09 Dec 2021

'The Bay' - a beautiful collection of reflections on the healing powers of the sea in Donegal

Stories, poems, vignettes and photographs that capture the powerful connection to the sea

'The Bay' - a beautiful collection of reflections on the healing powers of the sea in Donegal

Marie Drumgoole and Deborah Bonner enjoying 'The Bay' in the beautiful autumn sunshine

A very special book is being launched to celebrate the deep affinity  that people have with Donegal Bay and the healing power of the sea.

The Bay has been compiled and published by Donegal Dragons, a watersports club for breast cancer survivors and supporters in Donegal Town.

 Club members are joined by swimmers, sailors, divers, wildlife experts, surfers, kayakers, rowers, and many more people who share reflections of their connection with the sea - and in particular, the inner basin of Donegal Bay.

Conceived before the Covid-19 pandemic, the book took on a whole new meaning as people’s lives ground to a halt and an air of fear and anxiety permeated every aspect of society.

Donegal Dragons Chairperson Marie Drumgoole said: “The original idea was that it was a  project supporting mental health through a healthier lifestyle.

“That became really relevant during Covid, and you can see that reflected in the book.

“The last two years have been difficult, but have really reminded us of how important that connection to the sea is to us.”

Indeed, many of us find comfort and solace in the sea at times of trauma and change.

Ms Drumgoole, a former GP, has shared her own experience of how discovering the joys of dragon boating on Donegal Bay helped her at a time of change in her own life.

“I had just retired and felt the void of a sudden stop to a busy life with the loss of the camaraderie linked to wonderful work colleagues and patients alike. The Donegal Dragons were a gift and a lifesaver. Paddling on a dragon boat is like peeling back the layers of a busy world and all the pressures, worries and preoccupations that go with it. You are existing in that moment as your paddle enters the water. Nothing else matters - a soothing balm for the brain.”

The book contains many more  reflections and recollections from a diverse range of contributors. Some are  heart-breaking, others witty, all are connected by that shared stirring of the soul that only the sea can bring.

Donegal Dragons member Jackie Rooney has been enjoying her copy of The Bay.

She said: “I keep dipping into the book and getting something different out of it every time.

“If you are having a bad day, it would certainly lift your spirits.”


The Bay will be launched in the Mill Court Mews behind Simple Simons in Donegal Town on Saturday, November 13 at 4pm. 

Copies cost €10 each and would make a beautiful gift, especially  for Donegal people living away from home.

The book is grant-supported by the Department of Health’s Community Mental Health Fund through Healthy Ireland and DOnegal County Council.

Any proceeds will go towards supporting the activities of Donegal Dragons.

The club wishes to thank everyone who contributed to this unique and very special publication.

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