HEAR WHAT ALUMNI HAVE TO SAY
Aoife O’Donnell, 2nd year student, Graduate Medical School at Magee
Despite working as an optometrist in Dublin, Derry-born Aoife O’Donnell always wanted to become a doctor.
She also missed home, her family and the friendliness of people in the North West. So when a new Graduate Medical School was announced at Ulster University’s Magee campus, Aoife seized the opportunity to return.
Now in her second year at the medical school, Aoife is currently on a surgery placement in Altnagelvin, the hospital in which she was born.
When she isn’t busy with her studies, Aoife enjoys trying out new restaurants, heading to the beach, and soaking up the atmosphere during big festivals such as Derry Halloween and the Foyle Maritime Festival.
Aoife says being able to return home, and pursue the career she’s always aspired to, is a dream come true.
Claire Mulvenna, co-owner, Mulvenna Vision
Opticians Claire and Patrick Mulvenna loved their twenties in Newcastle upon Tyne, enjoying the best of what the city had to offer. When their children were born however, the couple found they were struggling with long commutes and the lack of a family support system nearby.
They decided to move back and establish Mulvenna Vision in Derry, specialising in bold, unusual ‘eyewear for the individual’.
Setting up a new business and building up a customer base from scratch was a brave step, but it paid off for the pair. They have renovated a beautiful premises on historic Pump Street, and love being part of a network of creative and independent local brands in the heart of the city.
The work commute now takes less than 10 minutes, giving more quality time with their three children, and the family enjoy cycles along the quay, trips to St Columb’s Park, and taking part in local sports.
David and Trisha McCready, teacher and illustrator
After years living in Singapore and Dubai, David and Trisha McCready moved back to Derry in 2022 with their young family.
Trisha, a successful illustrator, author and qualified teacher, and David, a secondary school maths and PE teacher, decided to return after David secured a post in St Brigid’s College, Derry.
With two young daughters and another baby on the way, the couple were also keen to be nearer to loved ones, excellent schools, and outdoor spaces.
Since returning, David and Trisha have been making their new house a home, enjoying concerts and live music, and watching their children make friends.
And for keen golfer David, proximity to the golf courses of Donegal and the North Coast has been a particularly welcome bonus.
Patrick Lynch, founder, BioLedger
Patrick Lynch left Derry after finishing school to study in England. He then worked in New Zealand, America and Brussels before settling in London for 12 years.
During lockdown, he decided to return to the North West to set up his software development company BioLedger, which provides comprehensive audit standards for sustainable agricultural commodities.
From his base in the AMP co-working space in Ebrington Square, Patrick can communicate with clients all over the world, as well as connecting with what he describes as a “thriving ecosystem” of fellow local tech founders and digital businesses.
Life outside work has also changed massively for Patrick, who lives with his partner on a farm in Muff, County Donegal. He loves waking up there every morning, taking in the views and the fresh air, and bringing his dog for walks on the beach.