Energise Your Business – how to take your innovation to the next level

You are cordially invited to
FREED Project Event
Tuesday 16th October 2018

9:30am – 2pm
Registration & Refreshments from 9:30am | Event Start 10:00am | Lunch & Networking 12:45pm

Is your start-up business or SME struggling to get an energy innovation to the next level? Then join us to hear from companies that have succeeded in this with the help of the  FREED Project.
Getting your ideas from the blueprints into the markets can be a long, difficult journey, which all innovations and companies are not be able to complete. Various business support organisations and enterprise agencies offer support for starting entrepreneurs and companies, but they do not target energy innovations in particular. However, these are the ones that are sorely needed, as energy is a key driver of climate change.
Funding Resources for Innovation in Energy Enterprise Development (FREED) is a three year project funded under Interreg’s Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme. FREED has been supporting SMEs and start-ups working on energy innovations with the aim of getting the innovations faster into the real world, where they can make a difference. The experiences of these SMEs and the support mechanisms developed in the project can help other innovations make it too.

During this event you will hear from:

  • SMEs who have been receiving support from the FREED Project and how it has helped them progress
  • Public Funding Specialist Ian Brannigan (Western Development Commission)
  • Business Angel Investor Nick Lyth (Green Angel Syndicate
  • You will also learn about the FREED Service platform – a funding match-making platform for SMEs, Investors and Enterprise Agencies.

To attend this event please Register HERE

tread softly

Tread Softly…at The Yeats inspired Annual Festival in Sligo

Thursday 19th – Sunday 29th July 2018

Tread Softly… the Summer festival returns with a programme of events inspired by the work of the Yeats brothers, Jack and William, and the landscape and stories that inspired them in County Sligo.

From July 19th – 29th,  audiences can experience all that Tread Softly has to offer in venues across Sligo county.  With a host of exhibitions including An Irish Airman Foresees His Death by Invited Artists at The Hamilton Gallery and Yeats: Portrait of a Family at The Model Arts Centre, there is plenty to excite visually. For theatre lovers there are several exciting productions presented this year. Lunchtime favourite Easy Aces is back at the Hawkswell Theatre while Blue Raincoat Theatre Company present an outdoor performance at dusk of Yeats’ Purgatory at Hazelwood House.

This year sees the launch of a new free literary broadsheet The Cormorant with new writing from both established and emerging writers including Kevin Barry, Molly McCloskey and Eoin McNamee.  The Yeats International Summer School returns, a key feature of the Festival year on year, incorporating a daily series of lectures, seminars and social events over an extended 10 days. A programme highlight this year is the launch of Collected Poems a posthumous work from Dermot Healy.

A series of guided walks by informed and charismatic locals give insight into historic Sligo locations such as Carrowkeel and Rosses Point while Sligo Dreams Project, a collaboration with Sligo IT invites key speakers from a broad range of backgrounds from architects to archeologists to talk about their dreams for the Sligo Landscape.

The seventh Tread Softly… festival is programmed in partnership with Blue Raincoat Theatre Company, Hawk’s Well Theatre, The Model and Sligo County Council in conjunction with the 59th International Yeats Summer School.



At the Hamilton Gallery – Lull, a new body of work by artist Hazel Egan, Entropy a series of work by Noel Tighe and An Irish Airman Foresees His Death by Invited Artists

At Ballymote Library – Steve Wickham presents Geronimo. The Waterboys musician chronicles the story and music of his much loved but ill-fated Geronimo Grandini violin.

At The Model – Yeats: Portrait of a Family, an intimate insight into the Yeats Family through the portraits of John Butler Yeats and a selection of other artists and Cairde Visual, Cairde Sligo Arts Festival’s fifth annual open submission exhibition.

At the Factory Performance Space: Walking Birds’ Mountain, an exhibition presenting the visual, vocal and written responses by a group of artists and writers following a trek across Ballygawley Mountains with archaeological writer and folklorist Padraig Meehan


Purgatory: performed by Blue Raincoat Theatre Company –  a family history played out by an old man and his son with tragic consequences in front of the old man’s mother’s family home.

Easy Aces: The Hawk’s Well presents theatre episodes of the old-time radio sitcom favourite Easy Aces.


The Cornorant, A Broadsheet of Sligo Writing with new writing from both established and emerging writers including Kevin Barry, Molly McCloskey and Eoin McNamee; a creative writing workshop The Act of Creation with John MacKenna; reading and poetry with Leontia Flynn, One Hundred Years of Women’s Suffrage, The Summer School Salon at The Methodist Church, Bird Reign with Amabel Clarke and Sinead Nic Gearlait at Ballymote Library; readings by Niall Williams: The History of Rain and Mike McCormack: Solar Bones.

The 59th Yeats International Summer School features the launch of Collected Poems a posthumous work from Dermot Healy as part of its diverse and immersive programme whilst

Sligo Dreams Project, a collaboration with Sligo IT invites key speakers from a broad range of backgrounds to share their own dreams for changes to sustain and enhance future life for all in Sligo.


A selection of guided walks around the beautiful landscape that inspired Yeats taking in iconic sights including Sally Gardens, Carrowkeel and Rosses Point. Listen to local stories of the area and fascinating accounts by colourful locals experts.

For more information and programme details see www.treadsoftly.ie


headstuff hawkswell

Headstuff Lectures comes to Sligo

For the very first time the popular long running HeadStuff Lectures is leaving Dublin and is coming west to Sligo for Cairde Festival! Join comedian and presenter Gearóid Farrelly for a fun night of ‘Lectures’ with wonderful speakers talking passionately about different topics Thursday 12th July at the Hawk’s Well theatre. HeadStuff Lectures are not mass, not school and definitely not Ted Talks. This will be an evening of short presentations on anything from popular culture to global catastrophes.

HeadStuff have curated a cracking evening with fantastic speakers for the Sligo event. Comedian Gearóid Farrelly will host, bringing his mischievous and charming humour to the proceedings. Guests include: Kevin McGahern, Eve Darcy, Ciaran Conliffe, Tony Cantwell & Aine Gallagher. Some of the lectures for the night have just been revealed and include:

How To Give The Best Best Man’s Speech by Cathal Toe (Kevin McGahern)

An Idiot’s Guide To Being A Human – Eve Darcy

(Basically it’s about life and whether or not there’s any meaning to it)

Stanley’s Last Trip: An Itinerary of Errors – Ciaran Conliffe

This is the story of one of the last great Victorian adventures in Africa. A tale of reckless incompetence, of death in the Congo, and of a scandal that tainted a proud Irish family’s reputation forever after.

Irish Matters – Aine Gallagher

Irish Matters’…’an exploration of why speaking Irish is exactly the same as making mug cakes’.

Soft As Shit Priests: – Tony Cantwell

An investigative deep-dive into the softening morals of the priesthood compared to their predecessors a decade or two ago – priests have gone soft, and Tony is here to expose it.

Gearóid Farrelly is a polished live performer and he is popping to Sligo fresh from his summer U.K. tour with Sarah Millican. Gearóid is instantly recognisable from Irish comedy festivals and regularly appears on tour with Neil Delamere. On TV Gearóid is probably best known for playing Pat the conjoined-twin of Gerry (PJ Gallagher) in “Meet Your Neighbours” (RTE). He was also a regular on “The Panel”, “The Savage Eye” and “The Blame Game” on BBC1.

Known best as the host of RTE shows: “Republic of Telly”, “Hardy Bucks”, “Fast & Furious” and “America” Kevin McGahern has also a well-deserved reputation as one of Ireland’s top stand-ups with surrealist and observational humour perfectly mixed into one hairy Cavan man. He most recently stole the show as love-sick Jim, in Alison Spittle’s smash comedy T.V. “Nowhere Fast” RTE (2017).

Eve Darcy is a stand-up comedian and co-hosts the ‘AFOG Pod’ – a podcast about mental and emotional health. Eve also recently performed her own solo show entitled ‘Arousal & Valence’ in Dublin’s Smock Alley Theatre and will soon be performing an extended version in the Harbour Playhouse Theatre (June 23, 24, 25) entitled ‘When Anxiety Goes Berserk’.

Belfast based Ciaran Conliffe is a professional programmer and has been writing, on and off, since he was five years old. He’s been shortlisted for and won awards, both completed and failed NaNoWriMo. Rants on Twitter way more than is healthy. In his spare time, he does software engineering and gets paid for it. He is also the history columnist for Headstuff website.

Tony Cantwell defies labels. He has created some of Ireland’s biggest viral video sensations. Fan favourite characters such as Ploon, Your Ma’s Mate, The Dublin Frenchman, Homer/Irish Dad and Gavin Salad.

Just added to this fantastic line-up is Aine Gallagher is an award-winning comedian and resident MC of the Bright Club, a science comedy night.

HeadStuff Lectures are not mass, not school and definitely not Ted Talks. This will be an evening of short presentations on anything from popular culture to global catastrophes. Or anything in between. Talks About Stuff You Didn’t Think You’d Care About. Tickets for HeadStuff Lectures, Thurs 12 July 2018, 8pm cost €14. All tickets will have a €1 Development Fee surcharge and are available from the Hawk’s Well Theatre box office on 071-91/61518 or book online at www.hawkswell.com

Animal health company Phibro to create 150 jobs in Sligo

Phibro Animal Health Corporation have announced plans to establish a biotech facility producing a range of innovative animal health vaccines on the IDA Ireland Finisklin Business Park in Sligo, creating up to 150 jobs over 5 years.

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

Phibro develops, manufactures and markets a broad line of animal health and nutrition products for poultry, swine, cattle, dairy and aquaculture customers around the globe. The company had $764 million in annual sales in over 65 countries during its most recent fiscal year and employs over 1,400 people globally. Phibro is a publicly traded company headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey, United States.

The Sligo plant will be the company’s first biologicals manufacturing location in Europe and will allow Phibro to expand its presence in Europe.

The new manufacturing facility will initially focus on producing Phibro’s innovative line of vaccines for the treatment of a range of poultry diseases for sales globally. In the future, Phibro expects to expand production to include vaccines for livestock and aquaculture.

Making the announcement in Sligo today, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D, said, “This significant investment by Phibro is a great vote of confidence in Sligo, and will offer even more opportunities for local residents and communities to grow and thrive. It further strengthens Ireland’s Life Sciences capability in the North West and builds on a series of new IDA projects announced for Sligo and elsewhere in the region over recent times. The Government is tirelessly working to achieve job creation in locations which are away from the main cities, and this new biotech facility in Sligo is testament that the policy is working.”

Welcoming the announcement, Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said, “I was delighted to see Phibro announce that their first biologicals manufacturing location in Europe will be in Sligo, creating up to 150 highly skilled jobs. This has been a fantastic few weeks for Sligo with announcements from Abtran, E3 Retail, and Live Tiles, showing how the county is benefiting from both indigenous and FDI investment. This is another example of the success of our commitment under the Regional Action Plans for Jobs to ensure we have the right conditions in place to encourage job creation in regional locations.”

Speaking at today’s announcement, Jack Bendheim, Phibro’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “The creation of Phibro Ireland marks an important milestone in our development as a leading global player in the animal health biological market. The winning combination of Phibro’s expertise in the development and manufacture of biological products, the driven and experienced workforce available in the Sligo area, and the strong support of the IDA makes us very excited about the potential of the Sligo facility.”

Speaking at today’s announcement in Sligo, IDA Ireland’s Executive Director Mary Buckley said, “This announcement of a new company into Ireland, which is a global leader in diversified animal health and nutrition, is great news for Sligo and the North West Region. IDA is committed to winning investments for regional locations across Ireland and the North West Border Region is a key area of focus for us. The 150 jobs being created by Phibro will significantly benefit the regional economy. I wish you and your team every success here and will follow your progress with interest.”

The new roles will include management, quality analysis, quality control, regulatory, engineering, operators and maintenance staff. For more information on the new roles email hr.sligo@pahc.com. While not immediately material to Phibro’s business, the company believes Sligo-produced products will meaningfully contribute to financial results over the next 3 to 5 years.

Credit Picture Shannonside radio

Marble Beach, Donegal

Best West of Ireland Heatwave photos

The summer of 2018 is the summer that keeps on giving. We can’t keep up with the amount of Caribbean-esque shots we have seen of the stunning beaches we have right across the West of Ireland.

Is anybody feeling a little bit smug about where they live now?

Here are our top Insta picks from the heatwave so far.

With the current forecast, we think we will have to do Round Two next week. If you would like your shots to be included, please tag us @lookwestie and include #lookwest on your shots!

Co Clare:

Hands down one of the best #cliffsofmoher shots we have soon. There are over 400,000 on Instagram so that is quite an achievement @reeyco

Co Galway:

Where do we start with Galway? The shots from SeaFest alone could feel a whole article. Then those Connemara beach shots!!

Seriously though how stunning is this shot of Lettergesh Beach in Connemara?

Having all the bants in Salthill!

With thanks to @kokine009 for #repost: “☀When it’s summer in Galway ☀”

A post shared by Barnacles Hostels (@barnacleshostels) on


This one is an old Red Bull shot from Poll na bPéist, couldn’t not include it!


A post shared by Aidan Maguire (@aidanjmaguire) on

Co Mayo:

Baywatch eat your heart out!

Wowza, having all the craic in Louisburgh!

Co Leitrim:

Zen-est sheep in Ireland award goes to?

Co Roscommon:

Blogger Magnumlady nails the Gaelic Chieftain at sunset.

Gaelic Chieftain sunset #roscommon #Ireland #irish #heatwave #statue #sculpture

A post shared by Val (@magnumlady) on

Co Sligo:

Sligo photographer Mark Capilitan seems to have the work-life balance nailed. Follow his feed for lots more stunning shots!

If it wasn’t for the beach & kayak, you’d think this water was a swimming pool!!

A post shared by Mark Capilitan (@markcap_photo) on

Its gonna be another one of those weeks 🌞🌞🌞

A post shared by Mark Capilitan (@markcap_photo) on

 Beautiful children at sunset shot from John Keating in Sligo.

Co Donegal:

South African photographer Ian Mitchinson’s feed is always a stunning feast of adventure shots from the North West. This Bundoran shot is a cracker!


Featured Image: Marble Hill Beach, Co Donegal via Ireland’s Content Pool

cairde arts festival

A New-Look for Cairde Sligo Arts Festival 2018

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival (CSAF),  the eight-day cultural adventure set amidst the backdrop of the stunning Wild Atlantic Way, returns this year with a brand new look ahead of the Festival taking place from July 7 – 14.

cairde arts festivalFestival Highlights
Join us in Sligo for a feast of eclectic events and happenings taking place right across Sligo town and county; Songs by the Sea features intimate gigs in seaside cafes, Parkfest in the Sligo’s Peace Park is a free family day on Sunday July 8th, with street theatre and family entertainment throughout the day.
This year, CSAF welcomes a new addition of a Big Top Circus Tent to Stephen’s Street Carpark which will feature circus workshops for kids, and night-time entertainment with a comedy gig and live music shows across the Festival weekend.
Foyle Punt is a new site-specific performance by The Local Group taking place in Raghly and Rosses Point Harbours, telling the story of boatbuilder Philip McDonald in his own words.
The music lineup includes Davit Kitt’s New Jackson, Disco É Cultura, LemonCello, Moxie, An Tara with Matthew Noone and Tommy Hayes, Flook, Jerry Creedon and Friends, and much more.
For more information on this year’s Cairde Sligo Arts Festival, see www.cairdefestival.com or follow online @CairdeFestival #SligoArtsFestival

Ambitious New Tourism Campaign set to Extend Tourism Season for Strandhill

From some of the hippest eateries in the West to some of the most inspiring landscapes and walking trails, surf breaks, and seaweed baths, Strandhill is a surf mecca along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

With a busy tourism season throughout the summer, the local Strandhill Community Development has leveraged funding from the government’s Town and Village Renewal Scheme to support an integrated tourism marketing campaign to extend the tourism season, and encourage return visits in Autumn to the Strandhill and Coolera Peninsula.

The new campaign was launched at a Swell Sligo training event earlier in June. The breakfast event took place in Strandhill Golf Club with a packed line-up of speakers on sustainable tourism, digital marketing, and PR.

Speakers included Cillian Murphy of Loop Head Tourism and Lisa Regan from Galway’s West End who both spoke about sustainable tourism in the West of Ireland.

The campaign is set to extend the tourism season into Autumn, as well as increasing the length of bed-nights per person and spend per head by initially targeting young families and social energisers – two tourism audiences who want action-packed days as well as fun-filled nights.


Adopting three strategic thrusts for the marketing of Strandhill this summer, the initiative includes an integrated marketing campaign to share all the inspiring moments of the day from dawn to dusk using the hashtag #StrandhillMoments on social media, incentivising return visits in Autumn, and enhancing the delivery of the overall tourism message to include heritage assets like Carrowmore Megalithic Tombs, walking trails on Knocknarea and Killaspugbrone, as well as the well known activities of surfing and water sports.

The campaign includes a revamp of the tourism website GoStrandhill.com, featuring an interactive map with attractions and local businesses, Strandhill package deals and featured itineraries for families and groups, as well as marketing, training and mentoring support for local tourism businesses.

Commenting on the launch, Cllr Sinead Maguire said, “This is a unique example of the community coming together to promote our local businesses. It is based on the premise of one supports the other and all will benefit, at the heart of this campaign is a wish to have a comprehensive campaign for the peninsula as a whole. We are incredibly fortunate with the array of tourism opportunities we have on offer from beach to mountain to one of the most significant archaeological sites in Western Europe and we as a community were delighted to get the opportunity to promote them.”


Strandhill Beach. Photographer: Mike Searle

A team of local creative professionals was commissioned to work on the campaign; a new media bank of photos has been commissioned and will be available to support the campaign through online channels and in print media. A new series of promotional videos have also been created and will be released across the Summer and Autumn months.

An overarching goal of the campaign is also to promote responsible and sustainable tourism development while safeguarding the unique culture, heritage and biodiversity of the peninsula through cooperation with all stakeholders in the wider community.

The campaign will also tie in with Failte Ireland’s promotion of the Northwest coastline as the Surf Coast along the Wild Atlantic Way, and the new tourism strategy launched by Sligo Tourism recently.

For further information on the campaign, see gostrandhill.com or follow the hashtag online #StrandhillMoments

jobs in sligo

E3 Retail announces 40 new jobs in Sligo

International Retail Solutions company E3 Retail announced today it is to establish a Software Development and Sales Centre in Sligo to support the development and localisation of its retail solutions platform and architecture based on a cloud utility (“pay as you go”) model.

The project is supported by the Government through IDA Ireland, with E3 Retail planning to create 40+ jobs in 5 years.  This includes key roles such as Technical Director, Marketing, and a new software development team (senior full stack cloud developers, cloud data storage architects, .net core and Angular 5+ UI developers, QA analysts, DevOps).

The company will initially locate in the Innovation Centre in Sligo IT.

Speaking at today’s announcement, E3 Retail’s Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder Barry Henderson said: “After working with the IDA to evaluate the technical talent in Ireland and appreciating the wonderful community spirit alive in Sligo, we are both honoured and excited to create a new centre in Sligo.   We look forward to expanding our global technology team, as we concurrently look to expand our product offerings and consulting services into Europe.”

Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD welcomed the announcement, saying “I am delighted that E3 Retail will establish a Software Development and Sales Centre in Sligo. This will result in the creation of over 40 highly skilled jobs over the next 5 years. The Government is strongly committed to providing a pro-business, pro-enterprise environment for all businesses, both foreign and indigenous, in regional locations. Announcements like this tell us that our plan is working and I would like to warmly welcome E3 Retail to Ireland and Sligo.”IT Sligo

IDA Ireland’s CEO Martin Shanahan said: “This software development project by E3 Retail is a terrific and very welcome investment for Sligo and the North West Region, given IDA Ireland’s strategic objective to win more high value projects for the Region. The 40 jobs being created will be a significant boost to the local economy. It will also act as an important reference seller for Sligo and the region, demonstrating that Tech companies such as E3 Retail and Overstock, who established in 2013, can find the skilled staff they need to base their operations here.   I wish Barry and his team every success.”

E3 Retail are hosting a walk-in information session this Saturday, June 9th from 11 am-1 pm at the Building Block in Sligo for those interested in learning more about the new roles.

More via IDA Ireland here.

ben bulben

Stunning new Ben Bulben Video from Sligo Walks

Sligo Walks is the online home of Sligo’s walking trails and routes. With over sixty trails to chose from, this website showcases a wide variety of routes with information on the grade of walk, terrain, length and local knowledge about each walk.

Boasting unspoilt scenery and landscape steeped in mythology and legend, Sligo’s walking offering provides the ideal destination for a day trip or walking holiday. With walking festivals taking place across the seasons and walking clubs and groups out every week, there really is something for everyone and every ability here.

Sligo Walks has just released a new video showcasing the Gortarowey trail around the majestic Ben Bulben forest loop. The trail takes just 1.5 hours so no excuses not to get out there.

To watch the beautiful new video, visit the LookWest.ie Facebook page here.

For full info and maps of this trail visit the Sligo Walks website here.

Shore Shots

Over 300 outdoor enthusiasts and surfers visit Sligo for the sixth edition of Shore Shots Surf Festival

Over 300 surfers, outdoor enthusiasts and movie buffs made their way to Sligo last weekend for the sixth edition of Shore Shots Surf Festival. Originally held in Dublin for three years, the event now hosts the majority of the content in The Model theatre with a number of fringe events taking place around the town centre and in Strandhill.

 The event, which is now renowned as one of the biggest gathering of surfers in Europe, began on Friday night with a book launch from Donegal native Barry Britton who had correlated over four decades of work in time for the festival.  Music on night one was provided by Jim Carbin & Acoustic Breaks, while inside the cinema festival goers got a chance to see the European premiere of the new Laird Hamilton movie ‘Take Every Wave.’

On Saturday the festival played host to a surf market, talks from some of Europe’s best outdoor photographers including George Karbus, Tim Burrow, and Ian Mitchinson. In the cinema theatre Sligo native Gearoid McDaid introduced his new movie ‘Misery Loves Company’ to a packed audience, while Easkey Britton took home the top prize for her new movie ‘ A Lunar Cycle’, which will now be showcased at the festivals partner event in Vienna next month.  Derry born musician Keith Harkin, who has made a name for himself in the States, flew back for the festival and put on a three hour show in Connolly’s bar as a fringe event to the public before Seamie O’Dowd showcased his Rory Gallagher style show on stage in 5th on Teeling.

Sunday morning of the festival coincided with ‘Earth Day’ and so begun with a beach clean at Strandhill in conjunction with Clean Coasts and a marram grass planting session with climate action officer Gary Tyrrell. As a reward everybody who took part was treated to brunch in The Strand Bar courtesy of festival sponsor Tullamore Dew. Back in the model theatre festival goers attended an ‘Earth Day’ panel discussion on single use plastics pollution in our oceans and attended movies including ‘Smog of the Sea’ and ‘A Plastic Ocean’.

Festival organiser Allan Mulrooney commented “Our attendees traveled from all over Ireland including Cork, Clare, Waterford and Dublin. We also had people travel from the UK, France, Portugal, Germany and a small few from the States which is fantastic.  When we surveyed them on site, it seems 60% had never been to Sligo before. Saturday was a beautiful day with fun waves and sunshine so we’re delighted our guests saw the North West in all its glory. The event was a huge success and we believe it’s the perfect fit for Sligo to showcase the work-life balance, the outdoor lifestyle and the world class waves on our doorstep”. Allan also added that more needs to be done to help small festivals progress and grow in Sligo with no funding, organisational help or structure in place to support grassroots initiatives. “We believe our festival has great value for Sligo and the North West and with more support could grow into an event that attracts three thousand or more in years to come. This structure needs to come from within the local council and tourism board if we wish to see our events grow to attract more beds nights and increase tourist spend here.”

For more on Shore Shots visit shoreshots.ie

Image Credits: Johnny Frazer