The Greatest Risk is Taking No Risk … Inspirational Irish Entrepreneurs share their Wisdom

 “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” The words of Peter Drucker have been an inspirational stepping stone for all that believe that our desire to succeed should be greater than our fear of failure.
The biggest risk is not taking any risk at all…

Living in a world surrounded by social media, celebrities and reality television, it’s easy to buy into the myth of overnight success. Real and sustained entrepreneurial success can takes years of careful planning, hard work and, most importantly, unwavering bravery. The only intangible that sets the wannabes apart from the doers, bravery is key to bringing your idea to fruition, no matter how long it takes.

Life is full of risks. Do you take a chance or spend your time looking back and wondering ‘what if’? Do you dream of being your own boss, being able to work when you like and not having to answer to anyone? Starting your own business can be very daunting. Financial failure, cash-flow problems and debt collection are just some of the challenges you will encounter along the way. We tend to look at the risks and what could go wrong before we even consider the benefits of success. You can waste so much time searching for magic shortcuts to entrepreneurial success and fulfillment when the only real path is staring you right in the face: just go for it. Stop wishing and start doing.

We look at five inspirational entrepreneurs who took the chance and started their own businesses. After all, bravery is not the absence of fear but a triumph over fear.

Ciara O’Callaghan – Principal at Ciara O’Callaghan Solicitors

GRCiara-O'CallaghanHaving excelled in education and practical experience to get where she is today, Ciara recently started her own boutique law firm specialising in property, wills, trusts, probate and commercial work here in Galway. “I studied law at UCD graduating in 1997 with a BCL degree and then trained as a solicitor. After qualifying in 2001, I worked in a mid-size firm in Dublin before moving to work in Galway at the height of the property boom in 2006. I returned to education in 2011 completing an LLM thesis in NUI Galway on mental capacity law and the recently enacted Assisted Decision Making Capacity Act. While working as a consultant and locum to various practices, I identified a need for a specialist firm in Galway advising not just clients, but also fellow practitioners in my areas of expertise.” 

Ciara has many accomplishments and achievements to her name, most notably being appointment as Board Member of the Property Registration Authority (Land Registry). She is a former President of Network Galway (2013) and regularly provides legal advice and support to women in business. She also currently serves on the Law Society’s Probate Administration and Trusts Committee. A firm believer in education, Ciara is a regular lecturer on the Law Society’s professional courses for training solicitors. “I believe it’s important to stay abreast of developments as law is always evolving. There is no such thing as a typical day for me as my work can vary from meeting clients and negotiating commercial leases to attending the Hight Court in Dublin, and that’s what makes it so interesting.” 

Ciara O’Callaghan Solicitors, Gray Office Park, Headford Road, Galway.

Tel: 091 586833 Email:

Dr. Martin Small – Facial Aesthetic Practitioner at Anti Wrinkle Galway

Dr-SmallAs a dentist, Dr. Small has extensive knowledge of the head and neck anatomy which is crucial in the area of facial injectables. The aim of the practice is to create favourable results and most importantly, minimise the risk of adverse reactions.

“I started my training in London’s Harley Street London in 2012 where I was introduced to the fundamentals of anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers. From that moment, my interest and passion for facial aesthetics has gone from strength to strength. I have completed advanced training in aesthetics every year since and most recently, I trained in the delivery of dermal filler with cannula and radiesse treatment. I have a close working relationship with Merz, the company who provide the FDA approved belotero dermal filler to achieve the best possible results for clients, which ensures I am always up to speed with all the latest in this fast paced industry.”

Dr. Small sees a wide variation of concerns from his client base on a daily basis. “Common areas include forehead lines, crows feet, mid-face volume loss and jowls along the jaw. I get great satisfaction from seeing a client return for a follow up review with positive feedback. Quite often people will remark that their friends and family don’t see an obvious change, but will also say that they look rested and refreshed which is really my main and most important objective.”

Dr Small’s aesthetic clinic also provides glycolic acid skin peels for a wide range of skin complaints. “I am delighted to announce that we now carry the prestigious Skinceutical skincare range for day to day skincare as well as targeted treatments for skin complaints.”

Anti-Wrinkle Galway – Unit 5 Gáirdín Mháire, Moycullen, Co. Galway,

Tel: 091 868 537 Visit Anti-Wrinkle Galway here

Melissa Carty – Proprietor of The Beauty Room


At just 16 years of age, Melissa knew that beauty was the career for her. After her transition year work experience with a local beautician, Melissa applied for a beauty course at Galway Technical Institute (GTI). After finishing top of the class in her second year, she had the opportunity to travel to Tenerife to work in a five star spa. “The experience I gained abroad was invaluable and provided me with the tools I needed to pursue my dream. It also showed me that I was good enough to work in such a competitive and fast-paced industry. After I finished in GTI, I worked in a few different salons to get some more experience. In May 2016, I decided to open my own salon in Craughwell.” At the tender age of 22, Melissa was afraid that her customers wouldn’t have faith in her as so many beauty salons have tried and failed in the village but thankfully, that has not been an issue for her. “I am so grateful to all my loyal customers who have supported me and stuck with me since I opened the salon. I’m so proud to call them my friends and the fact that they travel from all over Galway to come to The Beauty Room gives me the confidence to keep going.”

Melissa has no intention of slowing down and is busy planning for the future. “I would love to open another salon in the next couple of years and in time, have a third salon, all within close proximity of each other. Determination is the name of the game. If you want something enough, you will get there.”

The Beauty Room, Main Street, Craughwell, Co. Galway,

Tel: 087 1479866, Visit The Beauty Room here

Frances Mahon – Principal of Mahon Solicitors

GRFrances-McmahonOriginally from Boyle, Co. Roscommon, now living in Furbo, Frances opened her own practice in Spiddal last May. Providing legal advice to clients on property law, litigation, employment law and will-drafting amongst other matters, she loves the freedom of being her own boss.

“I studied law in UCD and qualified with a BCL and a diploma in EU law before qualifying as a solicitor from Blackhall in 1993. After a number of years practising as a locum solicitor in Ireland, Australia and the Isle of Man, I knew that this year was the right time to branch out on my own. Locum work is very interesting and challenging and it gave me valuable experience in very specialised areas such as labour law, medical negligence and financial services litigation. Spiddal was the obvious place for me to base the business from as it is so near home. With fabulous sea views, no traffic jams and lots of parking, what’s not to love.”!

Frances loves the variety and versatility that comes with her chosen profession. “One day you could be representing a client in court for drunk and disorderly behaviour, and the next day you could be taking instructions for a will from an elderly person sick in hospital. At the end of the day, I believe that if you love what to do, it will never feel like work. Honesty, integrity and an ability to listen and communicate well is also really important in this job. I would advise anyone who is interested in a law career to spend some time in a solicitors office to see what type of work is involved. It’s not the career that is sometimes portrayed, but it can be a very rewarding and enjoyable one.”

Mahon Solicitors, 2 Carraig Mhór, Spiddal, Co. Galway,

Tel: 091 897624,  Visit Mahon Solicitors here

Marie Donnellan – Founder of

GRMarie-DonnellanLots of Love is an online trading website where women can buy and sell preloved – ‘new’ and ‘good as new’ – designer fashions for at least 50% off the original RRP.

It was after her year as the Clare Rose of Tralee in 2014 that Marie first began searching for a boutique-like website to sell the large quantities of clothing and accessories that she had acquired over the years. After extensive research and online trials, Marie found that there was no Irish offering that fulfilled such a niche. “After a couple of years of blogging, designing the website and further developing the project while also working full-time, I finally launched the trading site in July 2017. The website has two simple aims – to fill the niche of high quality fashion trading for Irish women, and to give smaller Irish businesses with no ecommerce presence a pre-existing marketplace to sell their products online”.

Growing up in her family B&B, and managing a supermarket part-time throughout her school years, it’s fair to say that Marie developed an early love for business, entrepreneurship and people. “After achieving a first class honours Business Studies degree in 2008, I joined EY and qualified as a Chartered Accountant. Today, after travelling the world and working for industry leader Apple, I work full time with EY as Regional Head of People and Entrepreneurial Service – an exciting role that continues to teach me invaluable business skills every day.”

My personal goal for Lots of Love is to bring it as far as I possibly can until it becomes a stand-alone business that is independently capable of fulfilling its original goals well into the future”.

Marie acknowledges the fact that she learned some very valuable lessons early on in her life. “I really believe in the power of positivity and the effect of surrounding yourself with strong, positive and supportive people. I know there are going to be hard days ahead so resilience, perseverance and an unwavering faith in myself will be the key to driving the business forward. My only regret is that I didn’t launch the site sooner! There will never be a perfect time. Even when you don’t know how, believe that you can and you will succeed.”, Closet Monster Ltd, Ballygirreen, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare,

Visit here


For more in our Business Feature, Pick up a copy of our September Issue

On The Shelves Now



  • Show Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

You May Also Like

2019 February Issue GALWAYnow

Our February Issue of GALWAYnow is HERE!

Spring is here and with it comes a bright and beautiful issue of GALWAYnow. ...

Jill & Gill pop up at the Kilkenny Store Galway

Inspired by contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, Jill & Gill’s latest collection, Obsessive, is ...

Tiernan O'Halloran

In Conversation with Tiernan O’Halloran

Tiernan O’Halloran                        His father, an iconic sportsman having played county football for Offaly, ...