connemara seaweek

First Irish man to climb Mount Everest Dawson Stelfox among amazing adventurers set to enthral audiences at Connemara Sea Week 2018.

The first Irish man to climb Mount Everest Dawson Stelfox is among the amazing adventurers set to enthral audiences as the biggest celebration of Ireland’s coastal communities’ is set to kick off next month in Connemara.
Among Ireland’s longest running festivals, Connemara Sea Week 2018 celebrates Ireland’s coastal communities and their wonderful marine heritage while serving up a jam-packed programme full to the brim with superb entertainment.
connemara sea week
Kicking off on October 21st, this eclectic, multidisciplinary festival celebrates the sea and will host a series of engaging, insightful talks on the future of the country’s coastal communities. 
The festival’s one day conference will explore the theme of sustainability, with a fantastic line-up of speakers hosting an insightful panel discussion. 
Dawson Stelfox became the first Irish man to climb Mount Everest over 25 years ago. As the festival explores the theme of the quest for adventure, he will share his incredible experiences with visitors as part of a series of invigorating talks sure to inspire both young and old.
Joining Dawson Stelfox will be Galway man Damian Brown. Continuing with the theme of the quest for adventure, he will share tales from his trip rowing across the Atlantic. The two amazing adventurers will be speaking in the National Park on Saturday, October 27th at 2.30pm. Another leading expert on our ocean, and talking at this year’s Sea Week is Simon Berrow, he has travelled the world’s oceans studying albatrosses, seals, penguins, sharks, and more. A passionate scientist and lover of Ireland’s natural heritage, he founded the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and the Irish Basking Shark Study Group. Simon will talk about the effect our ocean is having on whales, and in turn what they are telling us about the future of the ocean.
connemara sea week
This week-long cultural extravaganza will see a wide range of family-friendly events taking place within the stunning surroundings of Connemara. Visitors will be enthralled by the sensational visual spectacle of the mini boat regatta. Not to mention the spectacular ‘After the light’ parade; an unforgettable night of myth, magic and amazing creativity as visitors enjoy fabulous costumes, brilliant installations and magnificent fire sculptures.
The annual schools’ programme runs throughout local schools for the duration of the festival. Students get the unique opportunity to learn first-hand about Ireland’s marine history as marine biologist Dave McGrath, ecologist Gordon Darcy and director of the National Aquarium Noirín Burke share their all-important expertise.
The festival will celebrate the very best of Irish traditional music with a stellar line up of some of Ireland’s most respected and celebrated folk artists. The festival will bring together all of the country’s top traditional musicians, with the biggest names in Irish folk music offering up the very best the Irish traditional music scene has to offer. Among the music legends set to enthral audiences are John Spillane, Luka Bloom and Máirtín O’Connor. 
Award-Winning Chef Jonathan Keane will Cook a Local Seafood Feast at Sea Week to Mark European Region of Gastronomy, Galway.
Letterfrack native Jonathan Keane, the award-winning head chef at The Lodge at Ashford Castle, is returning home to cook a very special ‘Community Celebration of Seafood Dinner’ at the Courtyard Café on bank holiday Monday the 29th of October at 7.00pm. Chef Michael O’Meara whose book ‘Sea Gastronomy’ won the best Seafood Cookbook in the World in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2016 and his book ‘Oyster Gastronomy’ with Mairín Ní Choimín won again in 2018.   Rare double for a chef and for publisher Letterfrack’s Artisan House.

Celebrating the magnificent artistic talents of the local community, the Small Works Exhibition will see western based artists explore the mysteries of the sea with a superb showcase of original works of art. All work is presented anonymously and sold at bargain prices.
Connemara Sea week takes place from 21st-29th October within the breath-taking surroundings of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. 
sligo walks

Let’s Get Sligo Walking – New Promotional Campaign Showcases over 60 Sligo Walks

“Let’s not only get Sligo walking, let’s get the world walking in Sligo,” were the final words spoken at the launch of the new Sligo Walks website and video at Sligo Airport, Strandhill on Friday last. Those words were spoken by Deirdre Lavin of the Sligo Sport & Recreation Partnership, who were among the many organisations, groups and other stakeholders present at the event, which also included a short but symbolic walk in glorious sunshine along the nearby Killaspugbrone Looped Walk in Strandhill. is a new website which has detailed walking information on over 60 waymarked walks throughout Sligo, and this along with a viral video which shows some of Sligo’s most iconic walks – will encourage people to use the wonderful natural amenities on our doorstep, as well as providing an opportunity to promote Sligo much further afield. Illustrated maps by artist Annie West provide walkers with eye catching reference points of many of the walks and are free to the public from locations such as the local Fáilte Ireland tourism office in Sligo.

“The video we are launching , the new information leaflets published,  the new website being introduced today, will all greatly enhance our tourism product, and could well be the catalyst for the development of further marketing and promotion campaigns centered on our exceptional facilities,” said Councillor Séamus Kilgannon, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, at the launch event.

Many of Sligo’s walking and outdoor clubs were represented at the launch and several of them spoke, describing the many positive benefits that they and their colleagues have received from walking in Sligo, from both a physical and mental health perspective. Jim Newman spoke on behalf of the Sligo Walking Club, Alan Sayers on behalf of the Sligo-Leitrim Mountain Rescue Team, and Goretti Brennan described the huge growth in popularity in walking with community groups such as the North Sligo Walking Group, which now has approximately 100 members.  “The walks are meant to be enjoyed as we interact and meet up with old friends, making new ones along the way. It has also become apparent that fitness levels have improved with confidence as initially some of our group were shy or reluctant to go the distance,” she said.
Dorothy Clarke, Director of Services at Sligo County Council, said that a huge amount of investment has been made in providing walking infrastructure in Sligo, and now a great opportunity awaits for local people to get involved in walking, whether informally or as part of a group. And as walking is a pursuit which can be done at any time of the year, the message is to get walking, stay healthy and to get the word out that by visiting you’ll find all of the information you need to get started.
For more information, visit or follow @SligoWalks.

Regional Heat & Biomass Study: We Need Your Input

The WDC along with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, were tasked to ‘complete a regional renewable energy analysis on the use of biomass as a local contribution to the national renewable heat target and develop a range of actions to support the development of renewable energy in the region’.

This covers:

• Mapping biomass installations already in usage

• Assessing the biomass feedstock supply available to the region

• Identifying potential future biomass heat demand and use

• Recommending the next steps in the development of biomass heat in the region

Please participate in the survey here

In line with this research the Western Development Commission is now undertaking a survey of current and potential biomass use in the Western Region. This will inform how we support and develop biomass use in this region.  We are keen to understand more about how you operate your heating systems, any plans you have for further biomass investment or use and your general views on biomass. 

All information provided will be treated in strict confidence.

This is timely in the light of the proposed Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), that the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) propose to introduce. The Incentive will:

• Offer payments based on metered renewable heat output (€/MWh).

• Be paid for a 15 year period

• Eligible only to newly installed biomass systems (and other renewable heat technologies)

• Make biomass heat an attractive proposition compared to fossil fuel heating

Your support in this survey will be greatly appreciated and will help us develop the biomass sector in the Western Region, supporting jobs and growing our low carbon economy.

WDC and biomass specialists Reheat are managing this survey.


and or contact either Clodagh or Steve

with any questions directly: or

More details can be found by clicking here.

Photo by Pär Pärsson on Unsplash

green door leitrim

Green-Door Festival of rural architecture and design is back this Autumn

The fourth Green-Door Weekend of rural architecture and design returns to counties Leitrim and Sligo this 28th September – 1st October.

Thirty nine homes with sustainable features and ways of living, many self-builds, renovations and extensions, will be open to the public over the two days.

This is a unique opportunity to meet home owners and builders, architects and suppliers to get first hand, honest information about the whole process of sustainable planning, designing and building, the choices made, the highlights and the lowlights.

The weekend is full of talks, workshops, exhibitions and demonstrations, with the aim of stimulating and inspiring the weekend’s participants.

  • The weekend kicks off with talks and debate which aims to give a backdrop to the weekend. The theme: ‘Building, Living, Dwelling’ will be discussed by the following speakers at The Dock Arts Centre in Carrick on Shannon.:
  • Jingru Cyan Cheng : A Split Household: Contemporary Rural Home for China’s Floating Population; Marcus Donaghy and Will Dimond : Material Knowledge ; Deirdre McMenamin :  Configured Rurality Models of Rural Habitation and will be chaired by  Dominic Stevens
  • All day Saturday 30th : 15 homes throughout South Leitrim open to the public. FREE From a cob house to an architect’s garden to a heritage rectory.
  • All day Saturday 1st Oct: Exhibition: ‘Thinking, Living, Dwelling’ is a major new exhibition curated by Sarah Searson and designed to underpin the Green-Door festival (running until Oct 14th) A whole day of talks and clinics at the Dock to include a cob clinic, Healthy homes by Pat Barry IGBC.  Architecture-based drawing and painting workshops for adults and children.
  • 11-5pm Peter Cowman from Living Architecture will be giving talks and demonstrations based on his econo-space, in Leitrim Village.
  • Film Night: Microtopia, La Maddalena Chair and Sensing Spaces are films about architecture and homes at The Glens Centre in Manorhamilton. This is a chance to unwind and catch up with other people.
  • All day Sunday 30th: over 20 homes in North Leitrim and Co Sligo  FREE
  • Including artists’ homes (Max and Anna-Maria, Matt Jones, Charlie Easterfeild) new build builds (Frank Albrecht) and renovations (Brian and Jane)
  • Bike tours of some of the homes around Dromahair led by architect Colin Bell.
  • Exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre

Green Door Festival Programme:

You can download the Green Door Brochure here or visit

For more information


Tel: 087 778 1914



Twitter @ihleitrim



Marine Science Museum

Ireland’s first sea science gallery is in Galway

Michael Creed TD Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine officially opened Ireland’s first marine science gallery at Galway City Museum today, Thursday 18 May 2017.

“Sea Science – the Wild Atlantic” exhibition is Ireland’s first sea science gallery to have audio and visual displays accessible in both English and as Gaeilge.

The interactive exhibition spans a variety of topics including the nature of how tides operate, multi-beam mapping, deep sea exploration and marine life along the seashore. The basic principles of marine science are communicated in a fun and engaging way, using a combination of digital interactive touchscreens, hands-on-exhibits, holograms and high-definition video footage.

Minister Creed said, “I’m delighted to officially open Ireland’s first marine science gallery at Galway City Museum, an exhibition that both strengthens our maritime identity and raises awareness about our oceans.

For an island nation like Ireland, the sea has particular importance to our history and culture, as well as supporting a diverse marine economy. Our ocean is a valuable source of food, a gateway for shipping and means of transport, as well as supporting diverse ecosystems. For many of Ireland’s coastal communities, our ocean also offers tourism and leisure opportunities which contribute to our health and wellbeing.

Our ocean is indeed a vital resource, and it is imperative to cultivate an interest in our oceans from a young age. This “Sea Science – the Wild Atlantic” exhibition will educate our younger population and the general public, about the value and opportunities provided by our sea. Through both English and Irish interactive displays, future generations will be encouraged to explore, protect, manage and sustainably develop our national resource.”

Dr Peter Heffernan CEO of the Marine Institute said, “Ireland has a rich maritime heritage, from a seafaring history to researching and preserving our marine environment. Our ocean is a national asset and a key aspect of Ireland’s marine plan Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth is to ensure our marine resource generates social, cultural and economic benefits for all our citizens.

To realise Ireland’s marine potential, it’s incredibly important to have an ocean literate society – a population that has a strong understanding of the marine environment and how it impacts our everyday lives.

To understand the value of our oceans, citizens need to engage with the marine environment from a young age. This exhibition provides a stimulating learning environment for children to discover the mysteries and science of our oceans, and to also inspire our next generation of marine entrepreneurs, explorers and scientists,” Dr Heffernan said. Dave Clarke, Marine Institute meet with Michael Creed TD Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine at the launch of Ireland’s first “Sea Science - the Wild Atlantic” at the Galway City Museum. “Sea Science - the Wild Atlantic” is a free exhibition and is a partnership between the Marine Institute and Galway City Museum. Photo:Andrew Downes, xposure

The installation of this permanent “Sea Science – the Wild Atlantic” exhibition at Galway City Museum will enable children, school groups and all members of the public to engage with the ocean year-round.

As well as officially opening “Sea Science – the Wild Atlantic” exhibition, Minister Creed officially launched SeaFest 2017, Ireland’s national maritime festival.

SeaFest 2017, one of Ireland’s most popular summer festivals, will attract thousands of visitors to Galway Harbour from Friday 30th June to Sunday 2nd July. The three day festival will include a host of family friendly attractions and entertainment that celebrates the sea, including “Sea Science – the Wild Atlantic” exhibition.“Sea Science – the Wild Atlantic” is a free exhibition and is a partnership between the Marine Institute and Galway City Museum.

For more images of “Sea Science – the Wild Atlantic” exhibition, click here

freed project

FREED Project: €30,000 available to support Energy Innovations

The FREED Project is currently inviting applications from companies, SME’s or start-ups to develop innovative energy technologies with an opportunity to secure up to €30k in funding. Closing date for applications is March 15th.

Aimed at businesses that are currently active in the Energy Technology sector, FREED is offering financial support to develop and take innovative energy technologies to commercialisation. A total investment sum of €30,000 is available for this call together with in-kind support offering incubation capabilities, market access and unique access to private investment. The innovative technology selected will be promoted through the project across the partner region in the NPA area and beyond.

The Western Development Commission (WDC) is a partner in the FREED Project, established to support the development of innovation in energy technologies currently unavailable within the Northern Periphery & Artic regions, which runs until the end of 2018. This will be achieved by selected companies, SME’s or start-ups, collaborating with private finance to bring technology transfer of IP to create products and bringing them to market.

Ian Brannigan (CEO) of the Western Development Commission said: ‘’The West of Ireland Region continues to develop a strong bio-economy and with this support for innovation the WDC seek to grow the regions capacity and evolve to the next level of sustainability.’’

Candidates are to submit technology innovation proposals, which address identified challenges in the following four thematic areas:

  • Intelligent grid (IoT
  • Energy storage
  • Smart and efficient buildings and environment
  • Renewable energies

A condition of being awarded the contract is that technology development and the commercial development of the output must take place in the Northern Periphery and Arctic region, as defined by the European Union Interreg Programme.

How To Apply

The WDC is using the eTenders platform and the tender documents are available at, the closing date for applications in March 15th 2017.

About The FREED Project

The FREED Project has seven full-partners from across and outside the NPA region:

  • University of Oulu, Finland
  • South-West College, Northern Ireland
  • Western Development Commission, Ireland
  • Green Angel Syndicate, Scotland
  • Narvik Science Park, Norway
  • Limerick Institute of Technology, Ireland
  • European Institute for Innovation, Germany

Associate-partner: Sustainable Venture Development Partners Ltd, UK

The FREED Project is funded under The Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014-2020 (NPA) which is a cooperative programme between nine partner countries of: Finland, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom (Scotland and Northern Ireland) in cooperation with the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Norway.

For further information please contact –

Mary Keaveney, Project Officer, Western Development Commission. PH:00353-9498-61441. Email:

Website –

Facebook –

Twitter – @Freedproject


WDC GREBE Launch & Renewable Energy Seminar

The Western Development Commission are holding the launch of the GREBE project and information and networking seminar for renewable energy businesses at the Twin Trees Hotel, Ballina, Co. Mayo, Wednesday 24th February, 2016 from 9.30 – 14.00.

Participants will have the opportunity to engage with the speakers in the discussion forum and informally during the seminar lunch.

Presentations outlining the work of GREBE in the partner regions, these will include:

  • Renewable Energy Policy and Funding Mechanisms
  • The Influence of Environmental Conditions and Challenges for Renewable Energy Business
  • Linking Renewable Energy Technology and Resources in the Northern Periphery & Arctic Partner Regions
  • Business Models and Business Development Support for Renewable Energy Business
  • Knowledge and Technology Transfer and Business Delivery of Renewable Energy

Register your interest in attending via email to or by phone to the WDC offices at +353 94 986 1881.  Closing date for registration is Wednesday 17th February 2016.  This event is free of charge, registration is required.

Further information and a full schedule for the event will be forwarded in the coming weeks.
For further information on the GREBE project, please contact Pauline Leonard ( or
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ROKWOOD – WDC Project for Bioenergy and Energy Crops

ROKWOOD is 3 year project funded through the EU’s Framework 7 programme. The project has aimed to increase the market penetration of woodfuel produced from short rotation plantations (SRP) by encouraging more relevant research, providing views on supportive policy measures, dissemination of existing knowledge and the promotion of multifunctional uses.

The consortium is made up of 20 partners from 6 different countries. The activities in each country are concentrated on a particular region. Some of the regions are well developed in terms of SRP planting and infrastructure whilst others are in their infancy. Each regional cluster is represented by three partners comprising the triple-helix concept (business entity, research entity and local/regional authority).

The direction of travel for the majority of the outputs of the project has been informed by the business representative of each cluster.  This will increase the likelihood that future SRP research and policy context are based on a real world understanding of the issues. The project concludes in November 2015.

As part of this project, the WDC held three training seminars, in Athlone, Mullingar and Galway to promote the use of woody biomass.  Some of the project outputs include:

  • A Joint Action Plan, a catalogue developed by the six European research-driven clusters including future joint activities, research areas and project ideas which aim at increasing research and technology development (RTD), market uptake and  investments in woody biomass production from short rotation plantations (SRP) and utilisation schemes.
  • A ROKWOOD Best Practice Booklet which includes 40 case studies of enterprises within the six ROKWOOD partner countries, and covering every step in the biomass supply chain, from initial business planning to the distribution and use of the heat and power produced. These examples focus specifically on woody energy crops grown in SRPs.
  • Policy Briefs with recommendations for policy makers, public authorities and governmental agencies to support the development, production and use of SRP-derived woodfuel in each partner country. The briefs are inevitably shaped by the characteristics of each cluster region and are therefore primarily focused on influencing regional policy, covering all levels of formal policy making and also the development of action plans.

You can also sign up to the ROKWOOD Marketplace. The ROKWOOD marketplace ( is where organisations can showcase their business offers and find partners. It is our intention is to make this the largest publically available database of SRP businesses in the world. If your company is involved in the production and use of woody biomass from SRPs, and you are not listed yet, you can register here:

More information on the project is available by contacting Pauline Leonard at or on the project website

Roscommon Businesses Urged to ‘Go Green’ and Reap the Benefits

The Power of Greening For Business

Aspiring entrepreneurs, business-owners and SMEs are being regularly reminded of the power of greening – not simply for the environment, but for business.

Speaking at the recent ‘Accelerating Green Business’ launch, both Joe Dolan from the Bush Hotel and Duncan Stewart, renowned green advocate and broadcaster, commented on the superb opportunities for businesses to differentiate and develop their businesses through greening. Dolan, whose business is the first Irish hotel to receive the EU Flower Award for environmental efficiency, recommends that businesses, at the very least, examine the potential of greening.  Based on his experience, during a challenging economic climate, going ‘green’ created business opportunities whilst also demonstrating huge benefit for the local environment.

These opportunities and benefits are being explored in detail by Roscommon-based businesses taking part in the ‘Accelerate’ programme, based at Boyle Enterprise Centre.  The programme, which offers an IdeaGen green business idea assessment platform, as well as workshops and business supports, was launched last month in King House.  Programme Manager of the Accelerate programme based at Boyle Enterprise Centre, Olwen Dawe explains that “Accelerate provides an opportunity for green business ideas to be explored and refined, as well as workshops and training / mentoring supports for existing and new businesses.  Our latest schedule includes workshops on the new ‘green’ customer, as well as how to best utilise natural resources – we’re also looking for green ideas for our green IdeaGen assessment platform”

The programme runs until August 2014 and is open for existing and new businesses, as well as new or aspiring entrepreneurs.  “Our participants are diverse – from new entrepreneurs, to businesses in services, training and green products – it’s important to mention that this programme is free too!” Dawe adds.

Anyone interested in finding out more about Accelerate can contact Olwen on 087 7997772 or Orla 086 3807802, or via email to

Showcase of Green Enterprise Potential for Roscommon

Duncan Stewart

RTÉ’s Duncan Stewart confirmed as keynote speaker for ‘Accelerating Green Business’ Event taking place on March 12th

The benefits of the green economy, for start-up businesses, existing companies and the future economic development of County Roscommon, will be centre stage at a showcase event taking place on Wednesday 12th March in King House, Boyle.

The ‘Accelerating Green Business’ event, which features a line-up headed by renowned green advocate, RTÉ’s Duncan Stewart, will showcase the opportunities, supports and training available for start-up businesses in the green sector, entrepreneurs and those wishing to understand more about the benefits of green credentials for their own enterprises.

Joe DolanDuncan will be joined by Joe Dolan, Managing Director of the Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon, Ireland’s first hotel recipient of the EU Flower Eco Label for High Environmental Performance.

The ‘Accelerating Green Business’ showcase is a multi-agency collaboration as part of the development of a new Enterprise and Innovation Strategy for Co. Roscommon, and will feature information on business opportunities, supports available, education and training courses as well as information relevant to new entrepreneurs, existing businesses and other interested participants alike.

The event will also include the launch of Phase II of the Accelerate Green Enterprise Programme in Roscommon, funded by Roscommon LEADER Partnership.  This initiative is now open for new participants, and aims to encourage and promote new green enterprises and to facilitate the ‘greening’ of existing businesses where possible.

Speaking about the upcoming event, James Donlon of WestBIC stated, “The green economy has the potential to play an important role in the future economy and is one of the priority sectors identified for support – both from a job creation and economic development perspective.  We regularly hear of new EU policies directed at enhancing our competitiveness and economic opportunities through greening and green measures; this event will highlight just how that could be harnessed in Roscommon.  The engagement of all of the support agencies on the ground to support new and existing enterprises to achieve their potential will be key in this regard”.

The ‘Accelerating Green Business’ event will take place at King House, Boyle, on Wednesday 12th March from 11.00am to 1.00pm, with the opportunity for participants to further discuss opportunities immediately after the event.  Registration can be made via phone to Olwen (087) 7997772, Orla (086) 3807802 or email