Galway-Award winning parenting website celebrates its 10th digital birthday

Marking their decade in online business, founders Jill Holtz and Michelle Davitt along with Emily Manning, Editor, hosted a birthday party (Sunday 4th Feb) at Collins Barracks, National Museum of Ireland (Decorative Arts and History) in the beautiful setting of The Palatine room with guests and children enjoying some of the old but simple classics – board games, LEGO, costumes from NMI and hat dress-up box as well as a colouring corner.

There was a fantastic cake creation by award winning talented Corinna Maguire of Lovin from the Oven (Oranmore, Co. Galway) which was a true work of art.  Guests didn’t leave empty handed as they were treated to goodie bags containing some LEGO from LearnIT, a cool travel toothbrush from Swords Orthodontics, books from Tara Book Company, juice from Appy Kids Co, The Ardilaun Hotel Fairy Garden Map (Galway) as well as a Select Hotels of Ireland voucher.

In today’s world parents are stretched and pulled between being a parent, work, caring for family members and other responsibilities, so the balancing and juggling act is constant – MyKidsTime has created a library of blogs and posts, with useful and knowledgeable information as well as life-hacks for parents which not only saves them time and money but also improve later the quality of their lives.

Founded in 2007 as a local listings website in Galway, has evolved into a nationally trusted online brand for parents. ‘There has been a big shift from desk top access to mobile, from the way that digital content is created, to social media arriving on the scene.  We’ve seen great developments in parenting methods as well as the use of technology and gadgets. We are constantly looking ahead to keep abreast of these innovations,’ said Jill.

In the ten years they have built up a substantial following with 91,000 parents on their monthly mailing list, Google verified 3.3million pageviews in 2017, a whopping 630,000 fans and followers social media.

Not only do they have a huge following but they consistently achieve exceptional reach on social media, 6.5million reach in Jan 2017 with 1.1m post engagements on Facebook alone. Mykidstime is evaluated annually by Userneeds showing that online users consider Mykidstime as one of the most trusted online brands.

Jill Holtz and Michelle Davitt, founders of

During the 10 years in business, MyKidsTime has partnered with household and international brands engaging parents. From a local business running kids’ camps to well-known attractions like Westport House and the National Museum of Ireland to established retailers and public sector organisations including Marks and Spencer Ireland and Bord Bia, the website has a proven track record of delivering quality awareness campaigns to parents while achieving exceptional results.

Jill Holtz, co-founder of, commented “We started MyKidsTime just before the recession hit so it couldn’t really have been a worse time to grow a business. We have always tried to offer businesses a personal touch with our attention to detail to make their advertising stand out. While it has been a rollercoaster, I can say it has been exciting to grow and build a community of active parents who trust what we tell them.”

Michelle Davitt, co-founder, said, “With our team of home-based parents working on compiling quality information for our audience, we’ve been able to offer ‘flexible working’ while at the same time tap into the ideal content creators – parents trust what other parents tell them. Working with our advertisers to present their brand in engaging ways is a pleasure, I find it very rewarding to see parents’ reactions to our content. And it’s been great trying out new innovations as we went along, from our new app to our online magazine for mums, My Time, and a personal favourite, our weekly Facebook live channel videos.”

Download the App, follow them on Facebook, twitter and Instagram and check out the website on

New acquisition of artworks from recent Yeats Family sale at Sotheby’s

The Model is delighted to announce the very special acquisition of a considerable body of artworks from the recent Yeats Family sale at Sotheby’s. These remarkable paintings and drawings include John Butler Yeats’ masterpiece Self Portrait, New York, as well as significant portraits by the artist of his accomplished children William, Susan, Elizabeth and Jack. The works, which are joining The Niland Collection on a long-term loan from a private collector, will be featured in a very special exhibition at The Model entitled Portrait of a Family from 19 May – 19 August 2018. The gift also includes the donation of nine of Jack Butler Yeats model boats and a very special wooden travelling case lined with Jack’s own original watercolour drawings, also from the family sale.

Speaking about the Yeats Family works The Model’s Acting Director Emer McGarry said “This is a significant acquisition for Sligo’s municipal collection. It’s a fantastic body of work and will perfectly complement Sligo’s existing Yeats holding within The Niland Collection. The loan features special portraits of both Jack and William by their father, portraits of their grandparents William and Elizabeth Pollexfen, and of their uncle George Pollexfen. We are delighted with the generous gift of Jack Butler Yeats’ model boats and travelling case – these items will enable us to bring the Yeats Family story to life for the children of Sligo in the years ahead.

“Given the recent concern that these paintings, particularly the John Butler Yeats masterpiece, would be dispersed, possibly abroad, we are delighted that they will be made available to the Irish public through The Niland Collection in Sligo, a place that was close to the family’s hearts. We are pleased to share these wonderful objects with our audience and are grateful to the private collector who has made this most generous gesture.”

The collection of nine boats along with a wooden storage case for toy boats decorated with nineteen watercolour drawings are currently on view at The Model until Sunday 22 April as part of Turbulence. The rest of the artworks will be delivered to Sligo later this month.


Titles & Credit

John Butler Yeats, Self Portrait, New York
Image courtesy Sotheby¹s


Collection of Nine Model Boats. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)

Image by Heike Thiele


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

networking west

Top 5 Networking Events in the West this Spring

It’s the new year and it’s time to get out there and promote your business, get inspired and expand your network.

There are so many great networking and business events taking place across the West of Ireland; we’ve rounded up our list of the ones not to miss.

1. Leveraging Ireland West Airport, How can your Business Benefit? BOI Workbench, Galway, 18 Jan 2018

Ireland West Airport had a record-breaking year as the airport’s passenger numbers increased by 7pc or 48,000 to 733,869. How can your business benefit from that, and even create more demand for those routes?. Join an interactive talk with Donal Healy, Head of Marketing & Route Development. This event welcomes hoteliers, tour companies, local business owners and anyone who can add value to the west region’s airport. Learn about the routes in place for 2018, the demographic of people through the airport into the west region, and how you can target cities of origin. All welcome!

Register at

2. Hackaholdem, The Building Block, Sligo, 03 & 04 February

sligo hackathonHackahold’em – a gamified version of a hackathon is set to take place in The Building Block, Sligo on February 03-04 2018.
Bringing together up to 40 programmers, designers and product developers, the event will take place over a 24 hour period with 5- 7 teams set to participate.

The event is for developers, designers and all-rounders in the digital space and our aim is to bring the fun and community feel back into hackathons, while providing a space for participants to network and build something cool together.

Sign up now!

3. Digital West, GMIT, Mayo, 30 January

Emerging trends and careers in Digital Media and how companies can stay competitive will be the focus of a public seminar in GMIT Mayo on Tuesday 30 January, delivered by leading professionals and academics in digital media, marketing and technology.

Organised by the Mayo campus academic staff in collaboration with the Innovation Hub, the “Digital West” event will include topics on Digital Media Strategies, Bots & Automation, Google Analytics, Automation of Digital Media, Blockchain, and more.

This Dynamic FREE event will focus on emerging trends in Digital Media and how they will affect companies and individuals in 2018 and beyond.
As the digital media landscape rapidly evolves with the introduction of new technologies such as AI, analytics, automation and a movement towards high definition video communication, companies are finding it increasingly hard to attract and maintain talent.
More at

4. Open Talent Speed Dating, Galway, 06 April

Open Talent Galway

Open Talent is a two-part event where people of all backgrounds come to Galway city over two days in April for a sweep of 1-1 interviews, and speed dating events with local businesses. Want to get straight to interview?

Register at

5. Startup Weekend West (Ire): Future of Towns, Achill Island, 27 April

Keel Beach

Keel Beach, Achill

Achill Island, Co. Mayo is the destination for the upcoming Startup Weekend West taking place on Friday, April 27, 2018. The theme is the future of towns.

This unique Startup Weekend will bring together designers, developers, county councillors, urban planners, founders, and much more to conceive ideas and build solutions that will bring life and economic vitality back into Irish towns.

The weekend costs just €60 to attend, and that includes all meals each day, a t-shirt and some cosy accommodation.

On Friday, some of the attendees will pitch an idea for 60 seconds. The best ten ideas (voted for by attendees) will progress to build a team and then through to pitch at the final. On Saturday, mentors and coaches (who are established business owners or experts in their area) will be brought in to help guide the teams through execution. On Sunday, the event will finish with the final pitches and winners announced. There’s also a cracking after-party.

TechStars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.

Full details on how to get involved at


Free Live Maths Grinds Launched on Facebook for Irish Students providing free lessons every week to Junior Cert & Leaving Cert Students

Irish post-primary students have a new resource to help them to master maths and prepare for their exams.  From Wednesday 10th January 2018, they can avail of free live maths grinds on Facebook, provided by

The new lesson format makes use of the latest features of Facebook, including live streaming and screen-sharing.  In tandem with this, TheMathsTutor teachers utilise the latest hardware and software tools from Microsoft to create a virtual whiteboard online.

This allows the teachers to employ teaching tools such as graphing software as well as traditional hand-writing to explain maths concepts and explore past exam questions from Junior Cert and Leaving Cert papers.  Students can avail of their free maths grind on any device, without leaving their home, and can also access a recording of the lesson at any time.

The new Facebook maths lessons were trialled for 3 weeks before Christmas, and based on the feedback received, has decided to provide the free service on a weekly basis from now until the exams in June.

Eamonn Toland, founder of, said,

“We launched our subscription-based system over 5 years ago in October 2012, and we wanted to give some free lessons to Irish students on a weekly basis. When we saw that Facebook Live now has the screen-sharing option, we decided to push ahead with this.  With “pre” exams coming up, and with everyone on a tight budget after Christmas, we expect that our free maths grinds online will prove to be very popular!” provides a full online learning environment for students.  Video lessons, exam preparation and additional online supports are available to students on-demand.  This complements the work of maths teachers, giving students extra support outside of the classroom.  Focusing on Junior Cert and Leaving Cert maths, the system is used in schools and homes right across the Republic of Ireland.

January 12th is cut-off date for South Sligo Tourism membership

Local tourism organisation South Sligo Tourism are really hitting the ground running for 2018 with big plans to promote the rural areas of south and west Sligo. The cut off date for membership is 12th January, so if you want your business to benefit, be sure to contact them without delay.

The fledgling organisation printed 10,000 brochures this year and plans to have their new brochure ready for the beginning of the 2018 tourism season. All members will be included as well as a calendar of events, useful for tourists and locals alike. A video, media visits and a sustained social media campaign are all part of the plans for the coming year.

South Sligo Tourism held a couple of very successful networking event and information sessions recently. Over 50 businesses attended these events and even more are expected to join up for 2018.

Chairman Paul Taylor is hugely enthusiastic about the potential for this project and said, “We look forward to driving this project forward in 2018, working in collaboration with Sligo Tourism and neighbouring counties. With this group of committed, enthusiastic people working together, south and west Sligo will soon be firmly on the tourism map.”

South and west Sligo have a lot to offer the incoming tourist but, as is common outside urban areas, the businesses have tended to operate alone rather than in conjunction with one another. By joining South Sligo Tourism, businesses will come together, building a stronger tourism product and benefiting the entire community.

The closing date for 2018 membership is 12 January 2018. Membership is an absolute essential for anyone involved in the tourism business. Contact for further information or visit the website #SouthSligo


Beckman Coulter Expands County Clare Facility; Creates 70 Jobs

Beckman Coulter, which develops, manufactures and markets products that simplify, automate and innovate complex biomedical testing, is expanding the company’s development and manufacturing facility at Lismeehan, County Clare, creating 70 jobs over the next two to three years.

The project is supported by the Irish Government through IDA Ireland.

The company’s 9,700 sq. metre site at Lismeehan in County Clare is a strategic site for the global Beckman Coulter Diagnostics business, with 330 people working there.  Development, manufacture and support of reagents (mixtures for use in chemical analysis) for clinical chemistry, immunochemistry and haematology product lines are currently carried out at the site.

The expansion will provide capacity for two new product streams at the Clare site, and will also provide for the ongoing growth of the current product streams.

The new expansion will add an additional 6,700 Sq. meters to the facility.

Planning permission has been granted for the new facilities by Clare County Council and construction is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2018.

Welcoming today’s announcement, Minister of State for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen TD said: “Beckman Coulter’s expansion is a great win for County Clare, the Irish Government and the IDA. As Minister for Employment I warmly welcome the creation of 70 additional jobs over the next two to three years. This is a great boost for Clare and the Mid West Region. This expansion now places Beckman Coulter to the forefront of the biomedical testing industry and the investment made by the company also allows for ongoing growth of current product streams.”

Piers Devereux, VP of Operations for Beckman Coulter, said, “We are excited to build out our site here in County Clare. The caliber of the local workforce and the excellent support we receive from the community really sets this site apart. Our Ireland presence is essential for Beckman Coulter to achieve our vision of advancing healthcare for every person.

IDA CEO Martin Shanahan said: “This is very welcome news. Regional investment is a top priority for IDA Ireland. Supporting established companies to grow and add jobs is a key focus for us and this expansion, adding significant additional capacity to the Lismeehan site, will be of great benefit to County Clare the Mid West Region. It will also act as a strong reference seller for this regional location.  It demonstrates substantial commitment by Beckman Coulter to the County Clare site. I wish the company every success with this new phase of development.”

Recruitment for the new positions will commence immediately. Roles include scientist, engineering quality, manufacturing and other support functions. Interested applicants can apply via the Careers page on the Beckman Coulter website found at:

Beckman Coulter is an equal opportunity employer.  Beckman Coulter evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, colour, national origin, religion, gender, age, marital status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by law.

About Beckman Coulter
Beckman Coulter Diagnostics helps healthcare and laboratory professionals provide better patient care by delivering the accurate diagnostic information they need, when they need it. For over 80 years, Beckman Coulter has been the partner of choice for healthcare organizations.

Their scalable instruments, comprehensive diagnostic tests and business management services are trusted by hospitals, laboratories and other critical care settings around the world. “We share in our customers’ mission toward continuous improvement and quality patient care because we believe when efficiency and clinical outcomes are improved, patients benefit and we can move healthcare forward for every person”.

WDC to reduce interest on its Community Loan fund

  • The Western Development Commission (WDC) reduces interest rate on its Community Loan Fund to 3%
  • The fund has supported 43 projects and 867 jobs in 10 years

The Western Development Commission (WDC) will reduce the interest rate it charges on its Community Loan Fund to 3% from January 1.

This lower interest rate — down from 5% — will be available for community projects and social enterprises in the Western Region.

The fund has supported 43 projects over the 10 years since it was launched and it also supports 867 jobs, representing people employed by or in the various projects, in the Western Region.

Each year, more than 300,000 people use the facilities and/or centres supported by the fund, run by the WDC.

The WDC is a statutory body that was set up to promote both social and economic development in the Western Region. It covers Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare.

The WDC’s Community Loan Fund has been designed to offer community and not-for-profit groups access to capital to help these groups improve the socio-economic life of their community.

Many projects can be supported — from job creation initiatives, including the provision of enterprise space, to health and wellbeing initiatives, which improve the physical environment by providing social and recreational amenities or social care services.

Gillian Buckley, Western Development Commission, Investment Manager, said:

“The WDC is offering this low interest rate as it understands how important community projects and social enterprises are to their communities and the region. The loans can be used to create much needed social and economic facilities, such as social housing, childcare, eldercare, sports and recreation and many other projects. This low interest rate will help make these projects more sustainable by reducing the cost of repayments. The loans can also be used to provide and support employment opportunities and attract tourists to rural areas.”

For more information, contact Gillian Buckley on + 353 87 2236 982


  • Organisations applying for the Community Loan Fund now will be granted the reduced interest rate of 3%.
  • The WDC Community Loan Fund supports 867 jobs. This number represents those employed by or in the projects e.g. some projects supported are enterprise centres, so the number includes some people employed in those enterprise centres.



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


Slieve Snacht by Iain Miller

Top Photos that show the West of Ireland is the most beautiful place on earth in Winter

It is definitely beginning to feel very festive with the latest cold snap bringing a dusting of wintry whiteness across the Region. We will admit that a blanket sneachta never fails to bring out the nostalgia in us of playful winters gone by.

We’ve done a little snooping to show you some of the best photos from the latest cold snap in the West.

If you have photos you would like to share, please do tag us @lookwestie #LookWest


There was lots of fun in Galway. Photo credit: Cora Clerkin on Twitter

galway snow


And Westport looked like a ski resort!

A post shared by Peter HS Walsh (@phswalsh) on

Croagh Patrick was blanketed


The internet nearly broke with the excitement about this snowy photo of the Gaelic Chieftain by photoblogger Magnumlady.

A post shared by Val (@magnumlady) on

This Roscommon snowman looks pretty happy.



Now that’s a shot of Sligo’s Table Mountain. Ben Bulben in a white suit. Well done Ian Mitchinson!

A post shared by Ian Mitchinson (@ianmitchinson) on

Love these shots by Denise King of majestic Nephin from Enniscrone Beach.

Strandhill looks great in all its winter glory too.

Rise and shine ❄️👌 📸Mark of VOYA Organic Beauty #GoStrandhill

A post shared by Allan Mulrooney (@gostrandhill) on


Doesn’t Grianán Aileach look stunning dusted in white?

A post shared by Ian Mitchinson (@ianmitchinson) on

Featured Image Credit: Walking across a frozen Lake high on Slieve Snaght Mountain in County Donegal by Iain Miller / Unique Ascent