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Emer McDermott tells us how she found her career ‘eureka’ moment

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04th May 2019
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Sometimes, we can spend years searching for a ‘eureka’ moment in our careers. Something that will send us in the right direction, or kickstart a career trajectory. For Emer McDermott, her eureka moment came in 2017, when she moved her Mayo-based business, the highly-regarded agency McDermott Travel, to being part of leading independent travel company Travel Counsellors.

“The big ‘aha moment’ for me,” explains Emer, “was that you are not closing, changing or going backwards. You are actually moving forward with a Travel Counsellors partnership, and in a much better way.”

Travel Counsellors

For Emer, it was a well-considered decision to move her business to Travel Counsellors. With over 20 years’ experience in tailor-made holidays, cruises and honeymoons, she wanted to grow her operation, and examined the avenues open to her.

“I had an agency for years, and I was familiar with that model — you had a shop, and people came in and used your services. However, with Travel Counsellors I had this image that I would be based from home, and I couldn’t see that working for me,” says Emer. “It was only after meeting Cathy Burke and Bernie Whelan from Travel Counsellors Ireland’s Head Office that I was encouraged to look at Travel Counsellors in a different way. I could work at an enterprise centre, in an office, and that was the clincher for me.” Emer realised that moving her operation from McDermott Travel could mean growing her business even further, without the huge overheads of owning a travel agency.

Making the change

Emer set up her office in Leeson Enterprise Centre in Westport, allowing her to work with a team behind her. The Travel Counsellors model also means that travel agency owners like Emer can keep their identity.

For Emer, it was pushing through the fear of the unknown that was her biggest leap.  “We build-up change hugely in our heads, to be a big thing,” she explains. “Partnering with Travel Counsellors has been one of the best decision I have ever made. Yes, it was unknown, yes, it was a big change, but sometimes all you need to do is just take a moment before that leap of faith. Just trust your gut.”

Emer is now looking to the future with optimism. “When I partnered with Travel Counsellors, I stepped up another gear,” she says. “I was a small retail travel agent, ticking along, and now I am part of a much bigger story. I adore my job, and love making people’s dreams a reality. With Travel Counsellors, that is something that I can continue to do into the future.”

To find out more about how to become a Travel Counsellor, head to If you wish to enquire about a bespoke holiday of a lifetime, connect with Emer at

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