Ludgate@Skibbereen Wins €50,000 in funding to support digital community initiatives

Ludgate@Skibbereen Wins €50,000 in funding to support digital community initiatives

Ludgate@Skibbereen are proud to announce that they are the lucky recipients of a €50,000 fund through the REDZ (Rural Economic Development Zones) pilot scheme via the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) fund. Ann Phelan, TD Minister of State for Rural Affairs announced the €3,758,479 in funding on Tuesday for the REDZ pilot scheme where recipients were selected on a competitive basis. This pilot is a result of the work of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) which was published by the Government in April 2014.


The report identified the need to take a more tailored approach to planning at both a regional and local level and so instead of working off traditional geographical boundaries, the Zones in the scheme are based around where people cluster to live and work.


Minister Phelan said that “This funding is about community participation, boosting employment, tackling rural isolation and helping communities to identify the issues   and also the solutions. The concept of a REDZ which involves supporting communities to avail of opportunities to help themselves and their local areas is the essence of what a community led approach to rural development is all about. Rural communities know best what they require and I hope that this pilot will provide much needed resources to some of the REDZ community’s throughout Ireland to further the economic development of their areas and I hope that the learning from this pilot will inform thinking as the economy continues to recover.”


This funding, along with the recently announced €30 million for the rural towns and villages renewal scheme is another element of our wider strategy to rejuvenate rural Ireland and spread the economic recovery. Ludgate@Skibbereen is a new initiative launched in August 2015 pioneered by a group of entrepreneurs, digital ambassadors and local business owners all with a connection to West Cork. The group operates as a non-profit company and has worked on a pro-bono basis over the last number of months to develop a digital outlook for the town and surrounding functional area. The primary focus of the group is to create sustainable employment for the area, which will attract digitally enabled businesses. As part of the Ludgate@Skibbereen initiative the group successfully applied to The Department of Environment to fund three projects including the installation of solar powered digital tourism information kiosks, to hire a coordinator for a cooperative e-commerce scheme & community marketing fund and to develop a skills sharing meeting room to enable the clustering of digital skills and training space. The solar powered information kiosk will provide real time information to all visitors travelling through Skibbereen which is a primary hub on the Wild Atlantic way but also has a fantastic three-loop cycle hub.


The solar powered information kiosk not only reduces emissions by saving up to 9.2 tons CO2 per unit but also adds to the streetscape of an eco-friendly town. The kiosk will offer many of West Cork’s 450,000 visitors a layout of what is on offer in the wider area in terms of activities, dining and accommodation and give our visitors and community an opportunity to book tickets for travel, entertainment and other listed websites which will feature on the touch screen kiosk.

The coordinator hired under the cooperative e-retail scheme (a first of its kind in Ireland) will facilitate the pooling of resources and joined up thinking in terms of collaboratively marketing shops and services in the town in the run up to Christmas. The coordinator will assist participants of the scheme to trade on line and market their products or services to a national and international market.


Our final project will see the development of a digital skills sharing meeting room to enable the clustering of digital skills and training space. This project would provide a space for business owners, community groups, self-employed people and groups with visual impairments to meet, collaborate and work on community projects in a high tech meeting room. The LCD touch screen monitors and interactive white boards would give anyone using this space the perfect tools to remain efficient in their meetings, provide tools for collaboration, skills sharing and training but also to provide a window of opportunities for others to explore the use of new simple technologies. This space will be located in The Ludgate Hub which is nearing modification completion. Ludgate@Skibbereen is delighted to be able to facilitate all projects and enhance the area by thinking digital and thinking sustainably.


In addition, Ludgate@Skibbereen will be announcing an all star cast of national and international speakers for Ireland’s first ever National Digital Week. National Digital Week will be hosted in Skibbereen from the 3-8 of November and will be home to a suite of themed speaker sessions, workshops and exhibitions exploring all things digital. The website will be live this week for ticket sales and further information. Gráinne Dwyer, Project Director for Ludgate@Skibbereen added that “National Digital Week will be a game changer for Skibbereen and West Cork, we have an all star cast coming to Skibbereen in November and have invited high level international speakers to one of the most inspiring places in Ireland. Attendees of the event will be in for a treat as we have morning activities, evening entertainment and engaging workshops organised all promoting West Cork as the new digital leader for Ireland”.


The Ludgate@Skibbereen team encourages all who are interested in volunteering or participating for the week to email



Castletownbere and Skibbereen get €100k under rural REDZ plan

Castletownbere and Skibbereen get €100k under rural REDZ plan

Michael McCarthy.

Michael McCarthy.

ALMOST €100,000 has been awarded to two West Cork towns in a bid to help them become Regional Economic Development Zones (REDZ).

It was confirmed today that Castletownbere and Skibbereen are receiving €44,500 and €50,000 each as part of their selection as one of 26 new REDZ pilot projects around the country.

Labour TD Michael McCarthy welcomed the news saying, “ The concept of REDZ involves supporting communities to avail of opportunities to help further economic development in each area, by boosting community participation and local employment, while also tackling rural isolation. It is the essence of what a community-led approach to rural development is all about.

“There are 26 pilot projects selected nationally so it’s a great boost for West Cork to have two towns selected today. I want to thank my Labour colleagues Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly and Minister of State for Rural Affairs Ann Phelan for approving them, and I look forward to hearing about and visiting many of the projects as they come to fruition.

“These resources, coupled with the €30million approved for the rural towns and villages renewal scheme last week, are just the beginning of a process of rural renewal regeneration being led by the Government. This copperfastens the Government’s commitment to rural Ireland and it an important venture between the Department of Rural Affairs and Cork County Council,” he said.

Centra Calls on West Cork to Walk the World for Breast Cancer

Centra Calls on West Cork to Walk the World for Breast Cancer

TV presenter and fitness enthusiast Kathryn Thomas, Laura Curtin, Communications Manager; Centra and Mark Mellet; Head of Fundraising; Irish Cancer Society. Pic: Maxwells

TV presenter and fitness enthusiast Kathryn Thomas, Laura Curtin, Communications Manager; Centra and Mark Mellet; Head of Fundraising; Irish Cancer Society. Pic: Maxwells

THIS October, Centra retailers are urging the people of West Cork to put on their runners and take to the streets for Centra’s Walk the World initiative. Ireland’s leading convenience retailer aims to get thousands of people to collectively walk 40,075km, the circumference of the earth, on Saturday, October 17th and several Centra stores in West Cork, among 38 across the county will be hosting walks to help raise much needed funds for the Irish Cancer Society’s Action Breast Cancer programme.

To take part in your local walk sign up in store or register online at

Reaching the target is easier than it sounds! In order to ‘Walk the World’ Centra needs only 8,000 people to walk 5km each. The majority of the walks will take place on the same day and Centra will have a live tracker available online to follow the progress as communities come together to reach the target and walk the world!

TV presenter and fitness enthusiast Kathryn Thomas, who launched Centra’s Walk the World campaign, will be taking part in a walk on 17th October. Centra is calling on communities to register with their local Centra store and be in with a chance to have Kathryn participate in their walk. People can sign up in store or at and Centra will announce the lucky community on October 13th.

Speaking at the launch Kathryn Thomas said, “I am really looking forward to October 17th; not only is it a great opportunity to raise awareness and funds for a very worthy cause but it is also a chance for cities, towns and villages throughout Ireland to get their runners on and get active.”

Centra’s partnership with the Irish Cancer Society’s Action Breast Cancer programme is now in its sixth year, having raised more than €2.1 million to date. This year along with the Walk the World initiative, Centra stores are selling a new limited edition cotton bag that is the ultimate must-have accessory for your grocery shop. Feline fans and dog lovers can get their hands on this unique bag from participating Centra stores from today for just €3.

Meanwhile the popular pink reflective vest has also returned and will be sold in all stores participating in Walk the World and will retail at €5. All net proceeds from both the bag and the vest will go to the Irish Cancer Society’s Action Breast Cancer programme.


To register for Centra’s Walk the World campaign and take part in your local walk to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society’s Action Breast Cancer programme check out People can also donate money online at, in-store or by texting CENTRA TO 50300 and €4 will be donated.


Centra will also have a number of pink products on sale throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month including eggs, Barry’s Tea and flowers with all net proceeds also going to Irish Cancer Society’s Action Breast Cancer programme.

John McCormack, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society said, “We are so pleased that once again we have support from all the Centra stores across Ireland during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Ireland and we would not be able to continue to provide our services without the considerable support that Centra, their stores and their customers offer us.”

Anyone concerned about breast cancer or breast health should call the Irish Cancer Society’s Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700.

The Centra Pink Walks will take place at the following stores in West Cork:

Cronin’s Centra Ballylickey

O’Donovan’s Centra Enniskeane

Dromey Centra Ballymakeera

Fuller’s Centra Union Hall

Andrew’s Centra Bantry

Region cleans up again at Tidy Towns awards

Region cleans up again at Tidy Towns awards

The Clonakilty Tidy Towns group at the Helix in Dublin with town mayor Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin. Clon topped the rankings in West Cork again.

The Clonakilty Tidy Towns group at the Helix in Dublin with town mayor Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin. Clon topped the rankings in West Cork again.

WEST Cork and South Kerry have once again proved to be one of the tidiest regions of the country at the national SuperValu Tidy Towns awards held at Dublin’s Helix theatre.

No less than 14 medals were picked up by towns ans villages in the West Cork Times area with four gold medal winners, five silver medal winners and five bronze medal winners from the area.

West Cork towns and villages accounted for 12 of the 18 winners in County Cork, while Bere Island was the overall islands category winner and Sherkin was highly commended in the islands category also.

Cork County Mayor John Paul O’ Shea said, “I want to pay tribute to all the volunteers and champions in each of our Tidy Towns groups across the county who are so dedicated to making their towns and villages look so well.

“Cork has again achieved huge success in the competition and it clearly shows that the partnership approach of the local authority working closely with Tidy Towns groups is a winning one. Cork County Council will continue to works with all towns and villages who enter into this wonderful competition and continue to support them financially and resourcefully anyway we can.”

The medal winners were, with points:


Clonakility 320

Kenmare 320

Rathbarry 319

Kinsale 314


Rosscarbery 317

Sneem 317

Eyries 316

Timoleague 313

Bantry 312


Lislevane 312

Ballydehob 312

Skibbereen 305

Macroom 307

Bandon 295

The overall West Cork standings by category were:

Category A:

Rathbarry 319, Eyeries 316, Lislevane 312, Sherkin Island 300, Newcestown 291, Ardfield 288, Kilcrohane 286, Glandore 281, Cuil Aodha 258, Lowertown 256, Toormore 255, Whiddy Island 255, Castletownshend 254, Inchigeelagh 247, Ballylicky 246, Goleen 246, Dursey Island 245, Lisavaird 236, Crookhaven 216.

Category B:

Rosscarbery 317, Timoleague 313, Ballydehob 312, Bere Island 306, Glengarriff 301, Union Hall 295, Béal Atha an Ghaorthaidh 292, Courtmacsherry 286, Baltimore 281, Schull 272, Kealkill 267, Aherla 251, Ballinspittle 239, Coachford 226.

Category C:

Skibbereen 305, Dunmanway 287, Castletownbere 281.

Category D:

Clonakilty 320, Bantry 312.

Two million Canadians to read about West Cork

Two million Canadians to read about West Cork

Dana Welch, Tourism Ireland (left) and Ellen Redmond, Fáilte Ireland (centre) with Canadian journalists who visited West Cork recently.

Dana Welch, Tourism Ireland (left) and Ellen Redmond, Fáilte Ireland (centre) with Canadian journalists who visited West Cork recently.

FOUR journalists from Canada have been touring around the South West and part of the Wild Atlantic Way, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Aer Lingus. Following the coast from the Ring of Kerry to Kinsale, their visit combined historic sites with spectacular scenery and some delicious local food.


The group included writers for national magazines and two of Toronto’s biggest newspapers. The aim of the trip was to inspire the journalists to share their travels and experiences here with their two million readers back home.


The journalists enjoyed an action-packed itinerary designed by Fáilte Ireland which included Garnish Island and night kayaking on Lough Hyne. They visited Baltimore Castle and continued to Kinsale, where they did a walking tour of the town and visited Desmond Castle. In Cork city, they checked out the English Market, where they enjoyed lunch at the Farmgate Café. They stayed in Casey’s Hotel in Baltimore and the Trident in Kinsale.


Dana Welch, Tourism Ireland’s manager Canada, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to invite these journalists to visit the South West. Working with influential travel and lifestyle media is a key element of our annual promotional programme in Canada, to continue to raise awareness of the island of Ireland, the Wild Atlantic Way and all the many things to see and do for Canadian holidaymakers.


“2014 was the best year ever for Irish tourism from Canada – with visitor numbers increasing by +30% over 2013. And the outlook for 2015 is also positive, particularly given that the number of airline seats from Canada increased by +22% in the peak summer months. With new, year-round direct air access from Toronto to Dublin, our message for Canadian holidaymakers is that the island of Ireland has never been so convenient or more affordable to get to. Our extensive autumn campaign is now in full swing and aims to take advantage of late booking trends, as there is still plenty of business to play for.”

West Cork singer songwriter Joe Daly writes for charity

West Cork singer songwriter Joe Daly writes for charity

Joe Daly

Joe Daly

JOE Daly living in Bantry has been through his own struggles in life with addiction, and like a lot of addicts in times of despair, suicide often seems the only way out. Joe draws inspiration from those struggles for many of his songs.

Today, to show his gratitude for his recovery from addiction he wants to reach out to others in despair through his songs and give them some hope. Joe has written and recorded two songs, You’ve Only One Life and Speak Your Mind to help raise awareness and to raise funds to help Lisheens House Suicide Prevention provide their free counselling service to the people of West Cork.

Lisheens House was launched last October by Noreen Murphy. It is Noreen’s belief that a community based initiative funded and run by the people, for the people was the best way of offering such a valuable and much needed service in our community. Lisheens House could not do their job without the wonderful volunteers we are fortunate to have, donations and fundraising events.

Joe’s CD is €5 and with postage and package €6.50. The CD can be purchased at Hickeys Store in Bantry, Lisheens House Charity Shop in Skibbereen and via their website and via their Facebook page, just click on the DONATE button and complete your details.

The Real Harvest Supper

The Real Harvest Supper

Pic: Perry O'Donovan

Pic: Perry O’Donovan

by Carol Gilbert


IT’S an event that happens each October in Skibbereen. The celebration of bringing in the harvest in this rural community is marked on a Friday in October in Abbeystrewry Church of Ireland. The church community provide a Turkey Supper which is enjoyed by hundreds and often into double figures. Five hundred takeways are packed and carted off as soon as the side doors of the hall open at 5 pm.


For the rest of us there is a steady queue outside the front of the church hall as we line up in the hope of sitting in.  Inside the hall rows of tables are set up horizontally across the room from one end to the other.  Along the left hand wall of the room long thin trestle tables are weighed with mis-matched dishes each piled high with food.


There are heaps of home cooked turkey, hams, potato salad, coleslaw, a medley of vegetables, salads, pastas, cous cous, in fact a rainbow coloured display of different foods which are stacked on to proffered porcelain plates.   Some people’s plates are piled so high with food, one couldn’t imagine that any one being could possibly eat that much, but they can and they do!


We sit where we can fit in and amiably engage with others who are at a more advanced stage of their Turkey Supper.  The ladies of the Church weave in and out and around the tables, topping up plates of soda bread, scones and cakes, refilling cups of tea, jugs of milk and guiding the lonesome into the company of others.


When the heaped plates are devoured, it’s time for dessert.   There is every kind of home cooked dessert imaginable from trifles, jellies, cheesecakes, meringues, gateaux of all descriptions and the good news is that seconds are permitted, that is if you have room.  And most people do!


Tea and cake and chat, a glass of wine if you prefer and the evening has just begun.   The ticket price for the meal includes entrance to the dancing which will kick off around 10pm in the West Cork Hotel.  So perchance to dance away the night and dissolve the extra pounds consumed earlier.


Abbeystrewry Church of Ireland Turkey Supper is a fundraiser for the Church.  Church members, cook, make, bake, pack up the takeaways, prepare the tables and chairs for sit down, serve during the meal and do the wash up and clear afterwards.


The 2015 date is October 2nd.

St Fachtnas U12s fight back to draw in final

St Fachtnas U12s fight back to draw in final

St Fachtnas

St Fachtnas

St Fachtnas U12s played St Patricks in Ardfield in the U12 Autumn League Final recently, their first final as an amalgamated team.

Having beaten St Patricks in a previous match during the U12 League, St Fachtnas were taking nothing for granted & rightly so as they soon found that this St Patricks team was very different to the one previously encountered. Both teams fought hard during the first half and the half time whistle it was St Patricks who lead by three points with a score of 1-5 to St Fachtnas 1-2.

It was clear, in the second half, that St Patricks were determined not to repeat the previous loss to St Fachtnas and to maintain their lead by adding a goal and two points to their tally to bring their score to 2-7. Many thought, with just over 10 minutes left, that it was over for St Fachtnas, but not so.

With less than 10 minutes to go, St Fachtnas got their break and scored their second goal which was quickly followed by a third. The excitement from St Fachtnas supporters was electric and with three minutes left, St Fachtnas scored their third point to bring them within a point of St Patricks. It was now down to the wire as St Patricks battled to keep their lead. However, as the seconds ticked away in the final minute, the hurlers from St Fachtnas dug deep and came back to score another point to level the score in this U12 Hurling Final.

Result St Fachtnas 3-4: St Patricks 2-7.

Skibbereen & West Carbery Golf Club paints it pink to fight breast cancer

Skibbereen & West Carbery Golf Club paints it pink to fight breast cancer

pinkgolf_1000SKIBBEREEN & West Carbery Golf Club’s inaugural “Paint It Pink” Golf Charity Classic will take place on Saturday 3rd October sponsored by Rowa Pharmaceuticals in support of Action Breast Cancer.

Open to mixed teams of three players, either two men andone lady or two ladies and one man, the Rowa Pink Golf Charity Classic will encourage all golfers to think pink, all for a great cause. Entry is open to members and their guests or visitors for just €15 per person.

Wear pink and win best dressed prize courtesy of Sean Murray’s of Skibbereen who will also be supplying pink bras on the day! Skibbereen & West Carbery Golf Club’s P.R.O. Rhona O’Donoghue encourages players to have a little fun and paint it pink, “Pink hats, pink socks, pink pants, pink tops, pink bras, pink ribbons, paint your nails pink, anything goes! Why not pink up your golf bag, clubs and trolley?”

There will be fantastic prizes on offer and participants could also be in with a chance to win a night’s B&B and dinner at the beautiful Heights Hotel, Killarney. Privately owned and family run, The Heights Hotel Killarney is one of Killarney’s leading hotels, famed for its warm welcome and award-winning carvery.

There will also be a special Pink Ribbon golf cart available. Book it for €25 per round throughout October and the money raised will go directly to Action Breast Cancer.

Major cigarette seizure in Skibbereen

Major cigarette seizure in Skibbereen

REVENUE officers, with assistance from An Garda Síochana have seized 403,000 cigarettes in Skibbereen with a retail value of approximately €222,500.

Following an indication by Harvey, Revenue’s sniffer dog, approximately 42,000 unstamped “NZ Slim” cigarettes were seized at a commercial premises in Cork city by Revenue officers. The cigarettes were concealed inside several mannequins.

Following a controlled delivery, a further 403,000 NZ Slims and “Septs” cigarettes were seized in follow-up searches in Skibbereen. A UK registered van was also seized.

Two Polish males and one Lithuanian male, all in their 30s, were interviewed and files are being prepared for consideration.

These seizures are part of Revenue’s ongoing operations targeting the supply and sale of illegal cigarettes. If businesses or members of the public have any information regarding the smuggling or sale of illegal cigarettes or tobacco, they can contact Revenue in confidence on free phone number 1800 295 295.