How targeted investment by the Western Development Commission at a crucial stage has made a meaningful difference in the west of Ireland.

The Western Development Commission (WDC) has invested €57m in 189 businesses and community projects in seven western counties, latest figures show.

The WDC Investment Fund approved investments of almost €7m across the region in 2019 alone, supporting 44 entities in Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Mayo, Galway and Clare.

“The €57m we have invested in 189 companies has resulted in another quarter of a billion euros being leveraged for our portfolio companies”

The impact of the fund is underlined by the fact that over 5,000 people are now directly or indirectly employed by the 189 companies assisted to date, according to Gillian Buckley investment manager with the agency. These companies have created a significant boost to the economy of the region with total payroll costs for those who received loans or equity from the WDC, now estimated at €63m annually. Out of that, €18m goes back to the Exchequer in taxes.

Many of the companies have a global reach and it is estimated that 73pc of the turnover of WDC-supported companies is export-related. Buckley pointed out that the fund has been self-financing from an investment perspective since 2010, with returns and exits from investments made constantly being re-invested in new enterprises under Fund’s the evergreen strategy.

Gillian Buckley, Investment Manager, Western Development Commission.

Among the companies that have invested heavily in R&D and that have expanded their workforce as a result of WDC support is Co Galway sports technology company Contego Sports which has developed N-Pro, protective headgear. N-Pro was recently selected as the first participant in a trial by World Rugby aimed at reducing the risk of head injuries and concussion. N-Pro CEO Mark Ganly founded the company  in 2014.

Among those who have donned the N-Pro protective helmets are rugby hero Nemani Napoli who plays with Montpelier and who wore the product in the recent Championship Cup. Closer to home Connacht’s Ultan Dillane has also sported the headgear.

“We hope to see a significant number of players wearing the product in the Six Nations this year”, said Ganly who has also been targeting other sports where head protection is vital.

Design for life

Fintech company Cerebreon, based in Ardara in Co Donegal, has also benefited from WDC investment and hopes to grow its workforce this year.

The company uses machine intelligence and algorithms to spot likely insolvency failures in advance, and take corrective action.

“We predict and try to prevent defaults from insolvency arrangements” explained CEO Gillian Doyle.

Cerebreon employs 10 people, six in Donegal , three in the UK and one in Dublin and expects to increase its workforce in 2020.

“All the intellectual property and core development is done in Donegal. The broadband is superb,” said Doyle.

She said staff have been making quality of life decisions to return to Donegal where proximity to families, short commutes and community support, aligned to job satisfaction make it an attractive proposition.

The Western Investment Fund was set to address a gap in support available for start-ups and established companies in the western region. Beneficiaries include a wide range of hi-tech operations including fintech, medical devices and artifice intelligence,  as well as traditional sectors such as food and tourism.

The almost 190 companies who have received WDC investment spend €24m annually on R&D.

While job creation and the expansion of overseas markets are considered key outcomes of WDC investment, there is also a strong focus on enhancing the lives of those living in the region. The investment fund supports a range of social enterprises and community-based initiatives in the seven counties in its remit.

These range from childcare facilities to sports and recreation amenities and enterprise space projects.

Another sector which is targeted for support is the creative sector and the WDC operates a micro-loan fund for those making a living in arts and crafts, publishers, graphic artists and web designers.

Those working in film, television, animation and games sector can avail of strategic investment under the WRAP (Western Region Audio-Visual Producers ) Fund , a collaboration involving both the WDC and the Galway Film Centre which has been running since 2018. These investment funds have helped copperfasten the west and the north west as attractive locations for those making a living in the creative sector.

Companies frequently use the WDC support to leverage further investment from both the private and public sector. “The €57m we have invested in 189 companies has resulted in another quarter of a billion euros being leveraged for our portfolio companies,” explained Buckley.

Support from the WDC has coincided with major expansion for a number of key players in the high tech sector in the region.

Global software company Cora Systems which is headquartered in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, had a staff of just five when it was first approved for investment by the WDC 15 years ago. Now it has a workforce of 80 people.

Galway-based Altocloud had a workforce of just six when the WDC first approved it for investment in 2015. Since being acquired by Genesys in 2018, a Silicon Valley based multinational, Galway has been designated the company’s global Centre of Excellence for Customer Experience AI with the workforce projected to grow to 200 over the next couple of years.

“The success of the WDC Investment fund shows that targeted investment at a crucial stage can make a real difference,” commented Gillian Buckley.

Written by Marese McDonagh

Published 26 February 2020

Watch ‘Over The Ledge’-featuring Gearoid Mcdaid

Gearoid Mcdaid is arguably Ireland’s best surfer. Growing up on the west coast he represented Ireland at countless world and European championships. In the past four years he’s been making a name for himself on the European circuit as one of the best all round surfers out there.

With Mullaghmore on his doorstep, Gearoid is now pushing his limits in bigger, scarier waves of consequence. This week he released a new surf movie called ‘Over The ledge’ and we caught up with him in Sligo to find out more.

Q.Hey Gearoid, you just released a new edit today called ‘Over The Ledge’, tell us about it?

We held a couple of premiers in the UK and Ireland over the past two months before releasing the video today online. So far the reaction has been great! We spent six months working on the project to capture what we needed. During that six months we chased every swell up and down the coast and when we had enough clips, Clem spent a further four months editing. So overall it was a ten-month turnaround but hopefully it will be worth it and everyone will like what we’ve created.

Q. Ireland has in recent years gained a reputation for one of the best surf spots in the world, but it’s not quite as simple as that. Tell us what it takes to be at the right place, at the right time in Ireland compared to other countries?

Honestly, Ireland is in my opinion one of the hardest places in the world to forecast and get good waves. The charts are ever changing and it’s rare that all the elements play ball. Sometimes the tide is wrong, more times than not the wind is the wrong direction. It’s on those days when wind, swell direction and tides line up, that it’s hard to be anywhere better.

 

Q.You’ve travelled to Mexico, Indonesia, Peru, Africa and lots more countries over the past year or two. What do you miss most about home when you’re on the road?

This year was an intense year of travel for me. Overall, I wasn’t really home for longer than a week in any month and sometimes for much longer. I obviously miss my family and hanging with my mates. When you’re on the road, searching for waves and not having any luck, the worst thing that can happen is that you’ll spot that perfect chart for Ireland and know you can’t make it back in time!

 

Q. Here at LookWest we spend our time telling people why they should live and work in the west coast of Ireland. What do you see as the benefits of living on the west coast for anybody here or anybody looking to move?

 I’ve been all over the world this year and there’s no place I’d rather live that here in Sligo. When I’m home, I’m so close to the beach and when there’s no waves, we usually go for a hike up one of the mountains. It’s a pretty easy life on the west coast, no stress of a major city but still plenty to do.

 

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Good luck with the video Gearoid and keep charging!

The Look West team. 

 

 

 

 

 

Nxnwtech X Technology Themed Community Conference Launch

Nxnwtech X is a one day, technology themed, not for profit, community conference to be hosted in LYIT Campus on Thursday 4th June. We caught up with one of the organisers Joe Dunleavy, VP, Head of Innovation at Pramerica to find out more.

Tell us how the conference came about and what it hopes to achieve?

A number of years ago a couple of colleagues came together, Ryan Bradley, John Brady and Paul Wallace to form a tech community meetup here in Donegal called North By North West Tech.  That group meets monthly, is open to the public through meetup.com and covers themes across areas such as AI, Cloud and IoT.  It rotates around a different theme each month and locations in Letterkenny and has also held joint meetups with groups in both Derry and Sligo. It is really well attended and supported by over 700 members.  Based on the success of that working group the founders discussed the idea of having a full day tech conference and floated the idea past the community.  The group loved the idea and a team of volunteers from large companies to start up joined together with Ryan, John and Paul to make the conference a reality.  The vision for it is to drive the technology agenda in the region and it is an event ran by and for the regional community with any money made being donated to local charities.  It would not be possible without the support of the community and partners like LYIT who have been very supportive in providing us with access to their very impressive campus for the event.

Letterkenny has become a hive of activity over the past number of years with FDI companies such as Optum, Pramerica, Sita and indigenous start-ups working together. Tell us a bit about the community?

Letterkenny’s tech scene is buzzing at the moment and is great to see.  There is many vibrant companies and start-ups in the region working on very interesting things.  The monthly tech meetup is well attended by folks from many of these companies and we finish every meetup with a My Startup Story slot where a funder gets some time to share their journey and details of their companies.  What is really nice about that is we have seen companies who started working together off the back of introductions made at the tech meetup.  We have examples of senior tech folks in some of the FDI companies act as mentors to startups and in some case also become customers of those start-up firms as they scale to product offerings.  Another success in the region has seen start up founders who have had a career with local FDI and IDA supported companies and then leave to pursue their own idea and build a company from it.  David Gildea the founder of CloudRanger, that was recently acquired by Druva  is a past employee of Pramerica.  So a real melting pot of talent in tech within the region.

You launched a call for proposals this week. What are you looking for and how can people apply?

Yes the team was delighted to get our site up and running recently with a big thanks to Darragh Coll who built it for us.  The site is critical to be able to provide information about the conference as well as have potential speakers to put their name forward with a proposal for a topic.  We welcome anyone interested in speaking to put a proposal in at this link.  The focus of the conference is tech and business but we know the success of the conference  will be based largely on the quality of the speakers and their topics..

If companies are interested in sponsoring the conference who can they reach out to? 

We are open to sponsorship and have been very excited with the initial commitments we have secured but for anyone interested please reach out to us  at sponsorship@nxnwtech.com

 

 

‘Ebb and Flow’ An All-Female Irish Surf Movie

Exciting week ahead as you launch your first all-female surf movie , ‘Ebb and Flow’. Tell us how it came about?

The idea behind Ebb and Flow is to shine a spotlight on the amazing talent of women in the water
here on the west coast. I’m a surfer and a film maker and after moving to Sligo 2 years ago I was
blown away by the huge community of women who surf, windsurf and sea swim here! I felt like
what I was experiencing here as a female surfer was never really represented in the media so the
idea for the project was born. This film is all about promoting and celebrating the radiant female
community here who take on the the wild Atlantic Ocean on a daily a basis!
Art has also been a huge part of life growing up so I really wanted to create a piece that combined
both surfing and art together as one. To bring this concept to life I worked with the incredible
contemporary artist, Alice Maher who also lives on the west to create animation for the piece. We
delved into the more mystical side of the Irish coastline looking at folklore about Selkies, Grainne
Mhoal and Queen Meave. Her work always represents strong women and the female form so
beautifully and having her drawings in the film really make it a unique viewing experience!
It was also important for me to have the perfect sound to fit this piece. I worked with the talented
Jessie Solange Whitehead from Sligo who composed and recorded a stunning song for the
opening sequence. The film also features music from the Sligo based band, The Hunter. I wanted
Ebb and Flow not only to be a celebration of the female surf community here but also to showcase
the rich creative community that resides on the west too!.The whole concept for Ebb and Flow was set in motion last year when we received funding for the project from Creative Ireland. It has been truly amazing that they have supported a project of this nature and I’m looking forward to bringing it to the public this weekend!

We see lots of surf content being created along the west coast of Ireland but we rarely see
females appear in them. Tell us about the characters you chose to feature in Ebb and Flow?

I love the fact that for a lot of people on the west coast, the ocean plays a central part in their world
and they have built a life around making time for the sea and nature. So it was really important for
me to showcase not only great talent but also women who had struck the balance in their busy
lives to always make time for their love of the Atlantic Ocean. So Katie McAnena, Elizabeth Clyne
and Shauna Ward seemed like the perfect choice! They are a really diverse group of women who
not only surf but also windsurf and SUP too. Growing up in Donegal, Shauna Ward was taught by her father how to surf. They went to the Junior Surf Nationals in Rossnowlagh every summer and later Shauna went on to compete with the Irish surf team. Shauna tackles the waves with amazing power and boldness! Elizabeth Clyne grew up in Strandhill and started surfing from the age of 12. She’s travelled all
over the world surfing and now co-runs her architects firm in Sligo. Elizabeth surfs with such
fluidity and elegance that I feel like you don’t see in a lot of male surf films so it’s been amazing to
capture her style and see how it translates on the screen!. Finally, Katie McAnena, from Galway is an extremely talented all round water women! She has competed around the world windsurfing on two professional tours, is a six-time Irish national windsurfing champion, has won events on the pro-American tour and national SUP champion five times. Katie is also the first woman ever to windsurf the big wave break known as Jaws on the island of Maui in Hawaii. When not in the water she works as a GP and has two beautiful kids!. It’s been amazing watching how these three navigate the ocean not only with such style and grace but also with extreme determination and grit too. They were absolutely fabulous to work with and despite the cold we always had a good laugh whilst filming!.

Shooting a surf documentary or edit on Ireland’s harsh coastline is no easy project. We’re sure you’ve battled the elements more than once. Tell us about the process, how long it took to shoot and the conditions?

I have spent the last year filming with the girls throughout the seasons and in all weather conditions
along the coast of Sligo and Donegal!. I had to shoot in mainly wet and cold conditions especially over the winter months but really enjoyed it! I definitely got good at layering up to stay warm and dry but it was amazing to be out enjoying nature as part of my job. We filmed in many different locations along the coast of Sligo and Donegal. I had only planned on filming for a 3 or 4 months but the weather conditions were not in our favour, especially at the beginning. There were many occasions where we’d arrive at a spot and the swell just hadn’t materialised as predicted on the forecast. This was my first time using a water proof housing for my camera so it was a huge challenge trying to navigate swimming in swell and getting good shots at the same time. I definitely learned a lot throughout the process and realised pretty early on that I had to invest in a warmer wetsuit to stick out the cold. I found it difficult at the start but the more I went out the more comfortable I got with swimming in bigger waves and now I absolutely love being out in the water filming!.


Any project within the surf world in Ireland is a labour of love and involves cold days, numb fingers and goose chases as you watch the charts and hope to score the perfect conditions. How hard was it to get all the characters together, balancing work, family and other commitments from everybody?

The three girls have been absolutely amazing throughout the whole project. They were so
committed from the beginning and have given up so much time for filming which I’m so appreciate
of. Our usual schedule was either early morning or on the weekends. There were many 5 am
starts! We would arrive at our filming location at first light and the girls would surf and then all head
off to work for the day!.

Finally, tell us about the launch this Saturday, time, venue and what people can expect?

The event is on at 8pm in The Factory Performance Space in Sligo Town. There will be a short
drinks reception to begin and then we will show the film. Everyone is welcome and we cannot wait to showcase and celebrate the female surf community hereon the west coast.

Inaugural Quest Sligo adventure race opens for registration on February 7th

South and West Sligo will be the place to be on Saturday 22nd August when adventure racers from all over the country descend on the Northwest as Sligo’s newest adventure race Quest Sligo, the latest and most exciting event to be added to the Quest series of adventure races emerges onto the scene supported by the South and West Sligo Tourism Network. Registration opens next Friday, February 7th for this brand-new, one-day, multi-discipline sporting event which will give participants the opportunity to experience the beauty and hidden gems of South and West Sligo. Temple House Lake, Ladies Brae, Ox Mountains and Coolaney are just some of the stunning locations that participants will traverse on the run, cycle and kayak sections of the event.

Available to people of all fitness levels and abilities, participants have the option of three scenic routes: 35km Challenge, 54km Sport or 73km Expert. As a general rule of thumb if you can run a 10km race you can sign up for a Quest Adventure Race. Whichever route is chosen participants are guaranteed an unforgettable experience with great comradery and adventure.

The finish line buzz at Quest events is legendary, participants will be welcomed across the line with food, drink, Japanese hot tubs, customised t-shirts and much more as well as plenty of other Quest participants ready to celebrate their great personal achievement.

Director of Quest Events, Oliver Kirwan said “We are really looking forward to bringing the series to the North West again. Our route design team have been working hard in the area over the past couple of months to map out the course. We engaged the help of participants from the Quest community and brought a group on a Discovery Day recently where they tested out the routes with us. The feedback was excellent and we are really looking forward to a great event. There will be a thrill and a challenge for everyone on the day regardless of ability.  The great thing about these events is that they’re really accessible and we would encourage local people to take a look and see if it’s something they’d like to challenge themselves with.”

Quest Adventure Series are working with support from South and West Sligo Tourism Network to bring this high-profile event to the area. Paul Taylor, Chair said, “We look forward to welcoming adventure racers and spectators from all over the country to experience what our region has to offer. With an estimated 1200 adventure racers expected to attend, this event will bring a significant boost to the Sligo economy. We will be working closely with the team at Quest to promote and support this event in the coming months while our members will be offering an array of customised packages.”

Quest Sligo is part of Quest Adventure Series – their events encompass several one-day adventure races. Already well-established, events across Ireland in Killarney, Kenmare, Glendalough, Lough Derg and South Kerry attracted over 8,000 participants in 2019.

Quest Sligo opens for registration at 9.30am on Friday February 7th with launch special and early bird rates available for a limited time only.

For more information visit https://www.questadventureseries.com/race/quest-sligo/ or email annette@eliteevents.ie or call 0646635512.

For further details on visiting South and West Sligo, visit https://southsligotourism.ie/

 

Looking West: Moving Back To Ireland After Living And Working As An Engineer In Australia

By slcontrols

The start of the last decade was a time of upheaval in Ireland. The global financial crash was practically all that was in the news and, like other countries, Ireland was hit hard. One of the immediate outcomes of this was that people in many industries chose to move abroad for career reasons.

Roll forward 10 years to today and Ireland is a very different place. The economy is strong again and there are industry-wide success stories across a range of different sectors.

However, part of the hangover from the 2009/10 financial crash remains as there is a pool of Irish talent that is no longer here. They moved away roughly 10 years ago, and many continue to work in their new adoptive countries.

Many, but not all, however, as there are some who are now looking to return to Ireland. They are returning for their careers, to raise a family, and to be back home.

Alan Loughlin is a Validation Consultant. He currently works out of SL Controls’ Sligo office, delivering solutions for pharmaceutical and medical device companies in the North West of Ireland. A short time ago, however, he was doing a similar job in Australia, so his story mirrors the description above.

Becoming An Irish Expat Engineer Down Under
Alan, a NUI Maynooth computer science graduate, worked for SL Controls for almost six years in the mid-2000s. When the Irish economy was hit by the financial crash, he started to look at his options and decided to go travelling.

He travelled around various countries in Asia before ending up in Australia where he lived the standard backpacker’s life – seeing as much of the country as possible while doing various jobs (including fruit picking) to fund the next stage of his travels.

In terms of his career, he was open as to what to do next but then an opportunity came up in Sydney to work in his chosen profession again – validation engineering. He spent a short time in Sydney before moving to Melbourne to do a similar job for a consultancy company that served the Australian pharmaceuticals sector.

Alan’s employer helped him obtain a visa to stay and work in Australia, giving him the opportunity to get further experience, expand his career, and see more of the country in the process.

Ireland Calls
While in Australia, Alan met his wife, Arita, and the couple had a son. Alan said this opened up a whole new chapter in his life.

“Your perspective changes when you have a family,” said Alan. “Your needs change over time.

“I loved Australia. The country, my employer, and the career opportunities I had were all very good to me, but when you have a family you start to miss Ireland a bit more. It’s being away from your extended family and not being able to spend time with your wife and son together with the rest of your family because they are back in Ireland.

“In terms of family, we were on our own in Australia, so we didn’t have that support network that exists when you are back home. This was a big selling point for coming back to Ireland – that support network, plus the fact Ireland is a great place for bringing up children.”

The Move Back
In making his decision, Alan also looked at how Ireland had changed since he left the country eight years previously, noting how it had gone from strength to strength, particularly in relation to the pharmaceuticals sector.

Alan said: “What’s great about Ireland is it’s a real melting pot for multinationals. This provides priceless experience for engineers as there is so much of this industry here.

“When you travel abroad you realise how lucky Ireland is to have this on its doorstep. It’s a great asset to have.”

So, Alan started looking for job opportunities back in Ireland, something which many engineers who left during the late 2000s and early 2010s are also now doing.

For Alan, he chose to take up a position with SL Controls in Sligo.

“When I did start looking back towards Ireland,” Alan said, “I did get a lot of job offers from places like Dublin, Cork etc, but it was great that SL Controls has such a presence on the western seaboard. SL Controls serves so many clients in the West and North West of Ireland that there are opportunities for engineers who want to live and raise a family in this part of the world. It ticked all the boxes for me.

“The company was also a massive help with the relocation and move back to Ireland, making that part of the process go really smoothly for us.

“It’s also really great to see how far SL Controls has come in the period of time I was away. The company has expanded and moved into other areas, including overseas, and I was impressed with the vision and direction the company is heading.

“I was also impressed with SL Control’s focus on innovation as this is a factor when looking for another career step.

“All these things were attractive to me and helped with the decision Arita and I took to move back to Ireland.

“It’s different here, of course. Everyone talks about the weather, but it’s not good to compare the two. For me, I feel lucky to have lived in both countries and I’m looking forward to a future of continuing to advance my career while living and raising a family in Ireland.

Courtesy of SL Controls 

Doolin Surfest Dates Announced.

Doolin Surfest have just announced the dates for the second year of the festival. The event promises to be bigger and better with live music from King Kong Company, Kormac and more.

From March 20-22, surfers from all over Ireland and the UK will make their way to Hotel Doolin in Co.Clare to meet their heroes, watch some of the best cold water surfing on the planet and hear first-hand some of the stories from sessions out at Mullaghmore, Prowlers and other big wave spots along the west coast.

 

Over the course of the weekend, surfers will be awarded for their bravery, skill and dedication with awards for the Best Irish wave , Biggest Wave, Worst Wipeout and Ride of the Year.

Clem McInerney, Competitions Director, added: “It was really amazing to see everything the Irish surf community had to offer last year. During the winter we are always on the move and chasing swells. It was great to have a weekend all in one place where we could look back and reflect on some really amazing achievements.”

Entries are already coming through and if you want to submit your own, then see HERE for details. To buy tickets to the event, head to the website, HERE.

 

Allergan in Mayo completes €160m investment in Westport, adding 63 jobs

Global biopharmaceutical company Allergan has completed a €160 million investment in its Westport, Co Mayo facility as part of a strategic expansion.

The New-York listed botox maker said today its investment in Westport cements that facility’s position as its largest in the world and brings its investment here since it began operations to more than €750 million.

Irish-domiciled Allergan, which has a market value of $62 billion, said its investment would add 63 new jobs at the Westport site and increase its workforce across the Republic beyond 2,000.

The company has developed a “biologics two” facility that will feature state of the art microbiology and cell-based laboratory with research and development capabilities.

 

Speaking in advance of an event to mark the investment, Allergan’s executive vice president of global operations, said: “Throughout our 40 years here in Ireland, , we have enjoyed a tremendous relationship with local, regional and national government and the community around us. We continue to believe Ireland is an outstanding country for investment and expansion for all our products that are manufactured here in Westport.”

Story – Peter Hamilton- Irish Times

Galway’s Eimear Noone to be first woman conductor at Oscars

Irish composer and conductor Eimear Noone will become the first woman to conduct at the Oscars this February.

Galway native Noone will conduct excerpts from the five nominated scores. She is the first female to lead the orchestra in the history of the televised awards, the Academy said.

Noone moved to Los Angeles in 2014 and has worked on almost 30 film and video-game titles. She is married to a US composer, Craig Stuart Garfinkle, and the couple have two children. They live in Malibu.

Noone’s first love was video game music, and her first job was with Blizzard-owned World of Warcraft. She told the Irish Examiner in 2016: “When I was in school, my job didn’t exist so it was my passion for orchestral music that led me to my first job on World of Warcraft.

“Seeing the cinematics for that game, that’s what really made me want to go into video game music — it was just overwhelming. They were beautiful.”

She added: “Huge, bombastic scores that require a giant orchestra and choirs — I’m like a kid in a candy store. I’ve followed my love of the orchestra to its most unimaginable conclusion.”

She will take to the pit with the orchestra this coming 8 February. Noone will be one of two high-profile Irish women at the event, as Saoirse Ronan is nominated in the awards for her role in Little Women.

 

Fionn Rogers- Making ‘Tarraingt an Atlantaigh’

Hey Fionn. You’ve just released the first few episodes of a new series called Tarraingt an Atlantaigh on TG4. Tell us about the project and how it came about?

Honestly, the idea has been bubbling for a while. I have spent my life on the West Coast of Ireland, traveling up and down the sea front for waves and work. I have met lots of really interesting characters throughout this time and I have always known there are a lot of interesting stories out there and lessons to be learnt. I like many others who spend a lot of time in the sea, feel a connection with it. It makes me happier, more creative and healthy. In this series I wanted to hear other people’s take on that.

The episodes bring the Irish language to the forefront and showcases some really interesting people living along the western seaboard. How did you go about finding the characters?

Finding the characters wasn’t too hard. I knew a few, and then with a little research and phone calls we were able to find some more. I really feel like we only scratched the surface and there are definitely lots of other amazing coastal characters out there. Maybe we can find them for the next series!

 

Is shooting a series in Irish something you’ve aspired to or are passionate about?

Shooting this series in Irish was amazing. I learned so much from listening to the interviews and then editing them. It was really cool hearing all the different dialects from around the country. My fiancé Caitlín Nic Aoidh is from the Gaeltach in Donegal. She works with TG4 and helped me produce this series. It wouldn’t have happened without her.  I was worried about my Irish not being up to scratch but from shooting the series there was never any hard feelings about it. I think people who speak Irish are proud and passionate about it and want it to be heard whether you are fluent or you’ve only got a couple of words. It’s so nice hearing it first hand and I really want to learn and use it more often.

Tell us about your background and how you started shooting edits and working in the industry?

My dad gave me the loan of a little video camera when I was about 16. I used to get soaked down at the rocks videoing friends surfing during the summers and winters. This was right around the time youtube was kicking off. After I uploaded my first video I was hooked.

You’ve released three episodes so far, what’s next?

We have some epic ones coming up next. Nuala Moore who is an open water swimming legend from Kerry. We have Darek Guziuk who is a Polish Diver who runs Dive Academy out on Inis Mór (Lahinch during time of filming). We also have Easkey Britton who is an Irish surfing legend. She has been working on a lot on the science of what we are talking about in this series, very insightful.

 

I just want to take this opportunity to say some thank everyone who is a part of this series. They were all amazing to work with and really inspiring. TG4 for the opportunity to create something like this. Caitlín for all your patience and work. Finally to everyone who watched and enjoyed the series. If its inspires some people to go into the sea, or for people to go in more often I feel it’s a big win. Míle buíochas