Memoir sheds light on life of eminent businesswoman
‘The Third Daughter’, a memoir by Eileen O’Mara Walsh, tracks the trajectory of this extraordinary woman’s life, from childhood, through her relationship with renowned Westport artist Owen Walsh and her career as an eminent businessperson in the tourism sector.
The book looks back on O’Mara Walsh’s early life with her family, relocating from Limerick to Dublin in the 1940s where the family became part of Dublin’s literary and theatrical scene, moving in the same circles as Patrick Kavanagh, Seán O’Sullivan, Aidan Higgins, Michael Mac Liammóir and others.
Eileen’s work for an international Catholic women’s organisation saw her journey from London to Paris to Rome throughout the early 1960s, eventually returning to Dublin where herrelationship with Owen Walsh began. She later relocated to Paris with him, working for the newly established Irish Tourist Board and going on to win the lucrative Club Med franchise for a burgeoning Irish market.
In the ’70s, Eileen began the O’Mara Travel Company. She was founding President of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, a director of Aer Lingus, and the first woman in Ireland to be appointed Chair of an Irish commercial semi-state company in Great Southern Hotels.
Later, she became Chair of Enterprise Ireland-precursor Forbairt and Opera Ireland, and was a founding member of Dublinia.
The book’s epilogue gives a moving account of Owen Walsh’s illness and death from cancer in Mayo, where the couple found time together again. Over 50 period photographs provide further insight into Eileen O’Mara Walsh’s life.
This new book , published by Lilliput Press, is a remarkable memoir by a woman who helped give shape to contemporary Ireland and formulate tourism policy, and who bore significant witness to a bohemian Baggotonian Dublin of the 1960s and beyond.