*Danielle O’Connor.

DANIELLE O’Connor, a seasoned property advisor with Sherry Fitzgerald McMahon in Ennis, has navigated the whirlwind industry of real estate for nearly two decades.

Originally from Cork, Danielle has called Clare home for over 20 years, residing in Corofin on the Burren’s edge for almost 10 years. Specializing in North and West Clare, particularly in the realm of holiday homes spanning from Kilkee to Lahinch and beyond, Danielle’s journey to success is marked by an unwavering commitment to her clients.

Danielle’s journey into the property industry began unexpectedly during her Leaving Cert year. With her father working in construction, her family embarked on building and selling a house after they relocated from Cork to Clare for work. “That’s where the interest sparked for me, to be honest, going through that whole process with them,” she reminisces. “I found it very interesting from initially renting a property while applying for planning permission, the construction and later the sale of that property and purchase of another. That’s what made me pursue a career in the property market.”

Despite not previously having a clear career path in mind, Danielle’s curiosity for the property market led her to pursue a degree in the field after sitting her Leaving Cert in Tulla Secondary School.

Upon completing her education at LIT in Limerick where she gained a first class honours degree in property valuations and management and gaining invaluable experience with the forward planning unit of Clare County Council, Danielle found herself at Sherry Fitzgerald Mc Mahon’s offices for an interview. “Dermot and Diarmuid [Mc Mahon] kindly gave me a start here. Within a year of qualifying, I was with Sherry Fitzgerald and have been here ever since.”

Danielle’s tenure at Sherry Fitzgerald McMahon has been marked by versatility and resilience. Starting in the commercial sector under the tutelage of property veteran Paddy Darmody, Danielle swiftly transitioned to a leadership role in the company’s Ennistymon office, where Sherry Fitzgerald McMahon had merged with Evelyn Mad den and Aine Hussey of Open Door Properties. There, Danielle says she gained in valuable insights from the two female entrepreneurs. “They were fantastic business women, they thought me so much and I loved working up there with them” she shares.

“The girls thought me to be yourself with people. People want to work with people. The personal approach is always best. Also buying a property at a young age myself at the peak of the market then having that market deteriorate dramatically meant I had been through good and bad times within the market myself, not just from a professional point of view but a personal one also so I suppose I could commiserate with people or celebrate with them whatever the case maybe as I had been in their shoes.”

Danielle believes her success in the industry comes down to her client care, which remains her guiding principle. “You have to be honest with people from the get-go,” she says. “Being honest and transparent with people from the start, keeping open communication all the way… Sale agreeing a property is only the first part of it, you need to keep it going from start to finish, just keep dedicated to help getting it over the line and sold while keeping both your buyers and sellers happy during the process.”

On the challenges of being a woman in the business world, Danielle acknowledges the unique position she faces as a working mother. She gave birth to her daughter Amelia during Covid-19, and Danielle admits that she’s still learning to juggle the demands of her career with motherhood. “It’s inevitable, as a woman to feel torn I believe, there is a constant guilt when working full time as a mother so it’s important to have a healthy work-life balance, making a conscious effort to ensure you are present for both and it’s a challenge I’ve never had before. However I’m hoping that in time, when my daughter is older, she will learn, by example, the importance of working hard to get what you want in life and hopefully become a strong, independent women like my mother raised me to be.”

In an industry historically dominated by men, Danielle has witnessed a seismic shift towards gender equality, however. “I really don’t think that it is a challenge at all, women really are at the forefront of property now,” she notes.

Reflecting on her proudest achievements, Danielle emphasises the importance of continuous learning and growth. “I’ve made plenty [of mistakes]. We’re all human at the end of the day but I’ve learned from all of them as well, I think that’s why I’ve stayed with it, it’s a challenging career but it’s also exciting, no two days are ever the same.”

Despite the challenges and uncertainties inherent in her profession, Danielle finds so lace and rejuvenation in the scenic landscapes of North and West Clare. “It’s beautiful working in North and West Clare,” she enthuses.

“When you’re driving from A to B you don’t often get a chance to stop and appreciate it but if I get 10 minutes in Kilkee or Lahinch, I’ll take a walk on the beach. Walking is my therapy. Selfcare is very important. Sometimes I’ll bring the runners into the office and take my walk at lunchtime just to clear my head and what seemed like a difficult task before lunch seems much more approachable after the walk.”

Contact Danielle by emailing danielle@sherryfitzmcmahon.ie or calling 086 8368837.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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