Waterford News

Dr Michael OSullivan and Prof Bernadette FlanaganThe growing interest in the study of spirituality across the world is one of the significant signs of our times. In line with this development an historic international conference on 'Spirituality in Society and the Professions' has been announced and will take place in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) on 16-18 May 2019.

The conference is a collaboration between the European Institute for Spirituality in Economics and Society (SPES), based in Budapest, and the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education (SpIRE) in Dublin.

The topic of the conference is related to the Routledge International Handbook of Spirituality in Society and the Professions edited by Laszlo Zsolnai and Bernadette Flanagan. This original book will be launched at the conference by Michael Comyn, RTE.

The conference has attracted speakers from the US, Australia, Hungary, Belgium, Spain, Rome, Norway, the Netherlands, the UK, and Ireland, some of whom are contributors to the book. It intends to show how professions have already, and can in the future, gain a good deal in insight and wisdom by embracing spirituality in their working models and practice. In this way they will be a form of spiritual capital for personal, social, and planetary wellbeing.

Dr Michael O'Sullivan and Prof Bernadette Flanagan, who are recognised international leaders in the field of spirituality studies in higher education, and lead the WIT MA in Applied Spirituality which takes place in Dublin, are delighted to be involved in the organising of this conference at WIT because it shows how a university level institute of Technology in the South East, an education and research Institute of Spirituality in Dublin, and a European Institute for Spirituality in Economics and Society based in Hungary can come together to serve the spiritual quest of people in society and the professions.

"This is the first time in this country that such a number of high level spirituality publications will be launched on the same day," said Dr O'Sullivan. "My hope is that an outcome of the conference and the book launches will be to attract more people to do the MA in Applied Spirituality, as well as to add to the graduates that Bernadette and I have worked with in recent years who have been publishing, presenting at conferences, and/or going on to do PhDs in spirituality".

There is evidence of the increasing recognition that spirituality is a dimension in almost every sphere and aspect of social life. The conference aims to discuss the most important issues, frameworks, and problems regarding spiritually-related activities in different fields of social life.

Chapters in the book behind the conference highlight that spirituality-based new approaches and models for the professions are being explored in different societal fields, including religion, psychology, philosophy, theology, ecology, agriculture, water, landscape and urban planning, tourism, medicine, psychological counseling, sociological work, nursing, sport, health, economics and business, management, leadership, politics, law, policing, science, architecture,technology and design, fashion, literature, visual arts, music, theatre, film, dancing, martial arts, media, and education.

"We are also delighted that at this conference some of our spirituality graduates will launch their books while others will present papers," added Prof Flanagan.

The Design Challenge Waterford winning entries exhibition opens on Tuesday, 2 April (6.30pm) in the Waterford Institute of Technology’s Granary campus in Waterford city and runs from to Monday, 8 April.

The exhibition is part of a Waterford Cultural Quarter Design challenge, which is a research, collaboration with WIT’s Creativity & Culture Research Group in the School of Humanities, main project partners Waterford City and County Council and Garter Lane Arts Centre, together with support from Local Enterprise Office, Institute of Designers in Ireland, Design and Craft Council of Ireland, Creative Ireland and local community groups and industries.

The exhibition includes a diverse range of exciting design proposals from sixteen students in year four of the BA (Hons) in Design (Visual Communications) and two year five of the BArch (Hons).

The design proposals address specific challenges encountered by the groups and individuals within the Waterford Cultural Quarter. These challenges were highlighted within the project's totally inclusive public consultation process.

This exhibition stage of the competition is open to public vote and national jury, with the winning design proposal then being implemented within the Cultural Quarter.

Katherine Collins, Waterford Cultural Quarter Project Manager said, “Waterford City and County Council worked in a collaborative partnership with WIT and Garter Lane Arts Centre to examine the opportunities and challenges faced by the Cultural Quarter community, with assistance from Creative Spirits, our URBACT (EU) programme. Through the work of the students and their mentors we can see how our creative city can be defined by citizenship, openness & tolerance, and how it can support innovation, initiative and activity. We look forward to bringing the winning design forward to fruition and commend our partners and the students on the high quality and professionalism of their approach to design led solutions”.

Máire Henry, Head of Department of Architecture, commented that ‘Cultural quarters serve a diverse range of people groups and activities. The projects presented by the two students of architecture are enterprise based and open to all. They are embedded in the fabric of the O’Connell street area and resonate with the history of the area whilst imaging a future which provides more permeability and connection with the Quay and adjoining areas. Both projects respond to their individual briefs but add an extra dimension by creating ‘free space’ for the general public to ‘linger’ and socialise’.

Design Lecturer Joy Rooney noted that ‘this research project has a design led approach. It addresses real challenges shaping the Cultural Quarter today, as voiced by the community there. Our rapidly urbanising world has brought a rich cultural diversity to this historic precinct. Looking to the future, many sustainability challenges will unfold for this maritime city. Innovative design proposals from our students are directly informed by feedback from the community and project mentors. The designs are exhibited for consideration, with the winning proposal emerging as a tangible, creative action for the community’.

Another design collaborator Dr Fiona Dowling feels that the Design Challenge in O’Connell Street presents many opportunities for the design students to experiment and consider the wider implications that design has for a city space. The multi-disciplinary approach with Visual Communication and Architecture working on a collective brief has been a first and one, which links with the over-arching aim of the project to create a collaborative environment. The outreach for WIT Design to link with local groups and partners in the Waterford’s Cultural Quarter has been one of support and mutual growth which will be built on going forward.

For more information on the Design Challenge project visit: www.designchallengewaterford.ie.

Purple Flag Hoot Parade 2019Ensuring a safe and secure night-time experience is essential for any city to prosper. The internationally recognised Purple Flag accreditation, which Waterford first received in 2015, is due to be re-assessed in early April and the stakeholders are putting every effort into delivering a positive outcome for the city.

According to Chair of the Waterford Purple Flag Working Group Eric O’Brien, “Having Purple Flag status it very important for Waterford as it recognises the commitment to a safe and secure night time experience. It recognises business and stakeholder group contributions towards making Waterford the best it can possibly be and is supporting the great progress that has been made already in Waterford.”

Purple Flag is a gold standard accreditation for evening and night time economy accredited by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) and looks at the wellbeing, movement, appeal and sense of place within a city centre, with successful locations able to demonstrate a variety of initiatives aimed at attracting visitors to the area during the evening and night. Within the Purple Flag zone you’ll find a diverse range of entertainment on offer in a well-managed and welcoming environment.

Waterford City will be reassessed by independent assessors from ATCM in early April and in preparation for the judges visit, the committees are actively carrying out inspections of areas and projects to ensure standards are met.

According to Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley, who is Co-ordinator of Purple Flag Waterford, “Our stakeholders are determined to retain the Purple Flag status for Waterford and are working towards a common goal of continually improving standards. We have a vibrant and varied night time economy here in Waterford and particularly as we head towards the tourist season, we need to make sure that our community and visitors can enjoy a great and safe night out.”  

Island of Ireland Peace Choir

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the Island of Ireland Peace Choir. A spark was lit in the Sport's Hall of St. Angela's Secondary School Waterford on Thursday 11th of March when students from the Peace and Justice Group gave a special peace award to Claire Gallagher, a then 15 year old student who was blinded by the bombing in Omagh the previous August. 

That night, students from the Folk Choir were joined by students in Claire's school, Loreto Omagh, for a recital of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'. A connection was made between 2 groups of people that would continue to this day.

Over the past 20 years, the choir have travelled far and wide, from Sri Lanka, to Messines to Auschwitz to Government Buildings Stormont to the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, carrying our message of hope through our music to places synonymous with suffering and persecution. Our distinctive sound reveals how discord and division can give way to something more unifying. On the first Friday of each month, the choir gather in the Edmund Rice Chapel, Waterford for our monthly Taize Vigil. 

We invite you to a short concert to mark our 20th Anniversary on Saturday, 30th March in the Garden Room, Waterford Treasures, The Mall, Waterford from 3.15pm to 4.30pm. We will be joined by members from all over the island of Ireland, past and present for a recital of some of the iconic songs that have shaped our message over the years. 

The Munster Regional Final for the 2019 Irish Restaurant Awards took place in the Strand Hotel, Limerick, last night where awards were presented to the country’s leading chefs, restaurants and pubs.

Over 550 people attended the third of four regional events on Wednesday evening, where the top establishments in each county were named.

The awards covered a wide range of venues and the winners from each of Munster’s six counties were selected from the following categories: Best Casual Dining, Best Emerging Irish Cuisine, Best Kids Size Me, Best ‘Free From’, Best World Cuisine, Best Restaurant Manager, Best Wine Experience, Pub of the Year, Best Café, Best Customer Service, Best Gastro Pub, Best Hotel & Guesthouse Restaurant, Best Newcomer, Best Chef and Best Restaurant. There was also a special Regional award for Munster’s Local Food Hero.

Speaking at the awards, Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) said: “Now in their 11th year, the Irish Restaurant Awards continue to showcase the incredible food that is on offer in the cafes, pubs and restaurants of Ireland, as well as recognising the teams behind these establishments and the hard work and dedication that they put in. With well over 90,000 nominations received from the public this year, the standard for the judging process was higher than ever.

Ireland may be a small country, but it boasts everything from fine dining to high quality gastropubs, from the comfort of traditional Irish food to exploring the world though exotic world cuisine, the Irish restaurant industry has much to offer. We have an appreciation for what we eat and where our food comes from, as well as the dedication of those working in the food industry”.

All of those who won in Waterford at county level will now compete for the Regional and All Ireland Titles, which will be announced at the Irish Restaurant Awards. These will be held in the Clayton Hotel, Dublin on Monday 13th May, 2019.

Best Restaurant – Sponsored by Tindal Wine Merchants

  • Waterford: The Tannery Restaurant

Best Chef – Sponsored by Nisbets

  • Waterford: Peter Everett of Everretts Restaurant

Best Newcomer

  • Waterford: Everett's Restaurant

Best Hotel and Guesthouse – Sponsored by AIB Merchant Services

  • Waterford: The House Restaurant at Cliff House Hotel

Best Restaurant Manager– Sponsored by BWG Food Service

  • Waterford: Kamila Bystrzonowska of Momo Restaurant

Best Customer Service – Sponsored by Lockton

  • Waterford: Momo Restaurant 

Best Café – Sponsored by Illy

  • Waterford: Coach House Coffee

Pub of the Year – Sponsored by Jameson Caskmates

  • Waterford: An Uisce Beatha

Best Wine Experience – Sponsored by Gilbeys with Bibendum

  • Waterford: La Boheme Restaurant & Winebar

Best Gastro Pub – Sponsored by Elavon

  • Waterford: Geoff's Cafe Bar

Best World Cuisine

  • Waterford: KYOTO

Best “Free From” – Sponsored by Peroni Nastro Azzurro Gluten Free

  • Waterford: GROW HQ

Best Kids Size Me

  • Waterford: No. 9 Café

Best Local Food Hero – Sponsored by Rewarding Times

  • Waterford: Colin Jephson of Ardkeen Quality Food Store

Best Local Food Hero, Munster – Sponsored by Rewarding Times:

  • Chad Byrne of Chef Collab

Best Emerging Irish Cuisine – Sponsored by Odaios

  • Waterford: Seagull Bakery

Best Casual Dining – Sponsored by Just Eat

  • Waterford: Bodega

The Chair of IOSH Ireland South Eastern District, cordially invites businesses to attend the following FREE evening event: Chemicals, OSH and Brexit Evening Seminar

Date: Thursday, 28th March 2019

Time: 7:00 PM – 8.30PM

Venue: Newpark Hotel, Castlecomer Road, Kilkenny


This seminar aims to inform Irish companies who use and supply chemicals of the possible implications of Brexit on their business.

The combined knowledge and experience of the speaker makes this seminar an opportunity not to be missed. The seminar is free of charge but space is limited, so please book to ensure your place.

Speaker: Dr. Michael Gillen

Michael is a Senior Executive with BioPharmaChem Ireland (BPCI) where he has responsibility for environment, health & safety. He is also the head of occupational health & safety (OHS) policy in IBEC.

Michael worked as a development chemist in the pharma-chemical industry before joining the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) as an inspector. He has worked with IBEC since February 2000.

He is Deputy Chairperson of the Board of the Health and Safety Authority in Ireland. He is Chairperson of the REACH taskforce of the European Fine Chemicals Group and he is also an employer representative on the European Commission’s Advisory Committee on Safety & Health.

What's in it for you?

Information and knowledge of the implications of Brexit as well as CPD and Networking opportunities.

Who should attend

Irish Companies and Individuals who use and supply chemicals.

This event will be of particular interest to business owners, safety managers, safety officers and people involved in the management of chemicals and chemical related activities in all sectors

What you need to know

This event is strictly limited to 40 people owing to facility constraints, so please register early to avoid disappointment by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Cill Barra Community Sports CentreCill Barra Community Sports Centre has achieved a phenomenal weight loss total during their eight-week Operation Transformation Challenge.

The Operation Transformation journey began in early January for over eighty participants. Those who signed up were given guidance from mindset expert Shane O’Sullivan of Inspiring Excellence, nutrition expert, local Dietician Brendan Cullinanne and fitness expert, David Phelan from the Cill Barra Community Sports Centre. The talks from the health panel focused on the importance of making small changes daily to help improve overall health and wellbeing.

The leaders and participants achieved a staggering 731.5lbs weight loss after exercising and eating well over the course of 8 weeks. Leader Pat Scahill has felt the benefits of the programme. “I’m looking and feeling better, my clothes size has gone down, and my belt is gone back a notch.” Caroline Sealy had her own thoughts on the programme. “Lovely people turned up every week to spur us on. As a result, new friendships were made.”

According to Sinead Brannigan, Cill Barra Community Centre Manager, the programme has been a massive success for the centre. “All the leaders and participants got their rewards for committing to the programme. Everyone involved from start to finish made new friends, learned new skills and made healthy changes along the way too. This programme has definitely brought people together and encouraged them to think a little more about introducing small healthy changes to their lifestyles.”

When the centre started the challenge, it set a collective weight loss goal of 1,000 lbs. Sinead spoke about that adventurous goal, “We reached a massive 731.5lbs – almost 333 bags of sugar. We know that we set ourselves a massive challenge, but we can honestly say that we have helped a very large group of people to make a change for the better. We can hold our heads up high and say that we have acted to make people more aware of the small steps that they can take to benefit their health and wellbeing.”

Sinead acknowledged the support of the business community, “Without doubt this programme would not have happened if it wasn’t for the support of local businesses that are passionate about supporting a healthier Waterford city. Ball Cooperation, Jack Molloy, Walsh’s Bakehouse, Mulligans Pharmacy, UPMC Whitfield, Waterford Area Partnership, and the Department of Sport and Exercise Science in Waterford Institute of Technology all got behind the initiative whole-heartedly and we’re very grateful for their invaluable support, advice and expertise.”

The Operation Transformation Challenge was part of the centre’s new “focus on fitness” initiative for 2019, which aims to get the local community fit and healthy, while having fun in a relaxed group setting.

New ‘Keep Fit’ sessions will replace the Operation Transformation programme starting Monday, March 25th at 6.45pm. This new session is suitable for beginners and people that finished the Operation Transformation programme. It includes a weekly weigh in and exercise session. It costs €20 for 4 weeks.  

Cill Barra Community Centre has also developed Over 55’s Workouts. These workouts are aimed at older adults looking to stay mobile and fit. Join them on Mondays at 9.30am for this session, tea and coffee included.

If you wish to find out more information about gym memberships or lunchtime fitness classes, call 051-350800 for more information or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

CAO open events pic

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is to open its doors on a Friday evening and Saturday morning this March to people interested in confirming CAO choices and exploring other education options including part-time and postgraduate courses, many with September start dates.

On Friday, 29 March (5.30pm-7.30pm) and Saturday, 30 March (9am-2pm) WIT’s main campus will be filled with information stands, demos, and full access to the main campus. A map of the campus, schedule of talks and booking details for ‘try’ events will be available at www.wit.ie/events.

Dr Derek O’Byrne, Registrar and Vice President for Academic Affairs at WIT emphasises the importance of visiting the campus for CAO applicants and their families to help confirm their choices.

“At WIT we have a ‘right student, right programme’ initiative. From open events to our popular ‘Try’ events for specific disciplines, and from our online and phone help lines we care about helping prospective students answer the question ‘is this really right for me?’ At this stage, many CAO applicants have a clear idea of what they want and visiting WIT during our Spring Open events will help intending students confirm that choice so they can settle into studying for the Leaving Cert without additional worry.”

“There is something for parents too; we compiled and published a ‘Parents’ guide to the CAO’ booklet to accompany the ‘Research your CAO options’ to help families navigate this difficult time. At our Spring Open events there is are talks specifically for parents,” he adds

The Department of Science is running two hour lab sessions in Biology and Pharmaceutical Science during the Saturday open day. On both Friday and Saturday the School of Business is hosting an information event for CAO applicants and prospective students interested in studying on the Bachelor of Business (Hons). WIT is also opening its computer labs for An Hour of Code during its Spring Open Events on Saturday, 30 March. Please see www.wit.ie/events for time, location and booking details.

The newly-launched postgraduate handbook will also be available – which will be of interest to CAO applicants thinking about their long-term educational goals and what they can progress onto at WIT after they finish their degree.

WIT doesn’t just offer courses for students, it has courses in leadership, management and further education teaching for professionals in a range of education roles from would-be principals to people would like to work in adult education organisations.

Across its postgraduate and part-time offering there are a range of courses that are designed to meet the needs of busy, working professionals who want to attain further skills or qualifications.

Dr Helen Murphy, Head of the School of Lifelong Learning and Education explains that “The move toward flexible and blended learning facilitates adult learners who often have to juggle work, personal and study responsibilities.”

Mature students have until 1 May to apply to WIT through the CAO and the open events are also a good chance for adults considering a return to education to discover their options ahead of the taster day for mature students being run on Wednesday 17 April 2019 which can be booked at www.wit.ie/mature

Waterford Chambers Ard Scoil na nDeise

CEOs of both Waterford and Dungarvan / West Waterford Chambers have pledged their support for Ard Scoil na nDeise students, Caoimhe Keane and Lauren Douris, winners of the Waterford Final of the School Enterprise. Hidden Access is a portable access ramp for wheel chair users and the infirm. It is an original design and recently patented by these enterprising students.

Perfect for a business with elevated access to its premises, the Chamber CEOs believe this locally designed and made product is an opportunity for their members to support local business and increase their customer service to all members of the public.

Caoimhe Keane and Lauren Douris from Hidden Access took part in the Local Enterprise Office’s Student Enterprise Programme 2018/19.

LEO Craft Workshop

A jam-packed week of workshops, talks and seminars came to a close as Local Enterprise Week concluded on International Women’s Day.

Organised each year by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices across the country, the Waterford LEO provided an insightful and informative programme for businesses at all stages.

According to Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise at Waterford LEO, Local Enterprise Week is a cornerstone event in the LEO’s annual programme.

“With almost twenty events taking place throughout the city and county we were delighted with the attendance and the calibre of speakers throughout the week. It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet with clients and potential clients who have started or may be thinking of starting a business. The energy from the attendees was palpable and we would like to think that the information and advice they received during the week will give them the encouragement and drive to go on and realise the next step in their start-up journey.”

From business advice clinics to sales pitch workshops and trading online seminars, all the events were fully attended with lively attendee engagement.

The inaugural event of Local Enterprise Week was an Owner-Manager Development information and recruitment workshop. The workshop gave owners and managers, planning the next stage of their business the chance to learn about the upcoming Owner Manager Development Programme. Delivered by Blaise Brosnan, a practical top management specialist the programme consists of 15 modules which combine management theory, powerful peer learning, networking and action learning approaches.

“We were delighted that ten local businesses signed up for the nine-month programme, following the recruitment workshop. To date this programme has assisted hundreds of Owner-Managers across Ireland to significantly improve their businesses, by helping those companies to get stabilised, ready for growth and increase competitiveness.”

Seanie Walsh, a 25-year-old social media strategist and disruptor brought his energetic “The E-Commerce Maze” workshop to Dooley’s Hotel. Entrepreneurs were given a masterclass in unearthing the social media landscape and adopting techniques and strategies to help their businesses grow.

A Wholesale and Retail Strategy for Craft Workshop was a new addition to Waterford’s Local Enterprise Week programme. Delivered by Eddie Shanahan, a renowned fashion and craft retail consultant, this workshop proved hugely popular as attendees were given useful advice and tips to develop effective sales strategies within the craft industry.

Richie Walsh added, “As we look back on Local Enterprise Week we are always heartened by the drive and determination displayed by Waterford’s business community. Quietly and diligently, there are hundreds of start-ups and established businesses working day in and day out to grow their client base, create jobs and develop new export markets.”

“In 2018 100 jobs were created by Local Enterprise Office Waterford supported companies, an increase of 7% since 2017. We are, each day, inspired working with entrepreneurs and business that have the vision to create new opportunities and the determination to “Make It Happen.”

If your business in pre-start, start-up or established business phase and would like to find out more about what business support services are available visit www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford/

WIT Research Sparks 2019The first South East Research Sparks, a joint initiative between Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow, took place at Institute of Technology Carlow on Tuesday March 12th 2019.

Funded under the cross-institutional collaborative projects fund, South East Research Sparks provided an opportunity for research-active staff across both institutes to present to colleagues on research they have conducted to date, as well as outlining future directions they intend to pursue in line with their organisation’s research strategy. The aim of South East Research Sparks is to build research centred collaborative networks between Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow by highlighting the research personnel, techniques, skill sets and technologies present within both Institutes. The initiative succeeded in providing a wonderful opportunity across both institutes to share work and ignite collaboration potential as well as building regional research capacity and excellence.

South East Research Sparks was spear-headed by Dr Aisling O’Neill and Dr David Scanlon from Waterford Institute of Technology and Sarah O’Brien from Institute of Technology Carlow.

“South East Research Sparks provided opportunities for networking, the exchange of ideas and future collaborations between researchers, research centres and institutes, driving the research culture forward to enhance and achieve researcher goals, and creating a platform to drive sustainable local and regional economic development”, commented Sarah O’Brien, Institute of Technology Carlow.

Dr Aisling O’Neill, Waterford Institute of Technology, echoed Sarah O’Brien’s sentiments asserting that “South East Research Sparks is a brilliant initiative to foster collaboration between researchers in the two Institutes of Technology which will form the Technological University of the South East. By embracing our collective capacity, we have the potential to exponentially increase the impact of our research and innovation capability, which is key to driving the economic development of our region.”

The morning session saw the researchers present their work in brief five-minute presentations so brevity was key.

The presentations offered an insight into the range of expertise and research being undertaken across both institutes, including biotechnology, smart agriculture, user centred design, education and much more. The afternoon featured an interactive workshop focusing on addressing the gender dimension in research and research funding applications. Attendees also had plenty of time for discussion and networking over coffee and lunch.

A second South East Research Sparks event will take place at Waterford Institute of Technology at a future date.


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