What’s going on around Ireland for National Women’s Enterprise Day?

16 Oct 2019

Image: © Jacob Lund/Stock.adobe.com

From Dublin to Donegal, there are events on across the country with speakers from a wide range of industries including tech, fashion, food and medical.

Tomorrow (17 October) marks National Women’s Enterprise Day in Ireland, with around 1,700 female entrepreneurs expected to participate in events around the country, according to Enterprise Ireland.

The country’s 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are organising a total of 17 events to showcase some of Ireland’s most successful female entrepreneurs and women-led start-ups.

There’ll be appearances from well-known entrepreneurs such as Caroline Keeling from Keelings, fashion entrepreneur Sonya Lennon, Sonia Deasy of Pestle & Mortar, Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical, Niamh Sherwin Barry of the Irish Fairy Door Company, Kilkenny Group’s Marian O’Gorman, and Colette Twomey of the Clonakilty Food Company.

The aim of National Women’s Enterprise Day is to narrow the gender gap between the number of men and women starting a business in Ireland. The LEO network provided training to 21,589 female entrepreneurs and businesswomen last year (an increase of 18pc on 2017) and wants to help more women in Ireland to start their own businesses in 2019 and beyond.

Carlow and Cavan

In Carlow, there will be an interactive morning event focused on networking and sales by LEO Carlow at Lisnavagh House, Rathvilly. Kate Gaynor of Advanced Coatings and The Paint Hub will be there, alongside health and wellness advocate and athlete Derval O’Rourke.

In Cavan, there’s an evening event at Hotel Kilmore on the Dublin Road. There will be refreshments and a buffet dinner, as well as speakers Vicki O’Toole of JJ O’Toole Ltd, deputy head of cabinet at the European Commission Patricia Reilly, and Margaret McKeon-Boyle of the Cavan Business Women’s Club.

Clare, Limerick and Tipperary

LEOs in Clare, Limerick and Tipperary are partnering at Dromoland Castle in Co Clare to host an interactive day with networking opportunities, panel discussions and guest speakers, with refreshments and lunch provided.

Among the speakers and panellists are Jean McCabe of Willow Boutique, former Ireland rugby international Fiona Steed, Birgitta Curtin of the Burren Smokehouse, Florrie Purcell of the Scullery in Tipperary, and Sonya Lennon.

Cork and Kerry

LEOs in Cork and Kerry are partnering to host an afternoon tea event at the Castlemartyr Resort in Cork. The event will be hosted by Theresa Mulvihill of Tamm Technologies.

Speakers at the event include Dr Wendy Oke of TeachKloud, keynote speaker Celia Holman Lee, Aisling Hurley of The Business Fairy, Aoibheann O’Brien of Food Cloud, Emily Ahern of Evolve Therapy, Jennifer Scanlon of Coco Boutique, and Hayley Milthorpe of The Cultured Food Company.

Dublin and Donegal

Dublin’s event will be hosted by broadcaster Kathryn Thomas and feature talks from Caroline Keeling, Melanie Boylan of Stomp Social Media Training, Krissy Gibson of Take the Cake, author Siobhan Murray, Niamh Sherwin Barry, jeweller Jo Harpur, and Emer Cleary of Emu Ink Publishing. This event will be held in the Crowne Plaza, Blanchardstown.

On Thursday, there will be a half-day event held at the Castle Grove House in Letterkenny, with guest speakers, panel discussions, lunch and an interactive innovation workshop. Speakers include former Cork camogie captain Anna Geary, Evelyn Kierans of Swan Net Gundry, Agnes Lunny of Positive Futures, and Karl Thomas of Creatovation.

Galway, Mayo and Roscommon

A two-course lunch will be provided at the Meyrick Hotel in Galway City, while speakers Elizabeth McLoughlin of Tympany Medical, Samantha Kelly of The Tweeting Goddess, and Loretta Ní Ghabháin of Lorg Media share their thoughts and advice.

Kildare and Kilkenny

There’s a breakfast networking event at the Curragh racecourse before the LEO Kildare event, which is hosted by RTÉ’s Lottie Ryan. Speakers include Sonia Deasy, Maureen McCowen of Soft Skills Success, and Tracy O’Brien from The People Password.

Kilkenny will host an evening dinner event at the River Court Hotel with guest speakers including broadcaster and journalist Dr Ciara Kelly, Margaret Kirwan of Goatsbridge Trout Farm, and Goal communications manager Miriam Donohoe. Kilkenny Group’s Marian and Melissa O’Gorman will also speak at the event.

Leitrim, Louth, Mayo and Monaghan

There’ll be a three-course lunch provided at the Landmark Hotel in Carrick on Shannon, where Georgia Visnyei of GSV Coffee Ltd and psychologist, broadcaster and author Maureen Gaffney will give talks.

Meanwhile, the CityNorth Hotel in Julianstown, Co Meath, will host a half day event with breakfast reception, lunch and networking. Speakers include Lorraine Murphy from The Ideas Coach, journalist and broadcaster Margaret E Ward, director of Creative Spark Sarah Daly, and Evelyn Garland of Simply Fit Foods.

There’ll also be an LEO Monaghan evening event with buffet supper at Castle Leslie in Monaghan, with a panel of speakers, guests and networking opportunities. Speakers include textile designer Liz Christie, keynote speaker and co-founder of Lean in Ireland Breda McCague,  and head of marketing at Castle Leslie Olivia Cannon.

Offaly, Longford, Laois and Westmeath

The Gloster House in Birr, Co Offaly, will be the setting for a lunch event featuring keynote speaker Colette Twomey of Clonakilty Food Company, Emma-Rose Conroy of Euro Stallions, and Anna Marie Delaney, CEO of Offaly County Council.

There’ll also be appearances from celebrity chef and food writer Louise Lennox, Ellen Gunning of the Irish Academy of Public Relations, and Newstalk broadcaster Susan Keogh.


In Sligo, there will be an evening event at the Castle Dargan Hotel in Ballygawley. There will be networking opportunities, refreshments and a panel discussion including speakers Rhona Togher of Restored Hearing, and author and founder of Alpha Omega Consultants Oonagh Monahan. There’s also talks by Elaine Murphy of LiveTiles, Clodagh Higgins of Valor Peformance and Lucia Macari of Overstock.

Wicklow, Wexford and Waterford

Waterford’s event will take place at The Tower Hotel, where Sinead Quealy of Virtual Vet, Wicklow Business Woman of the Year Muireann Fitzmaurice, and virtual reality expert Clare Dillon.

In Wexford, there’s an interactive event at Newbay House, which runs from afternoon to late evening, covering topics on wellness and nutrition along with a pre-dinner networking reception, guest speakers and panel discussions.

In Wicklow, there’s an afternoon tea event organised by LEO Wicklow, hosted by Catherine Fulvio of the Ballyknocken House and Cookery School. This event includes networking, team-building exercises and a cookery lesson, followed by tasting and a motivational speech by Fulvio.

More details about each of these events and ticket prices can be found here.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic