Donal came to New York 12 years ago to study acting and quickly found himself immersed in the downtown theater world. After studying acting for four years he worked tirelessly off broadway and in independent film all the time keeping the wolves from the door bar tending... After a particularly awe-inspiring trip to the Scottish Highlands in 2007, Donal was determined to implant an authentic part of Scotland in downtown Manhattan, the result of which was the roaring Highlands. Inspired by a darker victorian punk vision Donal and his business partners forged Mary Queen of Scots and then the clean utilitarianist hit Whitehall, it's been a busy few years for the Team at the Highlands Restaurant Group. In 2012 they put a classy spin on the Surf Lodge with the wildly successful Byron. Donal brings his love for theatrics and classic drama to all aspects of his life, and it can be seen in all his undertakings.
WHAT WOULD THE TITLE OF YOUR AUTO-BIOGRAPHY BE? “Kites at Night”
WHAT CAN’T YOU TRAVEL WITHOUT AND WHY?
A good book (food for the soul) and a good facial moisturizer, preferably Dr Colbert’s Illumino Face Oil (food for the face).
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS?
Madrid, a chic 24 hour city with great food and amazing museums. Tulum, love the boho vibe the beaches and the food. Nantucket, old world Americana. I feel very restful and the island gives me a delicious melancholy.
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ONE PERSON TO SHOW YOU “THEIR NEW YORK CITY,” WHO WOULD IT BE?
Edie Sedgwick (I’m assuming we can time travel). I’ve always found the world of Warhol and the Velvet Underground so sexy and cool, and Edie was the delicate flower at the center of it all for a while.
WHAT OR WHO HAS INSPIRED YOU RECENTLY, AND WHY?
I’m very much inspired by my friends, I’m very lucky to have some of the best mates you could wish for and they always remind me to laugh at myself and never take life too seriously, be grateful and cherish the days of my life. “What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” – Aristotle
WHAT ALBUM OR SONG WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR SOUNDTRACK TO NYC?
Paul Simon, Graceland and The Velvet Underground and Nico would be the albums I most associate with NYC, Only Living Boy in New York (Simon and Garfunkel) and Venus in Furs (Velvet Underground) would be my ultimate NY songs.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BRUNCH SPOTS?
Spotted Pig, the original… Ken and April make a great team. And I love me some Dim Sum Go Go…