COMMUNITY spirit and civic pride helps Donaghadee claim to be one of the best places to live in Northern Ireland.

The coastal town has been named as one of the best places to live in Northern Ireland in the prestigious guide Best Places to Live by The Sunday Times.

Donaghadee is one of just three locations in Northern Ireland which are featured amongst the 72 towns and villages in the comprehensive guide, with Portstewart taking the top spot.

The guide describes Donaghadee as a ‘scenic and sociable hotspot’, noting that the town is reputedly the driest spot in Northern Ireland, with its picturesque harbour usually awash with paddleboards, kayaks and sailing boats.

Even the town’s beloved swimming group, the Donaghadee Chunky Dunkers, get an honourable mention for their collection of over £65,000 for charity in the past decade.

The report continues to note how the sense of community in the town is ‘as strong as the town is charming’, highlighting the idyllic scenery and local businesses.

The growing town is notably home to a historical lighthouse landmark, Copelands Distillery, Grace Neill’s, which is reputedly one of Ireland’s oldest pubs, and the only Camera Obscura located on the island of Ireland.

Delighted by the news, John Caldwell, secretary of Donaghadee Community Development Association, said that the town was shrouded in community spirit and civic pride.

“Donaghadee is the fastest growing town in the borough and that is evident of its popularity,” Mr Caldwell said.

“People come to Donaghadee because of the high-level of community spirit and civic pride.

“There is plenty to do in the town and there are opportunities to get involved in the town and to meet your neighbours and fellow townsfolk.”

Mr Caldwell said the town had a ‘great range’ of eateries and local shops, adding that the town centre was compact.

“There is a high level of community involvement in things. Volunteering, in whatever form, is very popular in Donaghadee, with over 150 people involved with In Bloom activities,” he continued.

Mr Caldwell also highlighted the popularity of Donaghadee sports clubs, the historical society and the heritage company.

He added: “There are lots of little clubs and events in the town and we are looking to expand that as well.

“There is pleasant scenery all around the town, as well as bracing sea air and lovely areas to walk and take your time to watch the world go by.”

Ards and North Down alderman Mark Marks also pointed to the civic pride and community spirit in the town.

“People who live in Donaghadee, care about Donaghadee and will get involved in everything that happens in Donaghadee,” Mr Brooks said.

“We see great community spirit and take pride in our town.”

He continued: “We have a great entrepreneurial spirit in the sense that we have lots of small shops and businesses and they are all owned by people from Donaghadee.

“One of the things people would comment on quite often is that there are shops on Donaghadee high street, and independent shops.

“We have some of the best eateries in Northern Ireland, with four great award winning restaurants in town – Pier 36, Harbour and Co, Grace Neills and the Bull and Claw – plus lots of independent coffee shops.”

Mr Brooks also noted the many ‘great’ places to walk in the town.

“If you live in Donaghadee, you really have little reason to ever leave Donaghadee,” Mr Brooks added.

“You can walk your dog, you can swim, go to the health centre, send your children to the good school, there are great places to eat and shop, with lots of clubs and societies.

“Everybody takes part in the town, so it really is a unique place to live.”

Mr Brooks noted that those enjoying the town and looking out to shore could view Scotland, the Isle of Man and northwest England.

“Donaghadee is the centre of the Earth,” Mr Brooks stated. “All roads lead to Donaghadee.

“We are the gateway to the peninsula. We are the gateway to the world.”