Some of Donegal’s most inspirational explorers scooped national awards from Outsider Magazine last night.

Buncrana’s Jennifer Doherty, Arranmore dipper Paddy Conaghan, Rossnowlagh surfer Easkey Britton and south-Donegal based charity Liquid Therapy were all recognised for their amazing achievements in 2023.

Also nominated were cancer survivor and motivational speaker Nikki Bradley, shortlisted for Most Inspiring Person of the Year and Audience Choice, and photographer Kevin Dooher (TheWildAtlanticTraveller) who was shortlisted for Outdoor Content Creator Of The Year.

The winners were crowned at the Outsider Awards event at the Sugar Club in Dublin.

Jennifer Doherty (pictured) scooped the Audience Choice Award for becoming the first blind person to conquer Ireland’s seven biggest mountains. Jennifer, who is blind since birth, joined mountaineer Jason Black, on the 7 Summits Challenge last year, with the grand finale on the Seven Sisters in Donegal. The 37-year-old is already setting out plans to climb Kilimanjaro.

Jennifer Doherty at the Outsider Awards – photo courtesy of Jason Black Mountaineering

The ‘The Most Inspiring Person of the Year’ title went to Paddy Conaghan. The 83-year-old Arranmore islander swam in every port and beach along Ireland’s coast in 2023, raising over €100,000 for Gemma’s Legacy of Hope counselling service. He’s taken to the waters again this year for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Easkey Britton was crowned ‘Most Devoted to the Outdoor Scene’. The surfer and water protection advocate published her book Ebb & Flow: How to Connect with the Power and Patterns of Water to campaign for water connection and protection in this country. Easkey – from Rossnowlagh – has long been a surf pioneer, she was the first woman to paddle out at the big wave spot, Aileens, at the Cliffs of Moher, and the first woman to surf in Iran, where she encouraged girls and women to try the sport.

Social enterprise Liquid Therapy also made a splash at the awards by picking up the ‘Most Impactful Outdoor Company’ award. Liquid Therapy, established in 2011, is determined to make the mental health benefits of coastal experiences accessible to all. Nestled in south Donegal, they provide opportunities for young people to enjoy surfing and ocean activities, regardless of their challenges. This year they hosted BLUESURFEST, a three-day festival that celebrates inclusion in sport.