Galway man wins top prize at the RDS Visual Art Awards

Galway man Kevin O’Kelly has won the RDS Taylor Art Award of €10,000 for his BA work Something About the Way You Look which was announced at the launch of the RDS Visual Art Awards Exhibition on Tuesday. Kevin follows an illustrious roll-call of previous winners such as Harry Clarke, Seán Keating, Louis Le Brocquy, Dorothy Cross, Maria McKinney, Sam Keogh and many others. Kevin was presented the prestigious award by fellow Galwegian, RDS President Bernie Brennan.

The NCAD student’s winning installation paces the line between solitude and loneliness, highlighting the sense of disconnection sometimes felt in modern urban living.

He is interested in the balance between the value of time spent on your own with your thoughts and the difficulties that can arise from a lack of meaningful relationships with others. He is motivated by a desire to create an immersive environment that encourages reflection, thought, and empathy in the lives of others

Something About the Way You Look is an interactive installation which consists of a small corridor leading into a room. The instructions are to enter the room alone and sit down. Upon doing so, the visitor is suddenly aware that they have a view through the window into a room across the road. Attendance is limited to one person at a time to enable the development of a unique relationship between the viewer and what they encounter in the space.

Speaking about the winning work, exhibition curator Nick Miller said: Kevin has created an extraordinary immersive artwork in which you the viewer participates in its realisation. As you go alone through the door of his installation It is like entering a living painting, an unsettling encounter. His work engages with contemporary art on multiple levels of medium including film, painting, sculpture and performance to address complex feelings of loneliness human contact in modern society. His highly ambitious constructed installation makes us question ourselves as we look at others and are seen ourselves.

Kevin was born in Galway and is from a family of artists and craftsmen. His father runs pottery classes for adults and children, which Kevin grew up attending and then eventually teaching himself. He qualified from the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramics Skills and Design Course in 2012. He is currently enrolled in a two year Masters in Fine Art Programme in Digital Art in NCAD.

The RDS Visual Art Awards exhibition runs Wednesday October 25 – Monday October 30. It will also be part of the Metropolis Festival on Sunday October 29, allowing Metropolis ticket holders to visit the exhibition.

The prestigious RDS Taylor Art Award has been presented by the RDS since 1860 and is one of the most important awards for emerging visual artists in Ireland today. Thirteen artists were selected by a judging panel of five for inclusion in the exhibition which is open free to the public and represents the best graduating visual artists of 2017. Earlier in the year the RDS sent eight professional curators to visit the end of year BA and MA degree shows in thirteen art colleges around the country. In total they longlisted 122 graduates, who were invited to apply for the awards. The arts are a key component of the RDS mission to see Ireland thriving culturally and economically.

There 4 West of Ireland exhibiting artist in the RDS Visual Arts Awards:
  • Stephanie McGowan- Graduate of IT Sligo
  • Yvonne Casburn Graduate of GMIT Galway
  • Ara Devine, from Donegal from NCAD & raised in Gaeltacht as native Irish Speaker
  • The Taylor Award Prize winner: Kevin O’Kelly from Galway

More about the RDS Visual Arts Awards at


Top 5 things to do in the West this weekend

It’s a bank holiday and the West is buzzing with ghoulish and creative things to do. Here are top tips to get out and about this weekend:

  1. Macnas Galway Halloween Parade: The world-famous Macnas parade returns to the streets of Galway on Sunday, 29th of October 2017, as giants and otherworldly performers descend on the city for a night of mischief and mayhem. This world famous street theatre company will premiere some truly incredible new work Port na bPúcaí, as the 2017 Macnas Parade comes home to the streets of Galway’s Latin Quarter.

fright night

2. Fright Night at Craggaunowen: The prehistoric park in Co Clare, is hosting a new Fright Night, where there will be spooky tales and exploration of the creepy woodlands, October 28th, 4pm-9pm; family €25. Delve deep into the dark and spooky setting of Craggaunowen for a jaw dropping & spine tingling Halloween experience like no other.

3. Get to a Gig at Sligo Live: The Irish Folk, Roots & Indie Festival enters its 13th year on the Wild Atlantic Way between October 25-30. Imelda May, who will be performing shows throughout Ireland this month, will headline the Festival’s Friday night, 27th October 2017 in the Knocknarea Arena at 8.30 pm. sligolive.iesligo live

4. Connemara Sea Week: runs all this week, and celebrates the marine heritage of the area. Expect kite making workshops, story and song nights, guided shoe walks, sean nos dance workshops, readings and, of course, sean nos nights throughtout the area. There will be three live weekend concerts in the Gothic Church at Kylemore Abbey (booking essential, tickets €10). A highlight is the fire-filled “After the light” parade which brings myth and magic to Letterfrack on Wednesday, October 25th, at 7.30pm. sea week

5. Have a Spook-tacular time at Lough Key Forest Park: Don’t miss the LOUGHSPOOKEY HALLOWEEN FEST 2017 at Lough Key Forest Park in Co Roscommon. See full details at

Galway Mayo Relocation Survey 2017 – We Want To Hear From You

Over the last year there has been a considerable rise in the employment figures in the West. To continue this economic growth, recruitment firm Collins McNicholas has identified a need to ensure that potential returners to the West are made aware not only of the financial and career benefits of a move but also the socio-economic benefits.

Collins McNicholas is currently conducting research into what factors motivated recent returners to counties Galway and Mayo. They want feedback from people who have recently moved back to Galway or Mayo, to support the attraction of top talent back to the West.

They have a short survey (takes approximately 3-5 minutes to complete) and are offering an iPad Mini as a potential reward.  The purpose of the survey is to understand why people relocated to Galway and Mayo and what their experience of Galway or Mayo has been like since relocating.

So if you recently returned to the West or know somebody that did, please encourage them to complete this survey before Friday 3rd November 2017.

Do The Survey Here 


export summit

Export Summit 2017 – Taking you from Local to Global

Ireland’s leading new one day event for businesses seeking to expand internationally, export products or set up overseas operations, will take place on Thursday, November 9, 2017.

This event will give you valuable insight into current trends and best practices. As a delegate you will gain valuable, practical insights which will assist in driving your business to a global market. There will be an emphasis on innovation, competitiveness and talent development plus vital financial and logistic advice.

Is it your ambition to grow sales and develop new markets?

Save the Date in your diary now and join us on Thursday November 9 for what promises to be an unmissable event on your annual business calendar. Inspirational Keynote Speakers will include Damien Costello, Head of Innovation, Synecco; James Murphy, CEO and Founder of Lifes2good and Colm Feeney, CEO and Founder of SSL Logistics. Also in attendance and sharing their expertise will be overseas and International trading experts from Enterprise Ireland.

Breda Fox, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Galway outlines the importance of this event for any West of Ireland business considering immediate or eventual growth into overseas markets. “This event is a wonderful opportunity for small and established businesses to meet experts and businesses who are successful in overseas markets. It will help those attending on the day to gather the knowledge and information about the supports available to help themexpand into ever-expanding and increasingly competitive overseas markets. We offer many different types of client supports including mentoring, training, networking, special seminars and events, such as this Export Summit. Growing business overseas brings a unique set of challenges for our clients. We want to give them the best possible chance of success by introducing our clients to business leaders who have invaluable expertise in this area.”

Enterprise Ireland Regional Director – West Region Barry Egan said: “Enterprise Ireland’s strategy aims to support more Irish companies with global ambition to achieve greater scale and expand their global footprint. Our strategy aims to increase client company exports to 26 billion per annum by the end of 2020 with an ambitious target to growthe level of exports to over two thirds outside the UK over the period. The‘Export Summit’ will provide companies from across the West of Ireland with a valuable opportunity to examine the potential of a range of new markets and new strategies for growing their business. This is an important event in the Region’s business calendar for 2017.’’

Identify the ideal market for you.

Current leading sectors in the export market include Medtech, AgriTech, Pharma, Engineering, Manufacturing and International Services. These sectors are chiefly targeting developing markets in UK, Germany and France for expansion. Enterprise Ireland and experts will deliver an overview of specific markets including, size, profile, culture, localisation and accessing local European markets.

Benefits of Export Summit 2017

150 delegate businesses fromthe Medtech, AgriTech, Pharma and Engineering sectors will develop insight into current trends and best practices fromexperts and keynote speakers; benefit from workshops aimed at driving their business fromlocal to global, covering innovation, competitiveness, localisation and logistic solutions; gain access to support fromagencies including: Lean, HR and Financial experts who are focussed on increasing export sales growth and network with Irish companies in each key targeted sector.
Attendees will have an opportunity to gain access to a showcase of the many agency supports available to Irish companies.

Keynote topics

Export business challenges and solutions will be addressed in keynote topics including‘Global Sales through Innovation, Design & Supply’ (Synecco), ‘Growth through process & people, challenges of scaling & growing an export business’ (Lifes2good) and‘Global Market access through Smart Supply Chain Practises’ (SSL Logistics).

Explore developing markets in the UK, Germany and France

Speakers include Marina Donohoe, UK & Northern Europe  Director,  Enterprise Ireland; Eddie Goodwin, Enterprise Ireland, Manager, Germany, Switzerland and Austria and Susanne Dirks, Founder & CEOe-Vorsprung Consulting, who will address the issues associated with localising communications for export markets.

This one day event takes place at the Clayton Hotel on Thursday, November 9. Places are limited so register now.

For additional details, registration and booking, visit or contact Local Enterprise Office Galway on (091) 509090


FIS TV Summit 2017 Galway October 12th

In the age of Video on Demand, with new ways of consuming content and ever tightening budgets, is TV at a crossroads?

An interview with special guest Graham Linehan (Father Ted, The IT Crowd, Black Books), a panel with the Director Generals of the main broadcasters in Ireland and another with funders from the world of Video on Demand are some of the highlights of the FÍS TV Summit, hosted by Galway Film Centre and taking place in Galway on October 12th.

The international summit is aimed at producers and content creators from throughout Ireland and it will take place in the Galway Bay Hotel in Salthill. The main focus of the summit is the question: “In the age of Video on Demand, with new ways of consuming content and ever- tightening budgets, is TV at a crossroads?” The event will also have a special strand dedicated to discussing programming for young people.

Placing Ireland on the global stage, as a centre of excellence for media production is one of the key pillars of the Government’s arts policy, and Galway UNESCO City of Film considers it timely to discuss the current landscape with the heads of the main channels. Taking part in the event are Dee Forbes (RTÉ), Alan Esslemont (TG4), Pat Kiely (TV3) and Peter Johnston (BBC NI), who will discuss the challenges and opportunities they face in their roles and the rapidly changing and evolving landscape of content creation.

One of the key changes in TV in recent is how audiences consume content and the related economics arising from that, so there will be a special focus on VOD and the OTT (Over the Top) sector, particularly Subscription VOD sector (SVOD), with an international panel of speakers from Yaddo, Acorn TV, Rights Stuff and QYou. There will also be an opportunity for attendees to arrange one-to-one meetings with the VOD speakers.

Young People’s Programming is an exciting area in Ireland at the moment, with many Irish companies performing well globally. The Summit will focus on how to reach this next generation of junior audiences with speakers from CBeeBies, RTÉ, TG4 and Paper Owl.

The day will be interspersed with networking lunches, receptions and one-to-one meetings for producers.

This event is hosted by Galway Film Centre, in association with TG4, the Western Development Commission, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Gréasán Na Meán, Screen Training Ireland, The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, RTÉ, GMIT, Creative Europe Galway, Mazars and the Arts Council.

Tickets to the event are available through Eventbrite See also:

For further information or interview requests, please contact: Glenn Hogarty,


 am – 11.15am: TV at a Crossroads: The Current TV Landscape

  •  TG4: Alan Esslemont
  • RTÉ: Dee Forbes
  • TV3: Pat Kiely
  • BBCNI: Peter Johnston
  • CHAIR: Betty Purcell

11.15am – 11.35am: TEA/COFFEE BREAK

11.35 am – 1pm:

  • VOD: Changing the Future of TV
  • Yaddo -Lawrence Elman
  • QYOU – Amory Schwartz
  • Acorn TV – Shane Murphy
  • Chair – Rights Stuff – Wendy Bernfeld

more speakers to be confirmed

1.00pm – 1.45pm: NETWORKING LUNCH

 1.45pm – 2.00pm: Lunchtime Newsflash – Section 481 with Mazars

2.30pm – 4.00pm: Programming for the Next Generation

  • CBeeBies – Julia Bond, Commissioning Executive
  • PaperOwl – Gráinne McGuinness, Producer
  • RTÉ – Sheila De Courcy
  • TG4 – Siobhán Ní Bhrádaigh

4.00pm – 4.15pm: TEA/COFFEE BREAK

 4.15pm – 5.30pm: Interview with Special Guest

  • Guest: Graham Linehan
  • Chair – Billy McGrath, Sideline Productions




Sept 16th/17th: Galway Games Gathering

The Galway Games Gathering is the premier Game Development event in Ireland and brings leading game developers to the edge of Europe for talks on design, art, code audio and production. It is set to take place at GMIT Galway on September 16th/17th and tickets are now on sale.

 A series of developer talks from top industry professionals will be held over the 2 days of the gathering. Don’t miss the chance to hear over 20 amazing speakers who have worked on some of the biggest games in the world including John Romero, Eimear Noone and Brett Douville.
For more information see and follow @Games_Gathering

Career Zoo West – September 2017

Career Zoo is going West!

Having held our last 12 events in Dublin, Career Zoo has decided to shake things up. We’re packing our bags and bringing Career Zoo to Galway Racecourse on Saturday, September 23rd, 2017.

Career Zoo is an unmissable opportunity for employers who are looking to meet and network with Ireland’s brightest talent. 78% of candidates at Career Zoo are experiences professionals, looking for opportunities in the tech, bio pharma and professional services industries.


Employers will also be able to digitally exchange vital information with candidates, including CVs, using the latest in event networking technology.

Want to see what the West has to offer? Contact Brian now to book your space: or 01-679 2042.

For more information check out our website or follow us on twitter or facebook.

Coolaney Mountain Bike

Multi-million Euro Funding Boost For West of Ireland Tourism Projects

Outdoor recreation in Ireland is to get an €11m boost, with funding now allocated for projects coming under the government’s Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme for this year. The West of Ireland has done particularly well with all counties benefiting including some large infrastructure projects in Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim.

The grants awarded will go to a mix of smaller local measures, with grants of up to €10,000 each (Measure 1), and larger projects will have a significant national or regional impact (Measure 3), receiving grants of €100,000 to €1m.

Winning West: Where the Funding is Going

In Sligo almost one million euro in funding has been announced for out-door recreation facilities, including a grant of €840,285 for Coolaney National Mountain Biking Centre.
The funding for Coolaney National Mountain Bike Trail will facilitate the development of this amenity, and will provide for its connectivity with other major initiatives, including the Wild Atlantic Way and the Sligo Way Walking Routes.

Leitrim County Council has been granted €1 million to complete a Greenway and Cycleway from Carrick-on-Shannon along the river Shannon to Drumshanbo. The plan is to have a connected water and land based track from Carrick-on-Shannon through Leitrim Village to Lough Allen in Drumshanbo, giving visitors the option of services on either end with links to other greenways, walks and activities along the route.Carrick on Shannon Blueway

County Mayo is to get iconic way-mark way as part of €11m investment; the Clew Bay Trail is to get €984,000.

In Roscommon the Miners Way and Historical Trail got €5,520, Doon Shore amenity, Lough Key, Boyle got €10,000 and Killukin Cascade Waterfall in Carrick-on-Shannon will receive €8,000.

Donegal has been allocated €66k for rural recreation projects designed to maintain and improve outdoor facilities in the county, it has been revealed. Under this funding release outdoor recreation facilities in Ballybofey, Glenties, Termon, Urris, Glencolmcille, Ballyarr, Letterkenny and others will benefit.”

Statistics from Fáilte Ireland show that in 2014 close to 1.2 million visitors to Ireland took part in hiking or cross-country walking, spending about €915m in the Irish economy during their stay, while 286,000 visitors took part in cycling activities with a related spend of some €268m. The two sectors generated revenue for the economy of €1.2 billion.

Shopify looks to hire 100 support staff in West Ireland with the help of IDA Ireland

Galway, Ireland – July 14, 2017 – Shopify Inc., the leading cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses came to Galway, Ireland two years ago to establish a strong and robust support team in Ireland. Known as “Gurus,” Shopify’s Irish support staff are all remote workers, meaning they can work wherever they want.

Welcoming the announcement, Tánaiste and Minister for  Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD said, “I’m very impressed by Shopify’s innovative business model whereby the staff are not based in a central office but can work from home and it is great news that they are creating 100 new jobs.  This is a really exciting, innovative, company, which is paving the way for more flexible and family friendly forms of working. Their rapid growth in Ireland is a true vote of confidence in what Ireland has to offer cutting edge companies.”

“We’ve seen the benefits of remote culture and how it can be utilised to rejuvenate the west of Ireland and counties like Galway,” said John Riordan, Director of Support, Ireland at Shopify.

Caitriona Foley has experienced the benefits of working from home first hand. She runs a successful award-winning wedding planning business called True Romance Weddings, while raising a young family and working for Shopify as a Customer Success Guru.

“I joined Shopify in October 2016 and have honestly never had a job like it. I’m a mum of one tenacious toddler and in my spare time I run a wedding planning and stationery business, but also needed a full time job that would pay the bills,” shares Caitriona “Working at home for Shopify, allows me to meet new challenges every day, get more time with my son and avoid traffic jams while commuting. The company genuinely looks after its employees with great benefits and encouragement towards professional development. They recognise that happy employees produce better results.”

CEO of IDA Ireland, Martin Shanahan said, “Over the last two years Shopify has championed a truly transformative style of employment across the west of Ireland with all Irish staff working remotely from home. I am delighted that this platform has proven to be such a huge success and is reinvesting in its Irish operations. This IDA Ireland supported investment is an important endorsement of the talent which is available right across the West Ireland.”

Shopify Ireland has grown from a team of of 50 to more than 150, the majority based remotely across Galway county. The company now plans to hire up to 100 people in the next 12 months, with a start date as early as August 21, 2017.

Shopify is currently hiring and looking for people interested in supporting business development, commerce and entrepreneurship. To learn more, contact

European Union names Ireland’s Northern and Western Region as Entrepreneurial Region 2018

The European Union will tomorrow (WEDNESDAY) name Ireland’s Northern and Western region as European Entrepreneurial Region 2018, recognising the ‘enormous strides’ the region has taken to foster entrepreneurship and reverse decades of decline.

The award, to be made a ceremony in Brussels, is a huge boost for a region, the EU’s Committee of the Regions said, that has developed policies that are transforming the area ‘from adversity to advantage’, making it one of the most resilient and ambitious places in Europe.

The European Entrepreneurial Region 2018 designation will be marked with a series of keynote events and initiatives all through next year to support and build on existing and new job creation projects and innovation across the Northern and Western region.

The award comes at a crucial time for the region as looks for ways to insulate itself from the unpredictable impacts of Brexit and offer an alternative economic focal point to Dublin and the east coast.

Commenting, Mr. Marc Kiwitt of the Committee of the Regions, the EU’s assembly of Regional and Local Representatives, said: “The European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) is a project that identifies and rewards EU regions and cities which show an outstanding and innovative entrepreneurial policy strategy, irrespective of their size, wealth and competences. The Northern and Western Region must be congratulated on the successful achievement for 2018.”

In 2015, Northern Ireland was named European Entrepreneurial region. Other previous winners have included cities such as Glasgow, Barcelona and Lisbon. All have used the year to establish successful programmes and schemes to encourage innovation and job creation.

David Minton, director of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) today accepted the award on behalf of the NWRA region which comprises seven counties; they are Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Sligo, Roscommon, Leitrim and Cavan.

He said: “This is an amazing honour and an opportunity for a part of Ireland that has been traditionally marginalised to emerge stronger and more attractive as a place to live and work for our young people, a viable alternative to living on the hugely overburdened east coast.

“The past eight years has seen regional and national policy invest in innovation; invest in people; and invest in education.  Eight years ago, employment levels in the construction industry were decimated due to economic stagnation. Out of this stagnation has emerged a commitment not to repeat the mistakes of the past’. In committing to resilience and investing in sustainability, this region has become truly entrepreneurial.”

Ian Brannigan, CEO, WDC said this spirit of entrepreneurship was driven by the efforts of a collaborative alliance to nurture regional entrepreneurship. This included unique offerings like the WDC western investment fund ( which has supported 2700 jobs ), innovative regional promotion platforms (, a regional focus and a network of collaborative Local Enterprise Offices supporting over 45,000 businesses. The concept of ‘entrepreneurship as a career’ has also come from smart programmes such as Young Entrepreneur of the Year and New Frontiers, Enterprise Ireland’s national entrepreneur development programme for innovative, early-stage startups.

The Government has warmly welcomed the award. Commenting today, Minster for Community and Rural Affairs Michael Ring TD said: “For me this award is about recognizing the risk taker – from entrepreneurs, to small business owners and indigenous enterprises growing in scale. The Northern and Western region is now finally being recognised as one of the most vibrant, responsive and entrepreneurial places in Europe. Innovative and creative entrepreneurs across the region have led the way for young people, inspired a generation and now are operating at a global level; all from the west of Ireland. This is just one example reflected in every corner of this region.”

“2018 will be an incredible opportunity to celebrate entrepreneurship as a career – not just for some people but an opportunity for everyone. Ireland has produced some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and business people. They are in every sector and industry. This award is another opportunity to tell their story.”

For more information, contact Ciaran Byrne at StoryLab on 01 685 3029 or 086 173 9523.

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