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Donegal named coolest place on planet by National Geographic

Donegal is the coolest place on the planet, according to National Geographic Traveller.

The Irish county tops The Cool List: 17 for 2017, the UK magazine’s annual roll call of places to visit in the coming year, which was headed last year by Iran. The island of Ireland came fourth last year

The list is compiled based on the opinions of a panel of the magazine’s contributors, focusing on “destinations that our writers think are going to be popular next year”, said a spokesman. It appears in the January/February edition of the magazine, which was published on Thursday.

The list enumerates what the magazine describes as “our 17 must-see destinations for 2017” and “the culture capitals, hipster hot spot, wild escapes and places generally keeping it cool in 2017”. Santiago in Chile and Helsinki in Finland fill second and third places in the 2017 list, which was published on Thursday. Greenland, Peru, Aarhus, Canada, Portland, India and South Africa also make the top 10.

Pat Riddell, editor of National Geographic Traveller (UK), had this to say about how Donegal made the list:

“We considered many destinations for our Cool List 2017, but we felt Donegal was in a real sweet spot – off-radar and hard to access, but on the cusp of a breakthrough.

“On the one hand, you have big pushes like the Wild Atlantic Way and the recent visit of Star Wars; on the other you only have to drive a few miles to have a beach or a road completely to yourself.

“It’s a warm-hearted place, but wilderness always feels just a stone’s throw away. And it is wilderness . . . world-class wilderness. We think it’s due a big year.”

Article by Marie Claire Digby, Irish Times, 1 Dec 2016