Changing Horizons from urban to rural

Niamh Walsh is the founder and director of TDL Horizons who specialize in Tourism Consultancy, focusing on sales and valuations of hotel and tourism resort properties nationwide. The company was established in March 2021 and has hit the ground running with the recent successful sale of the Donegal Boardwalk resort in Carrigart. Niamh explained that completion and closing out of this sale “ has given us a fantastic platform and has generated a huge amount of interest from across the country”.

Prior to setting up TDL Horizons, Niamh was an Associate Director within Cushman & Wakefield, one of the larger real estate service firms in the world. Based in the hotels department, Niamh was the first remote worker from the Dublin office having returned to live in Donegal in 2016.

Niamh’s relocation journey is inspiring to many as she explains “it was a risk for the company at the time to allow me to work remotely and relocate to Donegal that paid off very well. I’m very grateful that they gave me the chance to prove I was capable”.

She goes on to say that the opportunity to establish her own company would not have been possible in Dublin due to a higher cost of living, childcare and the busier pace. Donegal gave her the opportunity to branch out and make her dream career a reality “After living in both Donegal and Dublin, there is a better balance in Donegal for us. I still miss Dublin and the opportunities and events that come with living there but they don’t outweigh the pro’s of living in Donegal”.

TDL Horizons is her new passion and it is sure to be a roaring success. Niamh is confident and excited for the future of the company and encourages other founders like her to engage with local supports available to them such as the Donegal Local Enterprise Office. In her own experience, she knows the value of surrounding yourself with a knowledgeable and insightful group of entrepreneurs via networks. She was actively involved in the Donegal Association in Dublin for many years and the Donegal-Dublin Business Network has proven to be hugely beneficial to her in connecting with new clients.

Asked in 2015 where she would like to see herself in five years, she answered that she would love to be in Donegal working for herself and raising her family. Within a year, she had made the move! One of the main reasons that Niamh and her family initially chose to relocate to Donegal was for the calmer lifestyle and slower pace compared to that of living in Dublin as well as “the little glimmer of hope that I would be able to do my own thing and be my own boss” states Niamh.

As well as being a remote worker herself, Niamh is also an avid advocate for remote working across the county. Through her own experiences, Niamh realised that though working remotely worked superbly well for her and gave her an opportunity to reconnect with her roots, there can be a lot of challenges such as, “the perception that you are further away from the office might impact their trust in you for positions of more responsibility. Research has also proven that remote workers can also experience loneliness, isolation and feel like you are out of the loop with your colleagues”.

To combat these negative aspects of remote working, Niamh has been working diligently with a group in her hometown of Carrigart to set up a remote working hub for the remote working community with the support of Donegal County Council and Údarás na Gaeltachta. Niamh’s passion for remote working is showcased in the completion of that project and the development of a digital hub (Gteic@Carraig Airt). “The aim for this hub is give people a cool, quirky and modern atmosphere for working and interacting with each other, fostering urban life in a rural setting”.

Niamh has proven that taking the chance and relocating to Donegal can pay off enormously and change not only your life and your family’s, but also the community you are integrating into.

Information on Donegal Connect 2021 available

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