Three Donegal creative entrepreneurs have been selected to represent the West of Ireland at SeaFest, Ireland’s national maritime festival.
Easkey Britton, Ian Mitchinson, and Finn NiFhaolain will speak about their individual experiences of living and working in Donegal at a dedicated LookWest.ie Marquee.
SeaFest, which takes place in Galway from June 30 to July 2, will highlight Ireland’s abundant maritime resources and transform Galway Harbour and Docks into an open-air sea world for three days.
LookWest.ie, an initiative of the Western Development Commission (WDC), will be hosting its own Marquee at SeaFest and treating visitors to three days of exciting and inspiring events focusing on creative business and lifestyle in the West of Ireland.
Easkey, Ian and Finn have all been selected to tell their inspiring stories at the LookWest.ie Marquee which will host a number of keynote speakers, fun performances and a showcase of brilliant West of Ireland products and businesses all inspired by the sea and surfing culture.
Each of the three speakers from Donegal is passionate about the Wild Atlantic lifestyle and they will be showcasing the best of what is happening in Donegal.
Ian Mitchinson is a photographer and creative explorer with a passion for surf and the landscape of the Wild Atlantic Way. Ian was living and running a photo studio in Cape Town and was planning to move to Australia to raise his young family.
“One day, I caught a glimpse of life and the surf along the West coast of Ireland through a video on social media and it intrigued me. I was amazed at the quality of the waves and the unique beauty. I felt drawn to that kind of lifestyle, culture and the idea of the Wild Atlantic Way slipped into my system quickly; I couldn’t get it out.
“I never thought I’d emigrate to the West of Ireland or even live in a rural area. But within six months I had relocated my family from the hustle and bustle of Cape Town, to sleepy Bundoran.
“Moving to the North West was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Although I came for the surf, I discovered an extremely rich and diverse culture with people living outside the traditional format I was used to. I found a world of open opportunity that is perfect for a person with an entrepreneurial spirit. It’s an open landscape with the freshest of air, endless beauty and ancient history all fused with the cutting-edge modern outlook of today’s world.
“Although moving to the West Coast is no small feat, and by no means easy, it is a life-changing decision. I’d never want to go back, nor can I think of a different place I’d rather have gone to. I am able to rest easy knowing my children are growing up in a slice of Atlantic paradise with a world of opportunity. Exciting adventures await us all.”
Finn Ni Fhaolain is a surfer, chef and blogger. She is passionate about food, health, education and living in the West of Ireland. She holds a degree in Ocean Science and a Masters in Marine biology and published her first book, Finn’s World, earlier this year. www.finsfitfood.com She says:
“Although I set up my business while still living on the periphery of Dublin, I left to complete a culinary arts course in Sligo. I had lived in Bundoran years before while I completed my MSc thesis and absolutely loved the community and the surf culture there. When I got the chance to move there again while I was completing the culinary course I was so excited.
“After completing the course, I stayed for the quality of life. My day-to-day life is so much better: no long commute, lots of friends close by — as most of my friends from Dublin had emigrated — and the connection with the outdoors. The beach is right outside the door and the mountains are just a few minutes drive away.”
The third Donegal representative is Easkey Britton, a big wave pro-surfer from County Donegal with a doctorate in Environment and Society. Co-founder of Waves of Change, a not-for-profit organisation, which uses the power of surfing as a social medium for change. She works to help empower girls and women across the world through sport.
As well as opportunities to ‘meet and greet’ speakers and businesses in LookWest.ie’s showcase area from 10am – 6pm each day, there will be some great prizes and giveaways on offer too.
LookWest.ie is also partnering with the Irish Surf Festival, Shore Shots, to celebrate the very best in surfing, film, ideas and discovery on the west coast. Unique and inspiring films and videos produced along the West Coast by filmmakers and videographers will be shown at the LookWest.ie Marquee throughout the three days.
Karen Sweeney of the Western Development Commission said:
“We are delighted to be part of the SeaFest 2017 experience for what is set to be an exciting, fun and educational weekend.
“We pride ourselves on promoting the West of Ireland as a great place to live, work and do business through our LookWest.ie campaign. The West of Ireland is known for its creativity, beauty, lifestyle and, of course, that Wild Atlantic coastline but also as a place where businesses can thrive and grow.
“Come meet us at our LookWest.ie Marquee; each day we will have a bumper schedule to educate, entertain and encourage people to dream their own big move to the beautiful West.”
For more information, visit our SeaFest section