The West Isn't Entirely Awake Yet - But It Can Be.

Originally Published on LinkedIn

I hit the road at 7am. Having a couple of days away from work after a big hiring push I decided that a road trip was in order. Despite living on the West Coast, I hadn't really spent time exploring some of the gems along the Northern end of the Wild Atlantic Way. I talked to friends and family, did a bit of research online, hashed out a last minute plan and set off!

The 3 day trip would take me along the Wild Atlantic Way from Down Patrick Head, up the coast to Strandhill, including the amazing Ben Bulben and Glencar Waterfall, continuing to the wild beauty of Donegal taking in Sliabh Liag, Glenveagh National Park and Ballymastocker Bay.

The trip itself was incredible. It really made me appreciate how stunning our little island on the Atlantic is despite the March weather! Travelling in March also gave me a really interesting look into towns and villages along the West coast outside of the holiday season. Which sparked a few thoughts around life, work and entrepreneurship which I'd love to share!

Life on the West

Everyone I talked to throughout my trip who was living locally had such passion and pride for their home it was inspiring. Towns like Killala, Easkey and Dungloe are all incredible places but outside of tourist season the best word I can use to describe them is sleepy. Many have to move away to build a career, some move away to experience life in a big city or in another country. I wonder how many would move back to raise a family later in life if the opportunity allowed them? How many would move because they fall in love with the West after visiting? The wildlife, the surfing, the spirit of the place. Imagine how powerful it would be to see these towns buzzing for 12 months of the year, not just 3.

Entrepreneurship on the West

Entrepreneurship was at the centre of every town and village I went through on my trip. From the local newsagents, artists, craftspeople and local pubs, no matter how quiet a town was the central hub of activity was based around a successful entrepreneur. That's where the energy was coming from. The heartbeat. The talents of local people are incredible, and it made me wonder how successful they would be if they cracked selling online. Lots of amazing Irish companies have cracked e-commerce (check out the Irish Fairy Door company success story here for example). Think of how much impact internationally successful Irish entrepreneurs could have on the West coast! The talent, creativity and passion is there, it's only a matter of time which is incredibly exciting.

Work on the West

There is an abundance of talent in the West coast. Our team at Shopify spans remotely across all of Ireland, however we do have a big cluster in our hub city of Galway, Clare, Sligo, Donegal and along the West coast. Not only have we found amazing people already living here, we have actually offered people the opportunity to move back home, raise a family and have a rewarding and fulfilling career without spending hours commuting every morning. Companies looking for a hub base can find talent and savings on physical spaces by setting up on the West coast. The broadband speeds have increased over the last few years. While still far from ideal in certain areas, this progress is definitely encouraging. The knock on benefits this could have for travel/work tourism for all of Ireland could be amazing. Perhaps this is another area the tourism sector could focus on? Another reason to prioritise getting that broadband rolled out nationwide!


Hopefully these thoughts have sparked some ideas for you. I cannot recommend a trip along the Wild Atlantic Way highly enough. From surfing and seaweed baths in Sligo to wild cliffs and hidden beaches in Donegal, this short trip was one I won't forget in a hurry.

The West of Ireland has long been a source of inspiration for poets, songwriters and craftspeople. They have had an impact on a global scale. That same creativity exists today. It is alive, even on sleepy March mornings.



  • There are no comments yet. Be the first one to post a comment on this article!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published