The National Enterprise Town Awards: Oranmore

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

Oranmore is a village 8km east of Galway City, now bypassed by the Dublin to Galway motorway. The village itself has a population of 4760 in the Oranmore ED and in the most recent local elections the area has been split between two electoral areas.

The first written record of Oranmore is in the Annals of the Four Masters. It was originally called Fuarán Mór which translates from Irish as Great Spring, with the name deriving from a spring to the northwest of the main village.

The village saw massive residential growth during the Celtic Tiger and became a commuter/almost suburb of Galway City. Currently there are more than 1500 people who leave the area to work in Galway city daily.

There is a huge sense of community in the village and hinterland, with 25pc of the Oranmore population being made up of non-Irish origin. However, the locals are very welcoming to the new residents and a lot of new groups have developed as a result. In the last two years, the Oranmore Arts Festival was pioneered by an all new committee who have successfully engaged with the community and businesses and ran the festival voluntarily, themed on ‘Meitheal’.

Bridge That Gap is a local social enterprise which supports new job development and tourism in the area, bringing together the local area with Maree and Clarinbridge. Working in collaboration with Oranmore Business Network it has assisted in a number of initiatives and provided guest talks as well as an active noticeboard on Facebook for local businesses and community activities.

There is a 43-hectare IDA park on the edge of the village zone, which has been lying idle for the last 12 years, but efforts are now being made in collaboration with local business groups and the IDA to attract businesses to the area. Zimmer Biomet moved into Oranmore Industrial estate adjacent to the IDA park three years ago and now employs more than 150 people.

The local Oranmore Community Development Association produce a monthly magazine called More News which helps engage with the community and creates awareness of local activities, events and businesses. Oranmore Tidy Towns are making efforts to increase biodiversity and awareness of the environment. They have developed a colour scheme for the derelict buildings in the village as well as timber planters and timber benches around the village.

The village also has one of the highest populations per capita of third level qualified in the country. In recent years, a very strong Men’s Shed has developed which has had a positive impact on the local community.

Written by Stephen Larkin

Image: Twitter @Gawaytourism

Published: 4 October, 2019