The second annual Donegal Camino has raised €50,000 for cancer services in Co Donegal.
The seven-day walking event, which is the brainchild of Donegal native Peggy Stringer, takes hikers to stunning walking destinations all over the county as part of a fundraiser for Cancer Care West services in Donegal.
An average of 65 walkers from Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Clare, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and North America joined the daily walks around Donegal, with some joining for just one day and others taking part in all seven walks.
The 2022 Camino began with a walk through the stunning Urris Hills of Inishowen before a breathtaking walk along the Rosguill Peninsula on the second day.
Walkers climbed Muckish Mountain on the third day of the Camino before traveling to the Gaeltacht island of Gabhla for a unique island experience on the fourth day.
The final three days of the event included a hike through the stunning sand dunes of the Sheshkinmore Nature Reserve and a hike at the foot of the famous Bluestack Mountains outside Donegal Town.
Like the inaugural Donegal Camino, the 2022 event concluded with a hike to the top of the stunning Sliabh Liag sea cliffs, the highest sea cliffs in Europe.
A record 82 walkers took part in the final hike of the Camino on a day of glorious sunshine in mid-September.
All walks were expertly guided by Donegal native John Mc Groary of John's Walking Ireland and his team of guides, including Joe Coyle, Denis Sheridan, and Michael Devaney.
Supported by a number of local businesses and famous Donegal personalities, the Donegal Camino attracted people from all over Ireland, with some people flying to Ireland specifically for the event.
The spectacular walks, coupled with entertaining evenings in local restaurants and pubs, have seen the Camino steadily grow in popularity since its inception, with planning already underway for the 2023 event, which will take place between September 3-9.
Stringer said in a statement that she is excited for the future of the Camino following the success of September's event.
"We were blessed with brilliant weather and a wonderful group of walkers from all over Ireland this year, which yet again gives me such encouragement and excitement for the future of the Donegal Camino," Stringer said.
"This was originally a simple idea I had to raise funds for Cancer Care West in my beloved Donegal as a close friend was suffering because of the scourge of cancer."
Stringer added that the Camino has the potential to become the number-one walking event in Ireland in the near future.
Donegal Person of the Year Noel Cunningham, who helped found the Donegal Camino alongside Stringer and Deirdre McGlone, said he was blown away by the "resounding success" of the 2022 Camino.
"I’m a patron of Cancer Care West and to experience the heartfelt support and see the resounding donation of €50,500 this year, fills my heart with joy. It will help so many cancer patients and their families across our wonderful county, and I’m so proud of everyone and to be part of this very unique Camino experience."
Cancer Care West CEO Richard Flaherty said the organization was "beyond grateful" for the support of the Donegal Camino.
"In 2021 the Cancer Support Centre in Letterkenny provided support to over 250 people affected by cancer. All services are provided free of charge and we rely completely on fundraising and voluntary contributions to run the center. This sizeable donation from the Donegal Camino will certainly bring much comfort to many of Donegal’s cancer patients and their families in the year ahead."