Donegal Women in Business Network – Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Donegal Women in Business Network celebrated their 20th anniversary on 1st October with a conference titled “Looking Back Moving Forward” at Lough Eske Castle Hotel.

An Ideal Networking Opportunity

Although many authors are natural introverts, networking with potential readers is key to selling books. Blogging and social media are valuable marketing tools. However, we often forget about linking with others in our own back yard.

Seated at my table, I introduced myself to a fellow author, a proofreader, a marketing consultant, an artist, a driving instructor, a soft drinks manufacturer, a natural skincare founder…

Business cards were exchanged and insights shared about our lives. It was lovely to connect with such inspiring women.

I came prepared with bookmarks to promote Watching the Daisies – Life Lessons on the Importance of Slow. and I also donated a copy of my book to the raffle.

Donegal Conference

Published with kind permission from  Donegal Women in Business Network

The Speakers

Ciara Doherty, who has a successful career in television was MC for the day.

She introduced a number of speakers including the network’s president Deirdre McGlone, Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise for the Local Enterprise Office in Donegal, Rosaleen Hegarty of Crana Handknits, Rosy Temple of Magee 1866, and Laura Bonner of The Muff Liquor Company.

Rosaleen, Rosy and Laura shared their business experiences, each with its own unique set of challenges.

Rosaleen who is eighty three years of age, recounted her 40 years with Crana Knits. She has been described as a “genius knitter” by fashion designer Jonathan Anderson, who wore a custom knitted pink baby suit on the catwalk for London Fashion Week. The following year, he dyed it black sporting a white belt for a second walk down the catwalk!

She and her team of knitters have supplied garments for Tommy Hilfiger, Christan Lacroix, Jean Charles de Castelbajac and actress Roma Downey star of “Touched by an Angel.”

Rosaleen’s story is even more remarkable due to numerous health challenges which began with a cancer diagnosis aged 46.

The Panellists

Eileen Sweeney from Allied Irish Bank, Alannah McGhee from Beenantees, Andrea McBride from Pramerica, Sally Murphy from Murphy Communications and Martina Rafferty from Dungloe’s Waterfront Hotel provided a brief introduction to their businesses, then answered a series of questions on raising finance and selling their products.

Bernie Murphy  a textile artist, Brenda Donagher a Network Manager with Rural Enterprise Skillnet, Karina Kelly co-founder of Content Llama, Nicola Griffin of Seclusion Spa, Niamh Walsh of real estate services firm Cushman and Wakefield and Niamh Kennedy an Independent Councillor and Vice Chairman of Donegal County Council, answered questions on growing, learning and networking.

I felt inspired by each and every woman, who shared their successes, setbacks and vulnerabilities in an honest and courageous manner to an audience of over 200 women.

Conference Cake

Published with kind permission from Donegal Women in Business Network

Book Launch

The Network also launched a book “Looking Back Moving Forward” to celebrate 20 years of women in business in Donegal.

It is packed full of inspirational stories, resources and valuable marketing tips.

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Attending a full day at a conference was a challenge for my energy levels, (and one I would not have contemplated a year ago) but I travelled to Donegal Town the previous day, had a Kinesiology treatment to boost my CHI, then treated myself to a night at Harvey’s Point Hotel on the shores of Lough Eske.

I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone.

Many of the speaker’s and panellist’s experiences resonated with my own journey and gave me a much needed boost to continue moving forward.

Thank You

Thank you to all the organisers. It was a fabulous event, that has inspired me in so many ways.

Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.





  1. Thank you for your share on this amazing gathering of women. It looks like a good network to be part of. Good you decided to have some Kinesiology to boost your energy levels, being sensitive can be draining to be among so many people. Rosaleen bless her and her successful business. Most inspiring day.

    Liked by 1 person

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