The north-east county was among a surprise selection of areas known for their maritime and waterways attractions - such as Westmeath on the Shannon and Galway, host of last year's Volvo Ocean Race finale - that were not featured in the Irish tourism board's list of 45 towns and villages put forward for the Highly Commended Tourism Towns award, part of the National Tidy Towns Awards to be announced later in the year.
Counties on the water that did make the cut include Clare and Mayo, with five towns each on the list, Kerry with four - including last year's winner Portmagee - and Donegal and Waterford, represented three times each.
The top prize winner, to be announced by Fáilte Ireland in November, will receive €10,000 in supports for tourism marketing and development.
Though Sligo is conspicuous by its absence, Donegal's triple placing shows the north-east region is a big tourism attraction - and the Tripclocker blog says surfing is at the forefront of that.
With Ireland's exposure to the open Atlantic giving is "better waves more often", according to Killian O'Kelly of Bundoran's Turn n' Surf, there is a wide variety of surf beaches stretching from Donegal to Clare in particular with swells for all levels of experience.