The National Enterprise Town Awards: Gorey

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

Gorey is a thriving market town in north Wexford, with a population of approximately 10,000. The town is a popular retail centre, known for its many independent fashion boutiques, complemented by a burgeoning cafe and restaurant scene.

Gorey is a one-hour drive from the southern outskirts of Dublin, connected to the capital via the N11/M11. As a commuter town, there has been an increase in population in the early 21st century. Between 1996 and 2002 the population rose by 44% in the town and by 23% in the surrounding district.

The first settlers arrived in North Wexford around 4000 B.C. This period is known as the Stone Age and was characterised by the use of stone implements and the construction of large stone monuments (megaliths). A possible megalithic tomb is recorded at Annagh Long, north of Gorey. The early inhabitants would have lived by hunting and fishing and most likely travelled inland from the coast up along river valleys such as the Bann.

The town has an active business community with a singular culture of cooperation and collaboration. Gorey forms part of a tourism cluster which is based around the coastal resorts of Courtown, Ballymoney and Morriscastle.

Gorey was selected as Ireland’s first ever digital town by the IEDR, for its achievements in cultivating a truly digital environment in the town and for its ongoing successes in fully embracing digital for its residents and for local business.

The Hatch Lab is a new tech incubator located a short stroll from Gorey town centre in the M11 Business Campus. Powered by Bank of Ireland in collaboration with Wexford County Council, the Hatch Lab is designed specifically for technology companies, supporting business concepts, start-ups and remote workers.

The Educate to Innovate fund set-up by technology company Innovate, based in the Hatch Lab, has assisted in setting up a unique IT Hub in Gorey Community School, modelled on Microsoft’s Dreamspace in Sandyford.

Both the Hatch Lab and Gorey Library host regular meetings, seminars and guest lecturers throughout the year. Bank of Ireland are very active in the business community, hosting business breakfasts and lectures in the Hatch Lab.

The Gorey Visitor Centre was opened by the Gorey Chamber in January 2018, with the support of Wexford County Council. The multipurpose centre functions as a Failte Ireland Tourist Office, a ticket office for local events, a gallery for 32 local artists and designers and a venue for book launches and other artistic events. Operated by a team of dedicated volunteers, the centre had a turnover in excess of €50,000 which helped meet its overheads and break even. Combining the tourist office with a gallery that sells local arts and crafts has provided the visitor centre with a dependable source of income, which will grow as awareness and footfall continues to increase.

Written by Stephen Larkin

Published: 20 September, 2019