Coming Home

by Seán Lynch

From New York to New Zealand, UL graduates are living in every corner of the world. In recent years, thanks to an economic recovery, many have returned home.

Tríona O’Sullivan

Taking in a view of the Empire State Building every morning, Tríona O’Sullivan was a long way from her West Cork roots. Graduating from University of Limerck with a BA in Business Studies in 2014, she wanted to strike out and do something unique.

Moving to Manhattan in 2015 was a way to exert her independence. “It was something I wanted to do on my own to prove I could handle it. At home, people had certain standards and expectations of me, whereas when I went to New York, I could make mistakes and put myself out there,” she says.

Walking out of the subway and stumbling onto the set of Law and Order SVU is something that was certainly unique.

She recalls her shock at meeting the cast. “They were all chatting and taking selfies with me. I grew up watching the show with my dad, so I rang him afterward at 2am and told him what happened. It was a surreal moment, especially for him.”

Tríona worked as an executive recruiter at Innovo Staffing, just a fi ve minute walk from Central Park. After 15 months there, the experience helped her to land an associate role with Barden Recruitment in Dublin.


Mark Doyle

Also graduating with a degree in business, Mark Doyle’s journey to Manhattan 17 years earlier could hardly have been more different.

Mark spent his co-operative placement working in Portland, Maine and in Tokyo, where he met his wife, Ciara O’Brien. When he completed his final exams, he landed a lucrative graduate role with Jameson Irish Whiskey in New York.

Perks of the job included an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, complete with a doorman and view of the Hudson River. He was later promoted to European brand manager for the company and spent four years travelling back and forth between Europe and New York.

Despite his success abroad, Mark wanted to move home.

“It was my choice to leave New York. I probably could have stayed but I was keen to come back and gain experience in Ireland. I missed it,” he says of his move back in 2001.He secured a job with Diageo and from there went on to work with Northern Trust and Eircom. He is now the head of group brands at AIB in Dublin.

“Working in different countries helps gain perspective,” Mark says. “I gained a lot of experience with different industries and countries when I moved abroad, which I think was the best way for me to expand my horizons.”


Tara Russell

Tara Russell was inspired to move abroad by travelling during her UL degree. As part of her BA Applied Languages, the Tipperary woman worked in Germany for her co- operative placement and studied in France on Erasmus.

“I think co-op and Erasmus are the perfect opportunities to find out what area you might be interested in,” she notes. Tara moved to a small town near Stuttgart after graduating in 1998 to work in a translation company. Living there fostered in her a love of the outdoors.

She moved back to Ireland in 2007. “I was very happy in Germany, but it was family that brought me home. As my mum was getting older and towards retirement, I wanted to come back.”

Tara now works as a freelance translator in Dublin, enjoying the freedom that comes with her role.

“I’ve never regretted the decision to freelance back in Ireland. I still have flexibility in when I work and how I work and that’s wonderful. I wouldn’t have these opportunities without having lived and worked in Germany,” she says.


Darren Smyth

Like Tara, Darren Smyth enjoyed the outdoor lifestyle when he moved to New Zealand in 2010, three years after graduating with a BA Engineering from UL.

He went from designing ovens in Limerick to designing systems for military troops to train for the battlefield.

Darren saw it as “an opportunity to go overseas and gain some experience”.

He loved the more active life in New Zealand. “Instead of people going to the pub, people went to the beach there, with picnics and barbeques,” he says.

He moved back to Limerick last year, after he and his wife had their first child. Now working as a mechanical design engineer for Megadale Ltd in Galway, Darren would recommend moving abroad to students after his own experience.

“I would definitely advise it for any young person coming out of college to consider moving abroad. It’s the best experience I’ve ever had, no regrets at all.” Triona O’Sullivan Darren Smyth Mark Doyle UL.

He went from designing ovens in Limerick to designing systems for military troops to train for the battlefield.

Darren saw it as “an opportunity to go overseas and gain some experience”.

He loved the more active life in New Zealand. “Instead of people going to the pub, people went to the beach there, with picnics and barbeques,” he says.

He moved back to Limerick last year, after he and his wife had their first child. Now working as a

mechanical design engineer for Megadale Ltd in Galway, Darren would recommend moving abroad to students after his own experience.

“I would definitely advise it for any young person coming out of college to consider moving abroad. It’s the best experience I’ve ever had, no regrets at all.”

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