work remote conf

Irish Towns Compete to Host Remote Working Conference

Towns and villages around Ireland have until August 25th to avail of the opportunity to host the inaugural Grow Remote conference that will take place on September 27th.

The one day conference, which features speakers from across Europe aims to kickstart momentum around the remote working community in Ireland, with specific emphasis on leveraging it to support the town teams and digital hubs.

Commenting organiser Rose Barrett said “We have a full speaker line up and event management team organised for Grow Remote. Rather than being predictable and hosting in a city centre conference location we want to be true to the objective of the conference and encourage towns and villages to tell their stories of remote working and to pitch their locality as the venue for the conference. Events like this typically bring €20,000 in to local communities and all is takes is a simple form on the website.”

Huge interest has already been received from hubs and town teams across Ireland with the closing date of August 25th for submissions.

The first of it’s kind, the conference will play host to remote workers, remote working companies and town groups. The conference already has 10 speakers from across Europe and beyond set to attend. Speakers will share the latest thinking on the technology, management and opportunities for remote working. Currently it is estimated that over 216,000 people work remotely in Ireland.

Gabe Karp, Director of Europe at 10up will be speaking at the event as 10up is continuing to grow across Europe said: “We’re excited to be involved with Grow Remote, as a remote digital agency, we believe strongly in the power of remote teams. As we continue to grow, we would love to find great design and engineering talent in Ireland. We need an active community in this space to make that happen and this is a great event to kickstart that”

The emergence and activation of new community spaces across Ireland was a key motivator for this event as they begin to provide the infrastructure needed in the regions to make remote work possible.

Remote working is becoming more of a viable option for large companies. Ryan Mesches of said, “it’s a no brainer for us; we’ve built a huge business with over 23% of our workforce working remote. Hiring remote staff allows us to continue to lead in our market by remaining more agile and flexible – and our employees love it too!”

Town teams are encouraged to apply at before August 25th and winners will be announced late August.

The event is supported by the WDC, Bank of Ireland and Abodoo with tickets starting at €30. More details at

A Snapshot of the Western Region – WDC publishes a series of county infographics

The Western Development Commission (WDC) has just published a series of eight infographics showing of key statistics for the Western Region and each of its seven counties. The data is from the CSO’s Census of Population in 2016 with analysis by the WDC.

The Infographics show:

• The population of the county
• The percentage living in rural areas
• The percentage of the working age population in the labour force
• Average time to travel to work in minutes

There is a different infographic for each county and there is also one for the Western Region. The Region’s infographic shows the Western Region population growth since the last Census in 2011 (1.0%) and the growth over the last ten years (8.7%).

The Region has more females (50.4%) than males but there are more males than females in Roscommon and Leitrim. Fifteen percent of the population in the Region are over 65 and more than a fifth are under 15 (21.1%).

roscommon population

Infographics are an entertaining way to provide information about the Region and its counties. They show important county characteristics and information in an accessible and lively way. We hope they will be used in schools and in workplaces and anywhere that people want to know more about the places where they live or are visiting.

county clare populationThere is a good mix of statistics highlighted on the infographics, showing access to broadband (64.5% in Clare) and also that most of the population consider themselves to be in very good health (58.7% in Galway).

The infographics also give information about work and education. In Donegal, the average time taken to travel to work is 22.1 minutes. 57.9% of the working-age population in Sligo is in the workforce and 40.7% have a third level qualification. Two employment sectors are also shown. For example in 14.2% of the Mayo’s workers are in Industry and 8.5% working in agriculture.

You can download the infographics for the Western Region and for the seven counties here:

NUI Galway medtech accelerator returns

The NUI Galway-hosted medtech accelerator BioExcel is open for entries for its 2018/2019 cohort. The programme allows participants to build and commercially validate their technologies by working with existing entrepreneurial networks, mentors and management team.

Funded by Enterprise Ireland, Western Development Commission, Galway University Foundation, Bank of Ireland seed and early stage equity fund, BioExel offers €95,000 to successful applicants along with six-months of training, mentoring, lab space and access to potential investors.

The accelerator is managed by medtech director and co-founder of BioInnovate Ireland and Senior Research Fellow in NUI Galway Dr Sandra Ganly, and Fiona Neary, commercial director and co-founder of BioExel, and manager of the Business Innovation Centre at NUI Galway.

“This first cohort of BioExel candidates have an array of innovations that have grown over the months at a rapid pace, de-risking their technologies and advancing in critical areas of medtech challenges,” said Neary.

“BioExel is key to transforming these opportunities as we deliver the next generation of investor ready, first class medical technologies to the marketplace.”

NUI Galway is home to Ireland’s only centre for stem cell manufacturing, extensive translational and clinical facilities, biomedical sciences research laboratories, and the Curam centre for research in medical devices. The University is placed in the Top 250 of both the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2016/2017 and the QS World University Rankings 2016/17.

For more information and to apply please e-mail or visit

Closing date for entries is 1 September 2018.

Credit Photo: Martin Regan

strandhill moments

New Strandhill Tourism Video Targeting Families is Launched

In a new video series launched by Strandhill Tourism in Co. Sligo, four year-old Michael narrates the story of a special family holiday highlighting all there is to see and do in the vibrant surf village and peninsula along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

A family trek up the Queen Maeve Walking Trail on Knocknarea, a drive out to Coney Island, a walk through the forest to the ‘secret beach’ at Killaspugbrone and surfing on Strandhill Beach, as well as watching the burning sun melt over the Atlantic at sunset, are all just some of the special ‘Strandhill Moments’ captured in the new promotional video.

First Tourism Campaign for Strandhill

Sharing some of Michael’s favourite ‘Strandhill Moments’ and highlighting some of the very best attractions and things to see and do in Strandhill, the video is part of the village’s first integrated marketing campaign which will see a four-part video series, FAM trips with press media and bloggers, and a new photography bank produced.

The marketing campaign is set to attract more families to holiday on the Strandhill and Coolera Peninsula, and to encourage return visits by extending the tourism season into the off-season months of September and October.

The first of four videos is targeted at the domestic audience, Connected Families; for them, family holidays are the best weeks of the year and a special opportunity to spend quality time together, creating memories and moments to last a lifetime.

Social Media Activation

From Dawn to Dusk, locals and visitors alike are being encouraged to use the #StrandhillMoments hashtag. With regular spot prizes up for grabs, there is also a major Family giveaway competition set to launch in August to encourage current visitors to the area to use the campaign hashtag and share their own #StrandhillMoments.

The Village, The Surf Coast

Strandhill is located on the Coolera Peninsula and is a vibrant and bustling surf village. Home to friendly surf breaks with five surf schools providing daily surf lessons from the beachfront, the village also hosts some of the most innovative and dynamic restaurants and eateries along the Wild Atlantic Way, including Shells Cafe, The Drafthouse and newly opened Stoked Restaurant.

Voya Seaweed Baths also offer hour-long sessions to indulge in a hot steaming bath by the sea, Salt & Soul Yoga Studio offers classes and retreats, and Strandhill Golf Club offers an 18 hole links golf course overlooking the Atlantic.

WIth numerous accommodation options available for all budgets, the village is home to Strandhill Lodge and Suites, hostels, B&Bs, and Strandhill Caravan and Campsite.

For more information on family itineraries, see or follow @GoStrandhill on Twitter/Instagram.

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 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

€1.5m awarded to NUI Galway to make smartphone cameras better

Delivered by the Department of Jobs, through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the funding is part of the SFI’s Strategic Partnership Programme, which includes a €750,000 industry contribution from the Galway-based computational imaging company FotoNation.

The research project conducted by NUI Galway students will run for four years and will be used to sustain positions for six PhD researchers and three post-doctoral researchers.

Describing what’s in store for his research and the team’s, principal investigator Dr Peter Corcoran said that this research will contribute to “the future needs of the global consumer electronics industry”.

FotoNation’s technology is currently used in more than 2bn smartphones and digital cameras and the company, a subsidiary of Tessera Technologies, will look to work with the researchers to apply the findings in its software.

At the launch, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, said of the funding: “Social media content is becoming increasingly visual, with huge growth in the amount of photos and videos now being shared online.

“This trend is driving strong demand for advancements in smartphone camera technology. This demand presents a strong strategic opportunity for Ireland in the years ahead, and that’s why funding for a project like this through SFI is enormously important.”

Jobs boost for Sligo: Abtran to Create 350 New Jobs

Minister Humphreys hails major North West Regional job creation project.

Abtran, Ireland’s largest home grown Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provider is creating 350 new jobs in Sligo. The new development forms part of a regional expansion strategy by Abtran in Ireland where the North West region has been selected for the location of a major new operations hub.

The announcement was made by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys T.D., together with Pat Ryan, CEO of Abtran and Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland. The development is supported by the Government through Enterprise Ireland.

Abtran is Ireland’s leading Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provider. The company has a proven capability in delivering transformative solutions with an extensive and diverse client base across regulated markets. Abtran is a specialist provider of services in sectors including government, transport, utilities and financial services. Established in 1997, the company marks its 21st anniversary this year.

Abtran already employs over 2,000 people in Cork, Dublin, Kildare and Southern India. The company will base its new regional operations centre in a high-tech facility at Finisklin Business Park in Sligo which will be up and running in Q3 2018.

Recruitment for the new roles in Sligo has started. For more information on the variety of new roles that will be available or to submit a CV, applicants are invited to email Abtran’s Talent Acquisition Team at Details on Abtran’s Sligo careers Fair and a new jobs page will be announced over the coming weeks.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys T.D., said:

“This is a tremendous day for Abtran, for Sligo and for the North West. One of the Government’s big priorities is ensuring we have the right conditions and supports in place to encourage job creation in the regions. That’s why I’m delighted to announce this significant investment by Abtran in a new regional hub, which will create 350 jobs in Sligo. The company’s continuous innovation, market leadership and investment in high-quality resources have made this indigenous Irish business deeply competitive. The fact that they have chosen to invest in the North West to serve their business markets both at home and abroad is a testament to the confidence they have in the region and its talented workforce. Ireland will continue to be an acknowledged leader in this sector driven by initiatives like this by Abtran.”

Pat Ryan, CEO of Abtran said:

“Ireland will continue to be a key part of the global growth ambitions that we have as Ireland’s largest home grown BPO provider. We also believe it is very important to support national and regional economic development wherever possible through the growth of our operations. We engaged in a detailed process where potential locations were reviewed and assessed in consultation with Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. Based on the skillsets identified for our business needs, we selected the North West region as the location for our new operations hub and we are very pleased to announce these new jobs in Sligo which will complement our overall high quality workforce.”

“Our growth plans are underpinned by our high quality of operations together with continued investment in technology and highly skilled people where we are also investing extensively in learning and development and the creation of career advancement opportunities throughout our organisation.”

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland said:

“Enterprise Ireland welcomes the announcement of 350 new jobs at Abtran in Sligo and is delighted to support the company’s global ambition. Abtran is a great example of how an Irish business, with a blueprint for services innovation, can successfully accelerate and rapidly scale its business in international markets. The company’s success is underpinned by the value that it offers clients in terms of its knowledge, insight and experience around customer service delivery throughout multiple sectors.”
Carlyle Cardinal Ireland (CCI), the Irish private equity fund established by The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) and Cardinal Capital Group is a major shareholder in Abtran having invested in the company in 2015 to support its growth and development. CCI is the largest equity investment fund in the Irish market.

2018 Westport Food Festival Launched

Mid-Summer Banquet is highlight of Westport Food Festival Westport House Friday 29th June

The undisputed highlight of Westport Food Festival and the social event of the year is the gala Mid-Summer Banquet in the glorious environment of Westport House. It’s a glittering affair featuring black tie and evening dresses as befits the stylish setting. The date is Friday 29th June and limited tickets are available through Hotel Westport (098 25122).

The evening starts with a complimentary trip from town on the Westport House Train. It might bring guests just a kilometre on the ground, but it transports them to another world. It’s Downton Abbey – but it’s better, because it’s for real! From the chilled Pimms on arrival to the handmade canapés, gourmet tasting menu and accompanying fine wines, this is a step back into history. Walk up those historic steps and imagine several hundred years of bejewelled guests and famous figures preceding you. Opportunities like this don’t come along too often.

The Midsummer Banquet takes place on Friday night, 29th June. The epicurean seven course feast showcases the combined talent of seven local chefs led by Eoin McDonnell of the Wyatt Hotel who is also Chairman of Westport Food Festival. The wine pairings are from Cabot’s of Westport, guaranteeing a perfect match for the taste buds. The team of chefs has developed a stunning menu with a strong focus on local and Mayo food. It promises to be a real celebration of the senses.

Tickets for this unique event are in high demand and as there is quite literally no room for expansion in the dining rooms, people are advised to book without delay. Contact Hotel Westport (098 25122).

Westport Food Festival continues over the weekend until Sunday 1st July with a busy programme of events including the Fairgreen Food Village on Saturday with a full programme of chef demonstrations and plenty to keep the kids occupied too. Kiddie workshops on Pizza Making and Cup Cake Decorating can be booked on the day and the little ones can enter the fun Fast Food Race too. Go foraging for mushrooms or seashore delicacies. Two local producer tasting tours are on the menu– Mescan Brewery and Mussel and Oyster Farm.  Wet your whistle with the Gintastic Gin Appreciation, Whiskey Tasting and Come Wine With Me. There’s something there to tempt everyone’s tastebuds. Check out the website for full details.






Oliver Healthcare Packaging Opens New Technology Centre in Galway

Oliver™ Healthcare Packaging, a leading provider of sterile barrier flexible packaging for the global healthcare industry, announces the opening celebration of its first Technology Centre in Galway, Ireland on Thursday, 7th June, at Westlink Commercial Park, Oranmore, Co. Galway. The choice of location is an indication of the global reputation that Galway has developed as a centre of excellence for the medical device sector.

With an established history over 120 years and facilities in the United States, The Netherlands and China, Oliver see this new Technology Centre in Ireland as an important hub to serve its Irish and European customer base. Capabilities at the centre will include rapid prototyping of sterile barrier packaging, such as mounting cards, pouches, and die-cut lids. It will also have initial testing capabilities, including peel testing, bubble leak, dye penetration and burst testing.

‘The aim of the Centre is to offer our customers a space to develop their packaging free from interruptions and constraints in their normal working environment.

Regional leader Christopher Hartnett.

Customers will be able to arrive with their device and prototype various packaging configurations and mounting cards designs. They will have the opportunity to modify their designs and leave at the end of the day with their completed prototype, test and seal data. This will result in a significant time savings for customers when it comes to commercializing their devices,’ commented Kevin Zacharias, Technical Director at Oliver.

The Oranmore centre has been set up and will be run by Clare native Christopher Hartnett, who now lives with his wife and family in Kilmaine, Co. Mayo. Hartnett has a wealth of healthcare knowledge, with over 20 years of commercial, technical and manufacturing experience. He has also worked with both multinational and privately owned medical device companies. Hartnett has been a part of Oliver since August 2016 as the Regional Manager for Ireland. ‘I see the Technology Centre as a huge opportunity for medical device manufacturers to work on projects in a clean space where they will have access to all the appropriate materials and expertise for their projects. We think there is the potential to reduce a project timeline by up to three months, which is an enormous benefit to those who are tasked with getting a product to market with incredibly tight deadlines. In a world where projects are shared globally, this Centre could also prove extremely valuable,’ says Hartnett.

The official opening will take place on Thursday 7th June – an invitation is extended to members of the medical device, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.  If you would like to attend, please register in advance by emailing – or visiting