Bank of Ireland Enterprising Town Awards
A Big Win for Docklands
Docklands won the Bank of Ireland Enterprising Town Awards last November in both the region and the City category. The Docklands Business Forum (DBF) partnered with Dublin City Council in making the presentation to the judges in September and suggested we showcase the wide variety of entrepreneurial activity in the area. In 2017 Docklands produced 9% of Ireland GDP and the DBF felt it is important to use every opportunity to tell the story of the country’s most successful unban regeneration.
The presentation to the judges begin in the CHQ building with a round table discussion in DogPatch Labs. There the judges met local entrepreneurs from both large and small businesses and startups giving them an opportunity to see the remarkable refurbishment and reuse of CHQ and question some local business leaders on what it is that makes Docklands tick.
From CHQ the judges were taken on a tour of Docklands meeting local leaders and visiting local businesses. They first met Emma Loughran, facility manager at Spenser Dock, to have an opportunity to see the new residential side of the area. Then it was to meet Gina Quin, President at the National College of Ireland, then on to visit the new Central Bank of Ireland on North Wall Quay followed by coffee given by Larry Crowe on the MV Cill Airne majestically moored on the Liffey. Then on to a quick tour of the Convention Centre Dublin presented by CEO Stephen Meehan to give the judgmental guests an insight into business tourism in the area. Across the road next to meet Larry Crowe owner of the MV Cill Airne and have a coffee while floating on the River Liffey.
From there across the Samuel Beckett to the southside where they met Kevin McGillycuddy (investor) and Charlie Sheil (MD) at the rooftop of The Marker Hotel where they were told the hotel’s story from near derelict site to world class hospitality venue with Irish art in every room. Across Grand Canal Square next to meet Gareth Dargle the new manager at the local Bank of Ireland branch. Owen Doorly from Il Valentino met them next showing off his little piece of Italian culinary art at the corner of Gallery Quay and Pearse Street. Eamonn Farrell from the National Performing Arts School met them there to give the three tired footed inspectors an insight into what will be a new state of the art dance and performance school at the new Boland Mill.
No visit to Dockland would be complete without a trip on a canal barge and Mícheál Ó Cionna kindly obliged with a trip on the Grand Canal Basin in the Cadhla his restaurant and party barge. While the visiting judiciary munched through lunch provided by Owen at Il Valentino they were given a presentation on the potential for Docklands to become an international yachting hub at the Grand Canal Basin and eastern end of the River Liffey by Alan Robinson CEO at the Docklands Business Forum.
Unfortunately we did not have time to include the scheduled visit of the new Observatory Development on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay to be given by Hibernia REIT or meet with Michael Ingle from the Grand Canal Dock Residents Association. We were very confident when the judges departed that we had left them in no doubt about the remarkable success of enterprise in the area not only for creating jobs and wealth but also a real sense of community.