st patricks day

Top 5 Things to do in the West for St Patrick’s Day 2018

It’s one of the biggest days in the calendar and a day for Irish people at home and abroad to celebrate our culture, identity and heritage.

But St Patrick’s Day is so much more than that.

We give you the rundown on the ‘Top 5 Things to do in the West of Ireland this St Patrick’s weekend’. 

1. Sunrise and Pipe Bands (17th March)

Achill Island is famous for its pipe bands and its sunrise tradition. The pipe bands begin to play at sunrise on Achill and will march and perform until sunset.

This schedule allows visitors and spectators to join the bands for a while and then to explore Achill’s other attractions – for the active visitor these include watersports, golf or hillwalking, while for the more relaxed visitor there are always the restaurants and bars to enjoy.

Celebrate Ireland’s national day in traditional style, and follow Achill’s pipe bands on their annual parades.

2018 Schedule: Reveille at 06.00am, marches from 09.00am, Dookinella meet at 13.00pm, then return to villages. >>

St Patricks Day2. Galway’s St Patrick’s Day Parade  (17th March)

2018 marks the 116th anniversary of the Galway St. Patrick’s Day Parade and you can expect a wonderful spectacle of all things Irish with this Year’s Guest of Honour being Galway native and extreme adventurer Gavan Hennigan. The iconic fountain in Eyre Square will even turn green as part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations.  The Parade will start at 11.30am and finish at approximately 1.00pm.

The parade will feature an array of community, cultural, sporting and international groups including Ireland’s pioneering spectacle theatre company Macnas, led by the Macnas Young Ensemble. Recognised worldwide for its quality and innovation, Macnas will be accompanied by a fantastical, flowery giant Macnas owl alongside a cacophony of rhythm passion and purpose from the next generation Macnas drummers.. >>

3. May The Road Rise To Meet You (17th March)

St. Patrick’s Day, with a difference in South Sligo as athletes will once again take to the roads for the Tubbercurry St. Patrick’s Day 10K Road Race.

The first ever Tubbercurry 10K road race was planned for St. Stephen’s Day but was postponed due to snow and ice. It was rescheduled for St. Patrick’s Day 1973 and ever since it has become an annual fixture in the running calendar. Last year saw 375 runners take to the streets of Tubbercurry. >>

4. Go Native in Donegal (17th March)

Since 2005, the people of Burtonport, Co Donegal, and surrounding areas have hosted a celebration of Irish culture on St Patrick’s day.

A formal warning has been issued to all Leprechauns in the area to please stay away from the Burtonport Old Railway Walk in the coming days.

Word has it that a Leprechaun catcher is at work at the minute and has already caught a dozen leprechauns which he has restricted to a cage in a bid to limit their mischief over the run-up St Patrick’s day.

Organisers encourage a ‘Bring and Share’ event where everyone brings along food to share on the day.  Experience home baking, the Irish language, traditional dance, music, food, games and a warm welcome. >> More on their Facebook Page here

St Patrick's Day5. Join Ireland’s friendliest place for the Ennis St Patrick’s Day parade

In excess of 10,000 people lined the streets of the Clare County Capital during last year’s parade, which featured 50 groups representing the many aspects of life in Ennis and County Clare.

The theme for this year’s Parade is ‘Ennis – Ireland’s Friendliest Place’, which the Local Authority says provides participating groups, organisations, bands, schools and members of the public an opportunity to celebrate the recently awarded status. >>


shopify galway

Shopify – A New World of Job Opportunities for the West of Ireland

With the advent of better broadband and an increasing demand for flexible working options, companies are looking at the potential of remote working for staff.

This is good news for the West of Ireland, with more and more people looking to escape the M50 and work in the West, the potential to work remotely for a large company with great career options is very appealing.

working from home

Shopify in the West

One such company offering just this is Shopify. Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce firm headquartered in Ottawa. It develops software for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. It was originally founded after its owners wrote software for their online snowboard store. The platform is currently used by more than 600,000 merchants who transact more than $34bn in sales volume.

Shopify now employs a large team in Ireland; most of whom are based in the West. All Shopify staff work from home; there is no Shopify office.

Shopify staff are located across the Western Region; with Galway centralised as its hub city. There are already some clusters of staff in towns like Carrick on Shannon, County Leitrim and Boyle, County Roscommon. They also have staff in Sligo, Donegal, Clare and obviously a large cohort in Galway. Staff do get to meet though; Shopify hosts monthly social meet-ups, mostly in Galway but events have also taken place in Sligo and other areas.

We spoke to the Luke Cassidy who works in Talent Acquisition at Shopify, to understand how this works and what their expansion plans are for the West of Ireland.

‘We’ve grown our team 300% over the last few years; from a small team that started in Galway in 2015. The majority of Shopifolk are based on the West coast. The team primarily works in support roles.’

Looking West

galway cityWhen asked why Shopify chose to base their team primarily in the West, Cassidy is effusive in his positivity on the benefits. ‘As soon as we felt the entrepreneurial energy of Galway City, we felt at home. At Shopify, we saw the opportunity to tap into the diverse and skilled workforce, and have a positive impact on the city as a whole.’

Luke also emphasises the importance of the cultural strength of Galway; ‘Galway is a cultural hub with an amazingly inclusive, innovative and engaged population. From Eyre Square to Spanish Arch, and everything in between  illustrated that the passion, spirit and heartbeat of the city is palpable.’

Shopify is a Canadian company and considers itself to be the world’s biggest start-up. They see a very strong cultural alignment between their company’s ethos and the West of Ireland culture; they are champions of diversity.

Remote Work Doesn’t Mean Isolation

Working remotely takes a certain amount of discipline and whether Shopify are recruiting for a customer service role or a more techie position, skills like problem-solving and the ability to think independently are key.

While you’ll get all the benefits of working from home, but with a solid structure. Staff work in set shifts, typically between 7am – 3pm or 10 am – 6 pm. And although you’ll be working remotely-  you won’t be lonely. “We schedule by team, so when you are working your whole support network are online too,” Luke explains.

And you’ll also get plenty of opportunities to meet your team members face-to-face. “There are meet-ups happening organically and then once a month we have a team meet-up.”

Meet The Team:

shopify team

Luke Cassidy and Veronica Patton of Shopify

Veronica Patton is a ‘Support Onboarding Trainer’ working with Shopify. She divides her time between Galway City and her native home in Donegal. We spoke with Veronica to get an insight into her experience of remote working for Shopify.

What did you do before you worked for Shopify?

‘I worked in many different areas before Shopify. My background was in Town Planning and most of my experience was in that field. I was a Heritage Officer for a local authority, then a tourist advisor for a while. Directly before Shopify, I was working for a distribution company in the West.

How did you find your job?

‘I was introduced to Shopify in April 2015 when a recruitment agency I had used before got in touch with me and told me about an exciting Canadian company that was looking to hire people in the Galway area. I didn’t really have any commerce or IT experience but the mission and values of the company drew me in. .

I also really enjoyed the interview process, from the “Life Story” interview to the technical interview (aptly called the Gauntlet!) I can honestly say that my life has changed for the better since joining Shopify.

I joined as a Customer Success Guru and loved every minute of it. I had never learned so much in any role previously. It was challenging work, but thanks to an amazing team, I was able to embrace the change and excel. I spent over a year as a Guru, then moved into the Squad Lead role and now a Support Trainer.’

What are the pros and cons of remote working?

‘One of the biggest pros for me has been the flexibility it has offered. I can work in Galway until 4pm on a Monday, hop in the car after work and drive to Donegal and work from there for a few days without it impacting my role. I have been able to spend more time with my family and friends than I ever did in any previous role. I can work from my home office or meet up with colleagues where we work together for the day.

I’ve noticed such a difference in my work-life balance. You have more time to spend doing the things you enjoy rather than sitting in traffic trying to get home. You’ll also save money on work clothes. Remote working makes you more proactive and independent – which has definitely helped me both inside and outside of work.’

remote working

So are there any negatives to remote working?

Veronica struggles to find any large negatives in her experience of remote working. ‘Personally, I find it hard to think of too many cons of remote working. I have definitely found more pros than cons, it has had a such a positive impact on my life.

It can sometimes be easy to continue working past your scheduled finishing time or opening the laptop on a weekend to check something else but you end up reading emails. It’s important to be aware of these kind of habits. You’re not really getting proper downtime if you are constantly on. Luckily Shopify has resources in place to help with this. Teams have daily check-ins as well as weekly meetings with your team lead – both are so supportive and always offer great advice. We also have allowances to support your mental and physical health, which let me expense the running shoes I had been looking to buy for months and help inspire me to be active. I’ve also tried my hand at a few meditation classes for the first time! Communication is different on a remote team, we mostly communicate via our internal chat (Slack) or by using video call.’

A huge thanks to Luke and Veronica from Shopify for sharing these insights with us. If you like the sound of a role in Shopify, the good news is they are hiring!

For more info, visit

Enterprise Week in the West

It’s Local Enterprise Week from Sunday March 4th to Friday March 9th in the West and to celebrate, Local Enterprise Offices are organising hundreds of events for start-ups and small businesses in the West of Ireland.

To see what events across the West are taking place near you, click on your county button below.

You’ll also find updates and event news by searching #localenterprise on social media!

Check out Local Enterprise Office Explained video

GMIT ‘New Frontiers’ Enterprise Programme

New Frontiers is Ireland’s national entrepreneur development programme, delivered locally by Galway Mayo Institute of Technology and funded by Enterprise Ireland.

If you have an innovative business idea with a plan to establish your own company, or you are already at an early stage of development, the New Frontiers Programme can provide you with funding, help and support to develop your new business. Participants can remain in their own office, enterprise centre, start-up hub, work from home and/or avail of the GMIT Innovation Hubs.

How Does The Programme Benefit Entrepreneurs?

Expertise in all areas of business including investment, market research & validation, business model, patenting, product development, sales and marketing.

Mentoring from experienced business advisers and practitioners.

Office space (if needed) and other business incubation facilities.

€15,000 funding to cover full-time participation in the second phase of the programme.

Networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs and business development agencies.

Introductions to seed and early-stage capital investment networks.

Access to entrepreneurship best practice – both national and international.

Peer group learning from participants in this region and across the country.

Access to the expertise in Enterprise Ireland through the Market Research Centre.

Expertise from GMIT and the supportive environment of the Innovation Hubs in Galway and Mayo.

Ideally Applicants Should:

  • Have an innovative idea
  • Be capable of building a new company
  • Create employment
  • Generate sales revenue
  • Have export potential

New Frontiers is Delivered in Three Phases:

  • The First Phase will test the feasibility of the proposition. It is the shortest phase (6/8 weeks) and will be conducted on a part-time basis. It will focus on the promoter, product/service, market opportunity, business model and feasibility study.
  • The Second Phase is much more intensive. Participants on this phase must commit on a full-time basis for 6 months. €15,000 funding will be available to all eligible participants. Expert modules, workshops and mentoring will be provided.
  • The Third Phase is built around the business success and growth, getting to the market, exporting, generating employment and attracting investment. This will be full-time over 3 months.  A €14,000 award fund sponsored by KPMG (€10,000) and AIB (€4,000) will be available for the best emerging companies on the programme.

Apply early as places are limited.  First preference places will be offered to those who return their applications by Friday, 16th March.

Planned start date for Phase 1 is 7th April.

Email Trisha Carrick for an application form.

Additional information: or

wdc insights

Census 2016: The Western Region’s Labour Market – in pictures!

As the final Census 2016 Profile ‘Employment, Occupations and Industry’ was published by the CSO last week, we now have a pretty good picture of the Western Region’s labour market in 2016.  The Western Development Commission (WDC) has today published an infographic on some interesting facts about the Western Region’s labour market.

This is the second in a series of infographics to be published using data from the Census and focusing on the Western Region – the seven counties under the remit of the WDC.  The aim is to make key regional statistics available in an easily accessible manner.

In this infographic we show that:

  • The Western Region had 17.4% of the State population in 2016, 16.6% of all employment and 19.5% of all self-employment
  • There are over 100,000 retired people living in the Western Region
  • Industry is the biggest employment sector in the Western Region and also enjoyed the biggest gain in employment between 2011 and 2016

You can download ‘The Western Region’s Labour Market’ infographic here

west of ireland work force

See more from the WDC Insights Blog here.

WDC Analysis of Census data: Where people in the Western Region Live and Work

More people living in the Western Region now leave the Region for work – analysis of Census data by the WDC shows

  • 7 out of every 10 workers (71.5%) living in the Western Region, work within the Region a decline since 2011 when 73.2% of workers in the Western Region found work in the Region.
  • Over 4,200 Western Region residents travel to work in Dublin, up by 16.9% since 2011.
  • In 2016 there was a net loss of 17,565 workers who leave the Region to work elsewhere.
  • Compared to 2011, this is an increase in the number of workers leaving the Region to work, when there was a net loss of -14,939 residents working outside of the Region.

Of the workplace destinations outside the Western Region, the five counties of Limerick (7,948), Westmeath (4,500), Dublin (4,258), Derry (2,986) and Longford (1,730) are the most significant workplaces.

Over 4,500 workers living in the Western Region work abroad (4,661).

View some specific county findings: HERE

For more information or to arrange interviews, contact Deirdre Frost, Policy Analyst, 086 605 3317


cregg recruitment

‘Home for Christmas? Find your New Career’

Over the festive period, leading Irish recruitment firm CREGG Recruitment will be hosting a recruitment open day.

The event will take place in the Connacht Hotel Galway on the 28th of December from 11am-3pm.

Solutions Through Partnership

CREGG Recruitment are aware of the difficulty people face in relation to moving home. In order to facilitate and make this move as seamless as possible CREGG Recruitment will have experienced recruiters available to provide expert career advice. We have partnered with who provide information for individuals setting up a business or looking to relocate to the West.

We have also collaborated with Fenero, who are leading providers in tax solutions for contractors.

Coming home for Christmas?

Christmas is a special time of the year where friends and family return home, many with the same thoughts of,

  • When can I return home for good?
  • Are there job opportunities available?
  • Is there job security for me and/or my family?

CREGG Recruitment work with many leading SME and Multinational companies across Galway, Clare, Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon, Westmeath and more. They are currently recruiting within various areas including R&D, Quality, Manufacturing, Engineering, Supply Chain, Process Maintenance, Customer Service & Languages, Finance and Marketing.

To make the most of your day at the event, all attendees are advised to bring a CV, in order for our team to match you to available opportunities.

If you wish to book an appointment please call Breda Murphy on 091 700814 or email

More info at

See you there!


marine businesses

Marine Industry Businesses – Get Listed in the Marine Institute Directory

La Tene Maps has been contracted by the Marine Development Team through the Marine Institute to
compile a complete Directory on Marine Related Business in Ireland to be delivered in Electronic and
Printed format. If you are a marine related business and you would like to be included in this directory please complete this short 5 minute survey HERE .

This information is required to support the work of the Marine Development Team an initiative of the Government to promote and support the development of marine related business in Ireland. This is laid out in the Government’s integrated plan for the marine industry, Harnessing our Ocean Wealth.

As part of this mission it is critically important that there is a single, complete and updated source of information on:

  1. What are the companies active in Marine Ireland
  2. Where are they and what parts of the marine business are they active in
  3. How can they be contacted

La Tene Maps will compile and produce a printed directory whilst the data from the directory will also be made available for free access online by the Irish Maritime Development Office in early 2018.
To help complete this directory please complete this short 5 minute survey HERE. La Tene Maps will keep you informed about progress about the directory.



Top 10 Things To Do in the West of Ireland to get in the Christmas Spirit

We are getting very festive here in LookWest HQ with only two weeks to go to the big day. Each year we are amazed at how many incredible Christmas markets, festivals and events are taking place in the West to get you in the festive spirit. This year’s list is bigger and better than ever.

spm christmas1. Strandhill People’s Market, Sligo Airport, Strandhill

Strandhill People’s Market, now in its fourth year, opened its Christmas market last Friday, 1 December. Based in the unique surrounds of Sligo Airport’s Hangar, the market has become one of the biggest along the Wild Atlantic Way with over 50 stalls to choose from on each date.

The organisers behind the family-friendly venue are constantly looking for new ways to expand its audience and make it an event for everyone to enjoy. In October, they hosted the inaugural Strandhill Food Festival – the first to be held in an actual airport.

This December, they’ve brought back late-night opening at the market –  it’s on every Friday leading up to Christmas. Another new initiative for 2017 – the organisers are encouraging people to offer their elderly neighbours a lift to this year’s market to include them on the festive fun. And those who bring their elderly neighbours along for a welcome bit of festive cheer will be treated, along with their guests, to a free cup of coffee or mulled wine at the market from the unique ‘Driftwood Coffee Cart’.

The market has already proven to have had a significant economic impact on the surrounding area, creating employment, generating visitor spend, and making a substantial contribution to the winter economy in Sligo. See

2. Galway Christmas Market – Until December 22nd
This year’s Christmas Market will take place both in Kennedy Park and on the plaza on the northern side of Eyre Sq.  It is in the heart of what has become known as Galway’s East Village. The 32m high Big Wheel offers spectacular views over the city and Galway Bay and which is wheelchair accessible and also features a VIP gondola for special treats and corporate bookings. 

There’s Santa’s Grotto and a German Bierkeller, a helter skelter and carousel, choirs, story-telling , music and lots more. The market is open from 12pm to 8pm Monday to Wednesday and 10 am to 10pm Thursday to Sunday until Friday, December 22nd.


Galway Christmas Market.

Galway Christmas Market. Image Credit: Reg Gordon

3. The Christmas Experience at Tullyboy Farm, Boyle, Co Roscommon

Down on Tullyboy Farm in Boyle in Co. Roscommon there is a chill in the air and all the animals are tucked up warmly in their beds awaiting the arrival of baby Jesus. The atmosphere is buzzing with excitement. The pudding is being made, Santa’s bags are being packed and the Elves are eager to bring you through the ten stages of the Tullyboy Farm Christmas Experience.

Parents and children can warm themselves with hot chocolate and marshmallows and mulled juices/mince pies in the Yuletide Kitchen where you can also help out with stirring the pudding and don’t forget to make your wish. Hear the story of Christmas in front of the big fire in the inglenook fireplace, then up the spiral staircase to Santa’s bedroom to see Santa’s old fashioned bed and the naughty elf.

Visit the Christmas Experience at Tullyboy Farm until 23 December. See

4. Winter Wonderland at Westport House

Visit Mayo’s ever popular Westport House from November 26th and discover a truly magical Winter Wonderland. Packed with festive fun and cheer; this is not just a trip to Santa, but a full Christmas day out! You’ll be welcomed into Santa’s grotto, where Mrs. Claus will enchant children with ‘The Story of Stumpa’ by the fireside. Get your face painted, nibble on yummy gingerbread, as you decorate your own Gingerbread Man; and make your own Yuletide Log.

Then of course comes the main event: A visit to Santa in his magical grotto, where he’ll have a chat with all the children, give gifts, and take photos to remember this special occasion. Santa Sensory experiences are also available.

Kids get to meet Santa in his 18th century grotto, discuss their wish list and get a gift while parents enjoy a seasonal glass of mulled wine.The little ones will love special story-time with Mrs. Claus in the Drawing Room before they decorate their own Yuletide log to take home for the Christmas table. Sing carols with the cheery elves, decorate Gingerbread Men and hop on board the Westport House Express. See

5. Visit Donegal’s Lapland

The longest running and most popular Christmas show in Donegal is back again for 2017 and you do really have to pass the North Pole to get here, we kid you not!

Santa’s Lapland in Donegal includes a live show, with an elf telling the nativity story as it unfolds on stage. Santa arrives down the chimney with a small gift for each child. They move on to Santa’s home, visit the toy factory and sit on his sleigh. There’s a second chance to meet Santa at his home, and have photos taken. See

6. Christmas in Carrick, through December 

The Leitrim town of Carrick on Shannon hosts a month of Christmas celebrations with lots of festive events. Christmas Village markets, Santa’s Grotto, live music and events throughout December. See

7. Sligo On Ice, Stephen St Carpark, Sligo, 
Sligo On Ice opens for the month of December in the central location of Stephen St Carpark in Sligo town. The perfect spot to reconnect with friends and family over the Christmas festivities. (Sligo 4th Dec – 29th January) See 

8. Brigit’s Garden, Galway

If you’d like to take the focus away from presents, you might like Brigit’s Garden in Galway. Their Santa’s Christmas Magic Show includes music and dancing, followed by the lighting of candles, and then the lighting of the Christmas tree – by magic. There are no individual presents for children (though there is a symbolic gift for each family). So if you’re worried about the commercial side of Christmas, this might be the one for you.

ailwee caves9. Santa’s Workshop at Ailwee Caves, Co Clare 

Santa Claus has been taking up his annual residence at Aillwee Cave in Ballyvaughan especially to meet children and their families since The Millennium. He works very hard as he prepares this unique event.

Along with Mrs Claus and his team of happy Elves, Santa ensures a very special personalised visit for each child. He arranges lots of exciting entertainment for all the family which continues right throughout each day. There is face painting, a puppet show and lots of carnival entertainment to be enjoyed.

Santa Elves are waiting with their LISTS of the boys and girls visiting every day. They will guide everyone along the cave passageways singing Christmas Carols all the way. Santa Claus with his helper will meet and chat with each child and of course have a present for everyone. Mrs Claus is there to greet the grownup with a glass of Hot Punch and a Mince Pie.

Santa’s train is available for rides all day long which will take you to visit the Birds of Prey Centre. There you will enjoy a complimentary visit to meet a Snowy Owl or a Happy Harris Hawk! A visit to Santa’s Workshop at Aillwee really is a unique, thrilling, fun filled day out for every generation of your family.

10. Santa At Arigna Mining Experience 

Visit Santa with a difference as he goes underground this Christmas at the Arigna Mining Experience in Roscommon. Experience the magic of the Christmas underground kingdom with thousands of magical lights which the Elves have put on display to welcome Santa to his grotto. Santa will be in his underground grotto where he will meet all the children.

Visit our Traditional Nativity Scene and see the real meaning of Christmas. Meet Mrs clause who will help you post your  letter to Santa in his special postbox!

Stop by the ‘Elves Workshop’ to check if your name is on ‘Santa’s Naughty or Nice List’, receive your special certificate from the Elves – (be sure to be extra good to get your name on the ‘Nice List’). Join the Elves singing their Christmas jingles as they work in their toy factory. Visit their wonderfully talented face-painters Veronique and Anke who will work their ‘magic’ for you, no request is too much from princesses to butterflies, Spiderman to Rudolph.

For more visit

Ireland’s First Ever Feature Stop-Motion Film Being Made in Galway

Post-production on Captain Morten And The Spider Queen is nearing completion in Telegael’s stop-motion studio in Galway. This is the first ever feature film to be animated in stop-motion in Ireland. It is a co-production between Telegael (Ireland), Nukufilm (Estonia), Grid VFX (Belgium) and Calon (UK).

“Captain Morten And The Spider Queen” has taken three years to complete. Its voice cast is entirely Irish and includes, Brendan Gleeson, Ciarán Hinds, Pauline McLynn, Michael McElhatton, Jason Byrne, Tommy Tiernan, Neil Delamere and introduces Cian O’Dowd and Susie Power as Morten and his friend Eliza.

The film tells the story of a young boy who learns to take control over his life when he is shrunk to the size of an insect and has to sail his own toy ship through a flooded café. But with a wicked Spider Queen and Scorpion Pirate already aboard, being captain is going to be anything but child’s play!

The majority of the animation has been produced in Studio Telegael with a crew of more than 30 artists drawn from all over Ireland and further afield.

Morten on the Ship of Fools – Promo from Telegael Studios on Vimeo.

More info at of