event which raised funds for local charities.
The climb, which was strongly affiliated with Celtic FC, saw hundreds of people make their way from the base of Errigal to the top in aid of local charities over the years.
There is a strong affiliation enjoyed between the region of west Donegal and Scotland as many people left Gaoth Dobhair to work there in years gone by.
Unfortunately due to the pandemic, the event did not take place last year.
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