At .IE, our purpose is to enable and empower people, communities and businesses across Ireland to thrive online. We contribute to the development of digital capability through our .IE Digital Town programme.
The programme promotes awareness, knowledge, use and understanding of the internet in Ireland by its citizens, businesses and communities. It also highlights the benefits and possibilities of the internet and celebrates the digital achievements of a local town.
In 2019, the chosen Digital Town was Sligo and in 2018 it was Gorey, Co Wexford, where we worked with town leaders to organise a series of digital events.
2020 has been a difficult year, and given the limitations imposed by Covid-19, the programme was paused. However, we are planning a revamped programme for 2021 which will deliver an exciting new format. This will launch in Q1 2021. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Digital Town 2019
Sligo was chosen as Digital Town for 2019.
During the months August, September and October 2019, .IE worked closely with many groups in Sligo including the County Council, Local Enterprise Office, Chamber of Commerce, Business Improvement District (BID), South Sligo Smart Community and IT Sligo. Over this period there were eight digital events focused around businesses, citizens, community groups and school children in Sligo.
Events that took place:
Micro:bits – a workshop that introduced 9 to 14-year-olds to coding the Micro:bit using Microsoft MakeCode.
Breakfast Bytes – this was a digital storytelling event for business owners. Many thanks to our panellists for the event, who gave very useful insights on how to go about bringing your business online and for sharing their experiences from their own digital journey.
Dine and Shine – this event was a digital storytelling event for business owners. Many thanks to everyone who made it to the Dine & Shine event in Tubbercurry on the 17th of September, especially to our panellists who shared their experiences of bringing their businesses online.
Website Healthchecks – five companies were selected by the Sligo LEO and the Sligo Chamber of Commerce to undergo a detailed website healthcheck and receive a report on suggested improvements.
Digital Tools to save time and money in your business – this was a lunchtime event where demonstrations of digital tools which are low cost and will help improve business efficiency took place. A huge thanks to all of our demonstrators for taking part and to Master of Ceremonies, Jess Kelly of Newstalk.
There is further information on each event below.
The Digital Town Closing Ceremony was held on 14 October 2019 in the Model Gallery, Sligo. This special ceremony was the final event in our programme celebrating Sligo as Ireland’s Digital Town 2019.
Many thanks to our Master of Ceremonies, Bobby Kerr of Newstalk, our special keynote from Phil Prentice (Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership) and to our panel of speakers. This panel consisted of industry leaders in Sligo. This ultimately brought together business, education, tech and community all into one place to address the theme: ‘Building the Western Powerhouse – digitising Sligo to accelerate growth and development’.
Panellists for the Closing Ceremony:
- Conor McCarthy – President, Sligo Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- David Kenny – Chair, Tech North West & VP of Software Development, Overstock
- Ciarán Hayes – CEO Sligo County Council
- Brendan McCormack – President, IT Sligo
- Oonagh McCutcheon – Corporate Communications Manager, .IE
Breakfast Bytes, 10 September 2019, The Glasshouse Hotel, Sligo.
Our Breakfast Bytes event took place on the 10th of September in The Glasshouse in Sligo. This was an exclusive, digital storytelling and learning event, which was moderated by Claire Ronan of Ocean FM. A huge thanks to our panellists for the event, who gave very useful insights on how to go about bringing your business online and for sharing their experiences from their own digital journey.
Check out what our panellists had to say at the Breakfast Bytes event.
Panellists for Breakfast Bytes:
Jean McCabe, of Willow Boutique, Ennis, Co. Clare.
Rebecca Harrison of Fishers of Newtownmountkennedy, Co. Wicklow.
Michael Feehily, Feehily’s Florist, Co. Sligo.
Deirdre McGettrick of ufurnish, London, United Kingdom.
Cleo Devaney, Homeland, Co. Sligo.
Dine & Shine, 17 September 2019, An Chroi, South Sligo Enterprise Centre, Tubbercurry, Sligo.
Our Dine & Shine event took place on the 17th of September in An Chroi, South Sligo Enterprise Centre, Tubbercurry, Sligo. This was an exclusive, digital storytelling and learning event, which was moderated by Claire Ronan of Ocean FM.
Dine & Shine
Check out some highlights from our Dine & Shine event.
Panellists for Dine & Shine:
Gerry Rafter, Tool & Gauge, Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo.
Emer Taheny, Appliances Delivered, Citywest, Dublin.
Martin McElhinney of McElhinneys, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal.
Maeve McCormack, Carraig Donn, Westport, Co. Mayo.
Digital Tools to save time and money in your business, 25 September 2019, The Chamber, Town Hall, Sligo.
This lunchtime event featured demonstrations of digital tools which will help improve business efficiency and productivity. The event took place in the Town Hall on Wednesday 25 September. Many thanks to all of our demonstrators for taking part and to our Master of Ceremonies, Jess Kelly, Technology Correspondent at Newstalk.
Digital Tools to save time and money in your business
The tools demonstrated were:
- Canva demonstrated by Dmac Media.
- Doodle Poll demonstrated by Dmac Media.
- DropBox demonstrated by Victor Leonard, OSD Digital Agency.
- Filud.com demonstrated by Mario Gheghici, Filud.com.
- Google my Business demonstrated by Danielle Doran, FCR Media.
- Hootsuite demonstrated by Rakky Curvelo, Matrix Internet.
- Pixlr demonstrated by Darren Mahon, Ocean FM.
- Slack demonstrated Conn Ó Muíneacháin, Blacknight Internet Solutions.
Each demonstration took approximately 15 mins so attendees could move around and review a range of useful digital tools to help develop their online presence or simply run their business more productively. The event was also a great networking opportunity with many business owners taking the opportunity to discuss and share ideas.
Website Healthchecks, 25 September 2019, Mayor's Parlour, Town Hall, Sligo.
This event was an opportunity for a Sligo-based, small business to get an expert website healthcheck. The healthchecks provided the companies with a report and recommendations for improvements. The five companies that took part in these website healthchecks were chosen by the LEO and the Chamber.
These website healthchecks were provided at no charge by .IE, host of Digital Town 2019.
Website Healthchecks – Mayor’s Parlour, Town Hall, Sligo
Hear from our participants who took part in the website healthchecks in the Mayor’s Parlour, Town Hall, Sligo.
Videos of previous OPTIMISE participants
Christina Sanne, creator of Red Rufus, speaking about her journey and her experience in taking part in the OPTIMISE Programme.
Liadain Aiken, owner of Liadain Aiken Knitwear, talks about the OPTIMISE website healthcheck.
Traffic Light Report
Above is the Traffic Light Report, this is a major component within the healthcheck. Companies are graded within each of these five areas: branding & design, UX(user experience) usability, e-commerce & coding, SEO and content.
IT Sligo plays a vital role in the life of Sligo town, not only as an educational centre but very importantly, as a powerhouse of research and innovation. The college works very closely with town leaders on matters affecting the town and surrounding region. In particular, a joint vision on the ambition to make Sligo a smart city. It is a world leader in autonomous vehicle education and online learning.
Check out this video which showcases some of the advanced tech activities that are taking place in IT Sligo.
Microbits, 13 - 16 August 2019, Sligo Central Library.
The first Digital Town event was a workshop for school children. Seven children were taught Micro:bit by course leader Stuart Lawn. The Micro:bit is an educational microcontroller created by the BBC in conjunction with Microsoft, ARM, and Samsung. It can be easily programmed and has a host of exciting features that will be explored. The workshop introduced 9 to 14-year-olds to coding the Micro:bit using Microsoft Makecode. The mission was to get excited about creating, rather than consuming, using electronic devices.
Check out some highlights of the Micro:bits workshop which took place in Sligo Library, 13 – 16 August 2019.
Digital Skills for Citizens was a coffee morning that took place in the Glasshouse on the 24th of September 2019. This was a free event for citizens to come along for tea and coffee and also get free internet training. It also gave people the chance to talk to each other and share their problems with getting online/being online and ultimately overcoming those issues.
See the highlights from our Community event Digital Skills for Citizens which took place in the Glasshouse in Sligo.
Previous .IE Digital Town events
In 2018, Gorey, Co. Wexford was selected as Ireland’s first ‘Digital Town’. Full details of the event can here.
Previous Internet Days
Ireland’s second Internet Day, put the spotlight on the benefits of e-commerce and how SMEs can overcome various challenges. Read more about the day and view the keynote speech from Emma Sinclair, MBE, co-founder of EnterpriseJungle. Check out the videos from the day.
Internet Day featured a free public exhibition, The History and Future of the Internet in Ireland, and two morning discussion panels on e-commerce and the internet in 2030, with participants from Google, Dogpatch Labs and Irish start-ups Pointy and Sedicii. Futurologist Rudy de Waele addressed attendees on emerging trends in internet technology and how they’ll affect society in the decades to come.