The National Enterprise Town Awards: Ballincollig

We are profiling all the towns to enter this year’s National Enterprise Town Awards. Today we are looking at Ballincollig in Cork.

Newly part of Cork City, Ballincollig is located 10kms from the heart of Ireland’s second biggest city. It is Cork’s largest and fastest growing town, seeing a rapid increase in population of 50pc in the past 20 years. It has a population of 18,621 people according to the 2016 census.

Ballincollig (Baile an Chollaig) translates from the Irish as “Coll’s town” after Robert Coll, an Anglo-Norman knight who owned the land in the fifteenth century. Originally, historians interpreted it as ‘Town of the Boar’ and indeed the boar has become the symbol of Ballincollig.

Ballincollig village came into being when a gunpowder works was set up on the banks of the River Lee in 1794. The village population grew rapidly as the gunpowder works expanded and an artillery barracks was established.

At the height of its success in the 1850s, the gunpowder works employed over 500 people but once the factory closed in 1903, the village shrank, and it became a satellite to Cork City. But from the 1970s onwards, the town has seen enormous growth with many houses built in the area.

Over the past 20 years, Ballincollig has worked very hard to build its own identity, ensuring it is recognised as a strong and important part of the Cork Metro region.

Ballincollig contributes significantly, both economically and socially, to the success and growth of Cork City. As well as a thriving centre for local enterprise and business, Ballincollig is home to multinational companies such as Dell EMC and VMWare, supported by Ballincollig Business Association.

The town embraced the challenge of developing itself successfully as a hub for business and prosperity without negatively impacting on its vibrant residential community. The Ballincollig Town Centre project bucked one of the dominant town development trends of the last decade of out-of-town developments, seen right across the country resulting in shoppers travelling out of the town centres.

The Ballincollig Town Centre has had a hugely positive impact on the area. It has succeeded in staying true to the heritage of the town’s former barracks while developing a contemporary mixed-use development of office space, modern shopping, retail and urban living.

Ballincollig is also home to Regional Park, a fantastic park and leisure facility, which has a cinema, a hotel and outstanding primary and secondary schools, one which produced this year’s BT Young Scientist of the Year.

Ballincollig has also embraced the challenge of the Cork City boundary change, which is due to come into effect in the very near future. Ballincollig Business Association engaged with all stakeholders at an early stage, ensuring the future vision for the town remains part of the agenda.

Written by Stephen Larkin

Published: 19 September, 2019