Our “A day in the life chat” is with Liam O’Brien MD of Doolin Ferry


Liam O’Brien is the owner and operator of Doolin Ferry Co, in Doolin, Co. Clare.

Established in 1970 by his father Bill O’Brien- Liam has carried on the family tradition. Liam has seen the business grow from a traditional currach to revolutionising the services in Doolin by launching the largest high-speed ferry in Doolin in 2020, ‘The Aran Islands Express’ ferry.

Q 1- How does your normal day begin? –

A phone call from Bill, my father. What’s it like today, where are the boats, how’s the sea etc.? After the morning check-in, I grab my breakfast and head straight to Doolin Pier to get ready for an early start.

Q 2- What are your biggest daily challenges?

Each day brings a new set of circumstances in Doolin in terms of the weather, sea conditions, the number of passengers travelling and where. So, managing the logistics of crews, ferry routes, and passengers most efficiently would be my biggest daily challenge.

Q3- What do you love most about your job?

I have grown up in this business so for me I love it all, boats truly are my passion. The craic in Doolin is mighty- meeting passengers from all over Ireland, the world, and watching them create a memorable trip out to The Aran Islands with us is very rewarding. You never know who you’ll meet.

Q 4- What do you do to relax?

Relax, what is that? When I do get some time off, I really enjoy taking my children out fishing or going for a spin on the smaller boats we have with my family.

Q 5-Favourite staycation destination in Ireland and why?

I’d have to say Inishbofin or any of Irelands Islands. I absolutely love checking out how other ferry services operate in Ireland and catching up with them.

Q 6-Favourite holiday destination worldwide?

It’s impossible to choose but I’d have to say, New York. My wife is originally from there and I love that there is such a strong Irish connection.

Q 7-Favourite Business motto?

The customer is always right!

Q 8. Advice for young business entrepreneurs

Find your interest and when you do it’ll hardly be work at all. If you truly have the passion don’t be afraid to take risks, fail, learn, and then you will ultimately succeed.