Meg O’Gara is a creative vintage loving designer & illustrator who is best known as Megnificent Creative.
Living in Glencolumbkille and based in Kilcar she offers a range of creative online services from graphic design for print & web to bespoke illustrations for personal or business use and loves sprinkling creativity wherever she goes.
Being creative is something that comes naturally to Meg, who can often be found knee deep in craft projects with her two sons aged 3 and 1 or whizzing up vintage style clothes or headpieces for herself at home.
Mother of two, with another joining the family in 2020, Meg is co-author of the newly published book; The Mammy Handbook, she loves to empower other mothers on their own unique journey in motherhood and help them to shed the mum guilt whilst raising their tribe.
Meg loves to collaborate and bring creativity to projects, you can connect with her at www.megnificentcreative.com
This is Meg’s My Donegal:
1) What is your favourite place in Donegal and why?
A beautiful spot just a stone’s throw from my home, the abandoned village of An Port near Glencolumcille. It’s thought that that the inhabitants of the wee village had to leave during The Famine after which, the houses simply fell into ruin. It’s against a rugged coastal backdrop, these abandoned and ruined houses are made of local stone and has its own quiet air of calmness and solitude.
Before I had children I loved walking there with my four legged friend and now my boys share my love for Port. We visit there regularly and soak in the peace and imagine what the people who lived there were like.
(2) Who is the one person in Donegal that you look up to and why?
My colleague and co-author of The Mammy Handbook, Evelyn Mc Glynn of Evelyn Mc Marketing. She is a powerhouse, a force to be reckoned with and inspiring in all the best ways possible.
(3) What’s your happiest Christmas memory in Donegal?
I have so many happy memories of Donegal at Christmas time. One of my favourites is from when I was working in Dublin – finishing up work late on Christmas Eve, jumping into the car to make the journey to Glencolmcille with Christmas songs playing the whole way…Arriving late & being greeted by my boyfriend (now my husband) who was waiting for my arrival…catching the expression on his face as I jumped from my car looking like Santa’s Christmas Elf carrying an almighty sack of gifts.
(4) If you could change one thing about Donegal what would it be?
I would change the hospital facilities and services that are available within the county. I find it shocking that for a county of its size there is only one hospital serving everyone and even with that – certain departments/ services are either simply not available to people residing here or are only available in our county hospital when they travel from other hospitals.
(5) What has been Donegal’s proudest moment in recent years?
I think one of Donegal’s proudest moments in recent history is voting YES in the Marriage Referendum. In a county that historically votes no, coming together to voice a collective and resounding YES is something I believe we can be very proud of.
(6) If you found a magic wand that allowed you to grant one wish for Donegal, what would it be?
Fast broadband for everyone!!
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(7) What is your favourite Donegal-made product?
There are so many amazing products that come out of Donegal but one of my all time favourites is the seaweed soap from The Donegal Soap Company. I buy this particular product all the time and anytime I want to send a little piece of Donegal to my friends overseas – this is one of the go-to Donegal products I make sure to include. Not only is it simply amazing on your skin and a treat for the senses I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t absolutely fall in love with this product.
(8) Who is Donegal’s greatest ambassador around the world and why?
Deirdre McGlone is an amazing female entrepreneur and ambassador for Donegal.
Deirdre is involved in projects on a local, national & international scale yet still finds time to encourage and support other women in business as the President of Donegal Women in Business Network and nationally as mentor on the Acorns Programme for rural women in enterprise.
(9) What is your earliest memory associated with Donegal?
A family trip to cottages in Cruit Island. Stopping on the way there (from Kildare) in St. John’s Point for an overnight stay. I remember thinking that Donegal felt like a whole other world away, I delighted in exploring the beaches, poking around in rock pools and taking so many photographs because I never wanted to forget what a trip to Donegal felt like. I remember thinking if we could just trap a little bit of that feeling in a photograph and bring it home with us we would always have a slice of heaven.
Little did I know that years later I’d be truly ensconced in the beauty of Donegal literally living the dream!
(10) What has been the biggest compliment you’ve ever received?
Anyone who knows me or has seen me will know I’m a huge lover of vintage fashion!!
Particularly the 1940s to 1950s. I dress in a vintage style most days and have done for as long as I can recall. It’s such a large part of who I am it’s even worked its way into my branding for Megnificent Creative! Dressing vintage isn’t a look most people encounter every day so a lot of people comment on my creative vintage hairstyles or outfits. One of my favourite encounters was an elderly American War Veteran who asked if it would be okay to sit and talk a while because I reminded him of his “sweetheart” he lost during the war.
(11) Who is your favourite Donegal sportsperson of all time?
Triathlete Natasha Kelly from Glencolumbkille. Not only for her sporting achievements but for her real life fitness blogging. Her behind the scenes look at what pushing yourself, learning new skills and taking part is about – its not all #instaglam but it’s certainly all inspiring and worth it!
(12) What is your favourite Donegal restaurant/bar?
I’m really loving a new place that has recently opened up in Killybegs called the Boathouse Restaurant. It’s brilliant seeing new places opening their doors, Donegal has such an amazing food scene!
(13) What is your favourite Donegal saying or expression?
I love how the word “wile” is used – we see lots of “wile winds” around our parts.
(14) What is the biggest challenge facing the people of Donegal today?
Employment opportunities – Donegal is a vast county with limited employment opportunities especially for those living in rural places. I’m fortunate that I am creative, offering my designs, online services and products to people across the globe all from our wee corner but so many others have had to leave and seek employment far away from home.
(15) What is your favourite food that you associate with Donegal?
I have always associated Donegal with the freshest of fresh seafood.
Living right on the coast it’s no surprise that my favourite food associated with Donegal is the gorgeous fish caught off our shores.
(16) Is there anything that really annoys you about Donegal or its people?
I think it’s a real shame that the network of rail transport that once serviced our beautiful corner no longer exists. We say “Come Visit Donegal” and yet we have no direct motorways or rail network to get people here.
(17) Who is your favourite Donegal entrepreneur?
I had the pleasure to meet Rosaleen Hegarty from Crana Knits at Donegal Women In Business Network’s 20th Anniversary Conference and found her entrepreneurial story spanning decades and her personal story of overcoming the odds incredibly inspiring.
(18) If you had a hundred million euro to improve something in Donegal what would it be?
Connectivity! It’s amazing to be able to be creative & do something I love each day but a major challenge for me and countless others across the county is connectivity! I live and work in areas that have zero mobile coverage in a time when others are enjoying 5G! And as for broadband services – so many places in the county including enterprise centres don’t even have fibre broadband yet.
(19) Where’s the most unusual place you’ve logged on to Donegal Daily?
The morning of my wedding in New York City – catching up on the local news!
(20) Nomination for best dressed Donegal person?
Style is so subjective with my own personal style preference being a bit different to the cultural norm. It’s tricky to pick out just one person in the style stakes as I admire many people across the county, for different elements of their own personal style. Whether it’s a piece of jewellery they wear, an amazing hairstyle, incorporating a hat in their day to day wardrobe or just wearing some really awesome socks on show…Society is so quick to judge & tell us how we should dress, look and behave – being true to your authentic self is the best outfit any of us can wear.
(21) Is there anything about Donegal that you are very proud of? (example: our culture/language)
I think Donegal has so much to be proud of. Often touted as “The Forgotten County” I think once someone visits Donegal, its a place they are not likely ever going to forget. With beautiful lighthouses and Martello Towers dotting the coastline, It’s place rich in history and breathtaking scenery. Almost everywhere you look there are spectacular unspoiled views that do wonders for your soul and something we should be very proud of.
(22) What is the most rewarding thing about what you do?
Through Megnificent Creative, I get the opportunity to work on amazing and varied creative projects, collaborate with a whole host of different individuals and businesses. Sprinkling creativity everywhere. Designing, illustrating or making things by hand – each project is unique. The best part is I get to be creative & work with so many different people from across the globe without having to leave Donegal.