He’s spent more than a decade living the American dream running bars and restaurants in the city ‘where everybody knows your name.’
Oran McGonagle is a man who means business, and he’s been interested in it since he was 16 years-old. The 35 year-old now runs five bars and restaurants in Boston, known throughout the world as the setting for the iconic comedy Cheers. And more recently he’s opened his own Irish bar ‘The Cottage’ in Weymouth, along with friends.
But thoughts often return to his native Moville in County Donegal, the North West Regional College (NWRC) and Ulster University, where he first learned the skills he needed to succeed in business.
He said: “I studied at NWRC from 2002 to 2004 where I completed the HND in Business. I did my Leaving Certificate at 16 so I was too young for Uni, so I decided to get a head start with the HND.
“I loved it. I learnt a lot during my HND. I matured a lot during my time there and it give me a glimpse of what the real world is like after secondary school. The HND was probably the best foundation I had when I think about it. I gained knowledge of different aspects of business from HR to Accounting that I now use every day.
“After my HND I went to UU where I completed my Degree in Business. I graduated Uni right in the recession so I decided to come to the USA to see if there was some better opportunities.
“I’ve always wanted to have my own business. I’ve worked in the hospitality business for years at home and in Boston. The opportunity came about after bartending for years and meeting the right people. I had the business knowledge, I just needed a bit of luck.
“I was fortunate to meet Willy McCarthy from East Coast Tavern Group who brought me into his company. I run five bars and restaurants with him now. I also setup my own bar with a group of friends called The Cottage, this is out in Weymouth where we all live and it’s our local.
“Running my own business is very rewarding. It’s a lot of hard work and stress at times but that’s part of it. Covid has been a challenge but we are getting through it.
“To aspiring business owners I’d say I’ve been very fortunate along the way to have great mentors and staff to help me, so you need good people around you but if you have the will, I say go for it. I’m really glad that I studied business at NWRC when I was younger as it gave me a great foundation going forward.
“I’ll always miss home and home will always be home for me. I’m very proud to be Irish and from Donegal so I definitely incorporate that into my business. I have a strong Donegal network of staff working for me also.”
North West Regional College has just published its 21/22 Higher Education Course Guide with a range of subjects, full and part time, including HNDS, HNCS, Foundation Degrees, and Professional Qualifications.
You can request a copy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or view the digital edition at nwrc.ac.uk