Skibbereen’s ground breaking Ludgate Web Incubator Hub prides itself on staying ahead of the game tackling the economic disadvantage of Irish Small Towns and showing a way forward for rural Ireland.
Ireland’s 1 GB Digital Town of Skibbereen is punching above its weight again as it does in so many other areas such as say, Olympic Rowing! As Ireland’s Digital Champion and local Skibbereen resident, David Putnam (Lord Putnam) has said Ireland is in a position where it did not have to accept second place to any other nation. “We have the opportunity to turn Ireland from the land of saints and scholars to THE land of scholars.” the innovative Ludgate Centre who are the driving force and catalyst for Digital Week is a web incubator centre in Skibbereen providing 1 GB Broadband which is estimated to generate over 500 jobs in the area over the next few years.
— The Ludgate Hub (@LudgateIreland) December 22, 2016
Staying ahead of the curve it is holding a networking event for members of the Irish Diaspora – ‘Fáilte Mhór Abhaile Róimh’ – to all arriving home to West Cork this Christmas. They hope you can join them in the Ludgate Hub for their Diaspora Welcome Home Evening at 3pm | 23rd of December for a mulled wine reception, meet and greet and a tour of the Ludgate Hub. Whether you are travelling from Dubai or Dublin – all are welcome 🙂 Register your interest here:
The Ludgate Centre is 10,000 sq ft digital workspace in Field’s renovated Old Bakery in Skibbereen Town donated by one of its driving forces local businessman John Field who believes West Cork, a unique and beautiful part of Ireland needs to claim its place in the Digital Economy as a pathway to prosperity. the joy of superfast connectivity has meant that the advantages of living in a place like Skibbereen – the more relaxed pace of life, the fresh air, the pull of the great outdoors, the activities and cost of living – are now outweighed by any need to live among the hustle and bustle of a big city. You can work as you want and live a lifestyle to complement it. He may well be right, just two months ago Skibb hosted Ireland’s National Digital Week which attracted 1,600 participants, 70 heavy duty Industry speakers and top level sponsorship to this great little town.
The Ludgate itself is just a stone’s throw from another reimagined structure, the town’s new Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre (Skibbereen and West Cork have the highest number of artists per capita in Ireland). Little wonder the town has lured home so many returning Irish emigrants, including Skibbereen native David Carroll who returned from Marbella with his wife and two children, or that it has attracted people from abroad, including Jane and Evan Sims from Chicago and Christopher Mason from Los Angeles. It’s all very cosmopolitan in a place that for so long was synonymous, from Famine times, with people moving away, often never to return.
It seems those days are gone for good. In a little under two years the Ludgate Hub has transformed perceptions of what rural areas can achieve – or as Grainne Dwyer puts it, “It’s death to ‘small town syndrome.’” She believes that connectivity is essentially the electricity of the 21st century. “Looking ahead 30MBs is not enough for rural areas a 1GB to 10GB vision is needed,” Grainne says. “Key opportunities lie ahead – by 2020, 80% of large corporations will offer agile working. We need to give young people the opportunity to help shape their home communities. We need to support co-working spaces, give opportunities for smaller businesses to become digitally enabled and give an opportunity for the incubation of companies in rural areas.”
Video: Joe O’Sullivan