Donegal writer Lisa McKelvey, founder of JustHappyTears, has spent the past two years preserving personal life and love stories into poetic gifts.

It’s not unusual for her to be found sitting at her desk in Boston with tears running down her face. But this is the work that she loves.

As the founder of JustHappyTears, the former journalist from Dungloe creates bespoke pieces of poetry, printed on wood, canvas or metal, to help people express their love for others in words and images.

Lisa McKelvey – JustHappyTears

With such a special gift to offer, Lisa has definitely been feeling the Christmas spirit.

Speaking to DW, Lisa said: “Christmas is a sentimental time. It’s the one time of year where families and friends stop for a few days and come together, so what better time to celebrate those special relationships?

“A JustHappyTears gift is the perfect way to show someone how much you love them.”


Lisa’s love for her work stays strong due to the stories shares by each customer, she says.

Lisa said: “Although it’s been daunting, setting up JustHappyTears has been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. The little victories are all the more exciting because you’re starting from scratch.

“Everytime an order comes in, I still get a little rush and sometimes I still can’t believe it when I get emails from our customers saying that they love their poem and gift and that we captured their story perfectly. The nature of our business is very rewarding in every sense because we get to help celebrate people and relationships everyday.”

JustHappyTears – Proposal

Lisa had four years of experience in the RTE Newsroom before making the move to Boston in 2015. She was offered a job with Self Help Africa while out visiting her then-fiance Trevor (now her husband) and spent one year working with the non-profit organisation.

She stepped back from her VP of Business Development to set up JustHappyTears, but remains involved in this amazing international charity as a board member.

JustHappyTears has now grown into a 5 person team, with a downtown Boston office and a customer base spanning across 13 countries. She will soon be scouting out an Irish office to bring the gifts closer to home, as many orders continue to flood in from her supportive home community in Donegal.

Lisa McKelvey – JustHappyTears

“Moving to Boston gave me a new outlook on life. I think being immersed in a new country, city and culture gave me the push and uprooting that I needed to really begin to think about what I really wanted to do in life. I knew that I wanted to write for a living in some capacity but just hadn’t figured out the details at that stage! That’s when JustHappyTears came into play,” Lisa said.

Despite writing countless poems on various topics and relationships, Lisa says inspiration is never hard to find.

The feedback, she says, is a testament to the team’s ability to truly understand what their customers want to say. From a bride’s gift to her groom or two parents’ sharing their love and hopes with their baby on his first Christmas, there are endless special moments.

New Baby Poem for a Donegal family by JustHappyTears

“The stories that come in with our orders give us all the inspiration we need. Every story is beautiful in its own way… whether it’s a celebration of a romantic relationship or a new baby gift or even a memorial piece, everyone has a story and I count myself so lucky to be able to help celebrate and capture these life stories and love stories everyday,” she said.

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Lisa McKelvey is also a member of the Women’s Inspire Network, which is coming to Donegal on the 10th of April 2019! is the WIN media partner for the ‘Overcoming Challenges’ conference at Harvey’s Point. Tickets for ‘Women’s Inspire Donegal’ are out now on Use the code ‘donegalwoman’ for 20% off your ticket. Tickets include a full day conference, lunch, and workshops.