Bundoran 2020

Reeling in Bundoran – 2020

Well… where do we even start with Bundoran 2020. I suppose we start at the start and the year as we thought it was going to be. Uncertainty was really the name of the game however there was quite the boost for the months of July, August and most of September. October and November brought us back into Level 5 lockdown with a sprinkling of positivity in December as shops and restaurants reopened and the first vaccines started to get rolled out in England. We remind you that these blogs do not claim to be a comprehensive retrospect of the town – just a sharing of some memories and key events of the town over the past year.

Check out our full Reeling in the Decade series from Bundoran 2010-2019 here.

January started with the annual Sea Sessions Battle of the Bands – the winner of which would win the opportunity to play at the annual festival in 2020.

We launched our brand new brochure for 2020 as usual in Bundoran Community Centre

Bundoran 2020
Launching the 2020 brochure at Bundoran Community Centre

On Monday 13th of January we were all over RTE One! First as north west correspondent Eileen Magnier reported live from the sea front as Storm Brendan wreaked havoc across the country

Later that night, a documentary followed local security man Denis Daly in Paris Nightclub for “Keeping Ireland Safe”

It wasn’t the warmest of months as friend of Bundoran Barra Best reminded us on January 18th.

The Atlantic Irish Fest also took place in Bundoran in January

As usual in mid January, we went to Holiday World in Dublin with our colleagues from Donegal Tourism to promote Bundoran and the county as a whole as a destination in 2020 – little did we know what was coming….

The Donegal Tourism gang representing the county at the RDS in Dublin at Holiday World

Robert Mizzell played the annual Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat dance in the Allingham Arms on January 31st.

It was a calm fresh day as the country went to the polls for #GE2020 on the 8th of February.

March started off quite normal – Ocean FM broadcast live from the Allingham Arms on the 7th to celebrate their 25th anniversary as a country music venue.

Ocean FM’s Brian Kerrigan speaks to hotel owners Peter & Elizabeth McIntyre with country singer Paul Kelly.

Then things started to get serious on the 12th – two days before the annual Cara Bundoran Run was due to happen as then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addressed the nation from Washington DC to announce the closure of many facilities in response to Coronavirus.

Following this announcement, the inevitable decision was made to postpone the annual Cara Run

The inevitable Waterworld…

and Sea Sessions

Not to have our spirits dampened on our national holiday, nine of Bundoran’s partner towns under the Douzelage Town Twinning Network took part in the annual Tourism Ireland “Global Greening” campaign.

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Meanwhile we were faced with the issue of asking people not to come to Bundoran for the Easter break. A big ask resulting in our “Bundoran Will Wait” campaign and our Tourism Officer turning into the Anti-Tourism Officer!


The Garda chopper also captured this great shot of (an empty) Bundoran on Easter Saturday!

Awards Season! Bundoran 2020

An unexpected award arrived at the end of May as Bundoran was awarded silver in the inaugural Blue Flag International Best Practice Award for their work as Think Before You Flush town! Read more about that here.

The good news kept coming on the 9th of June as Bundoran regained its Blue Flag for the 2020 bathing season. Main Beach was one of 12 in County Donegal to be awarded the Blue Flag for 2020! Read more here

Bundoran 2020 - The Blue Flag flying proudly at Main Beach for the 2020 bathing season.
The Blue Flag flying proudly at Main Beach for the 2020 bathing season.

On Sunday 14th June, we took some time to remember those who have lost their lives due to Covid-19 and to pay tribute to the frontline staff keeping us safe throughout the pandemic. A tree was planted beside the tourist office.

Paramedic James Keaney is one of the frontline services to plant the tree

Another surprise for us on the 25th of June. The arrival of one Daniel O’Donnell to perform for the residents of Ozanam House on a warm and sunny day beside the seaside!


On the 29th of June we welcomed the Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Ireland to Bundoran on his first ever tour of Donegal – he stopped off at foam. to meet fellow Australians Noah Lane and Julian Farmer.

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L-R Julian Farmer, Noah Lane, Robert Owen-Jones, Shane Smyth, Adam Cross

On the same day, Bundoran was ready for business and to welcome guests back to town

It was a week of celebrations at Cara Pharmacy as their first store celebrated its 20th anniversary on the 1st of July. A massive milestone for Canice and the team.

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Celebrating 20 years in Bundoran L-R Canice Nicholas, Aine Cleary, Aine McMahon, Maureen McGee & Sinead McLoughlin

Podcast milestone

Our podcast “The Bundoran Weekly” reached the milestone of 100 episodes! You can listen to the episode on Spotify here. Hear the latest episode at the end of this blog and subscribe where you get your podcasts.

It was fair to say that throughout July and August the town was extremely busy – busier than was expected even with no music or events to encourage people to visit. While the Dubs decamped to Donegal and the rest of the west coast, so did some of the media and we got a lot of coverage over the August bank holiday weekend.

Check out this 16 minute read in the Irish Times

bundoran 2020

Throughout the summer our main priority was to keep everyone safe and in conjunction with Failte Ireland, many of our businesses were awarded the Safety Charter which gave visitors the confidence that they were entering a safe facility. Here, Martina Bromley of Failte Ireland presents Bundoran Tourism Officer Shane Smyth with the certificate for Bundoran Tourist Office.

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Head of Enterprise and Development at Failte Ireland Martina Bromley with Bundoran Tourism Officer Shane Smyth

August also brought another award, this time for the Fairy Bridges from TripAdvisor – A Travellers’ Choice award!

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Throughout 2020, a lot of people and organisations had to come to terms with new ways of working – one of them being the GAA, and with people not allowed to attend matches, the show still had to go on. Bundoran club Realt Na Mara was one of the first clubs in the county to stream a live game on Facebook with commentary. Here’s Bundoran v Glenfin from the 28th of August – check out that sunset at the end!

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Broadcasting high above Gaelic Park for Realt Na Mara v Glenfin

At the start of September (again little did we know what was coming!), we began our “Make A Break for Bundoran” campaign – encouraging visitors to come to the town in the “shoulder” season and see what the town and indeed the county has to offer. As part of this campaign we wanted to remind people to keep their social distance from each other, a message supported by the fairies!

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Keep Your Distance from each other and the Fairies!

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Sadly by September 25th we were locked down again and under Level 3 restrictions. While some services were still operating, the town was to be shut down with the rest of County Donegal, subsequently moving to Level 4 with counties Cavan and Monaghan on October 14th and thereafter placed under Level 5 with the rest of Ireland until the start of December.

RTE News was back to cover the effect the latest lockdown would have on the town on September 26th.

On October 21st we had a visit from ITV News to cover our impending lockdown to Level 5.

Olga from Travers Holiday Park was featured on the ITV News Report.

The lockdown didn’t stop our elite surfer Conor Maguire from catching the biggest wave ever to hit the west coast of Ireland on October 28th

Our tourism officer Shane Smyth caught up with him to hear all about it…

Christmas came a little bit earlier than normal as the town started to light up at the end of November – thanks to all the businesses who have supported the Christmas lights committee this year. Check out the tree being dropped into place at the Tourist Office.

bundoran 2020



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