The Kilcar man grew up in a very different Donegal in the 1960s and soon traveled to work in many places around the world including London and Asia.
However he was forced to return to Ireland following a horrific family tragedy which was to shape his life forever.
“In 1996, I came back to Ireland because my beloved sister Marie and her husband were killed in a car accident in Donegal. Their three small children were orphaned, and another of my sisters, Geraldine, was severely injured. Our family’s lives changed forever, and I came home to Donegal for good.
“I had a fear of not being accepted: being gay when I was growing up left awful insecurities . . . I know from the number of people who approach me for help that homophobia is still a huge problem: not a week goes by without me being contacted by young people who are having problems, or their parents, and it’s a source of pride to me that I can be of some help.
“Donegal – and my local community in particular – since I came home has been very warm and accepting.
Noel, who is also customer relations manager for Harvey’s Point Hotel, now lives in Killybegs.
He was speaking to the Irish Times for their magazine section about his friend and colleague Sinead Desmond.