Waterford News

Winterval Santa ChildrenWaterford city will get a sprinkling of Christmas magic as Winterval presents a brand-new interactive Wizards and Dragons exhibition for its 2019 festival. Featuring animatronic dragons, Winterval, Ireland’s largest Christmas festival, will be the first location in Ireland to host the Wizards + Dragons exhibition. Attracting over 500,000 visitors each year, the programme for Ireland’s Christmas Capital will also see Santa’s Grotto returning to the enchanting 750-year-old Choristers Hall and Undercroft, located at Waterford’s Medieval Museum.

The announcements come as the eighth annual Winterval festival launches its jam-packed programme of over 60 free and ticketed events, running from 23 November to 23 December. For more details see www.winterval.ie.

This year’s magical festival kicks off on 23 November at 4.15pm, with Santa and the Mayor of Waterford City & County Council Cllr. John Pratt turning on the city’s Christmas lights at 5pm. WLR will broadcast the event live with music provided by Brass & Co at John Roberts Square.

On the announcement of this year’s action-packed programme, Festival Director Tommie Ryan said: “Christmas is all about magic, and what is more magical than mythical creatures and some wonderful wizardry. Wizards + Dragons, running from 29 November to 5 January at Waterford City Hall, The Mall will give visitors of all ages the chance to immerse themselves in another world, building an awareness of mythology and culture, and harnessing the power of imagination.

“We are also delighted to see Santa, Mrs Claus and the elves return to Choristers Hall, for what will be another magical experience. We always want to ensure all children can enjoy a visit to Santa and so, have created a dedicated autism friendly and sensory evening on Thursday, 12 December. This will see the Grotto specially adapted to create a calm and relaxing environment, providing a stress-free evening for all guests.” 

Further highlights include a never-before-seen free festive wonderland by Ireland’s renowned street theatre company, Spraoi. Spraoi na Nollag will be held during Winterval at Constitution Square. Further new events include a free Outdoor Cinema at The Applemarket, with The Polar Express on Saturdays and It’s A Wonderful Life on Sundays. There will also be a Star Flyer at the Tower Hotel for the first time.

Winterval On Ice, the 600sqm ice rink of real ice will be located at the new location of Bolton Street Car Park, while visitors can journey through the heart of Winterval on the Winterval Express Train and Horse Drawn Sleigh. The iconic big wheel, Waterford Eye, is at Merchants Quay and a brand-new 3D music and lights show for Winterval Illuminates takes place at Cathedral Square. There will also be Winterval Christmas Markets and pop-up shops at Arundel and Cathedral Squares, along with the Garter Lane Christmas Craft Fair at Garter Lane Arts Centre.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, Winterval welcomes the Exploration Dome at Bolton Street Car Park, a fun and educational mobile planetarium with a brand-new show. Santa’s Giant Post Box is at The Applemarket, with special shows on Saturdays and Sundays during Winterval from Waterford Academy of Music & Art.

Favourite fairground rides return for 2019 with the Helter Skelter at Constitution Square, while the Vintage Ferris Wheel will be located at Arundel Square; the Golden Gallopers Antique Carousel at John Roberts Square, and for little visitors, the Mini Carousel at The Mall. A Circus Exhibition, full of miniature replicas of these Winterval favourite attractions, will be on display at George’s Court Shopping Centre.

For music lovers, Declan O’Rourke takes to the stage for a special evening at Theatre Royal, 23 December. The House of Waterford Crystal and Project Music presents Christmas Music Soirées with four jazz and classical concerts — jazz quartet Rough Edges (28 November); concert pianist, Peter Regan (5 December), soprano Valerie Leahy and pianist, Marian Ingoldsby (12 December) and soprano Orla Forristal (19 December).

Winterval 2019 also champions charitable events, with the Rotary Club Memorial Christmas Tree, in support of Waterford Hospice, at John Roberts Square. The Cartamundi Giving Tree at Georges Court Shopping Centre will donate a toy to St Vincent de Paul for every decoration made, while Christmas Busk Aid takes place in various locations across Waterford city, donating all proceeds to Tinteán Housing Association to help raise awareness of homelessness.

Tommie added: “Through the support of Waterford City & County Council, along with our sponsors, stakeholders, local businesses, volunteers and the general public, Winterval is made possible. We invite everyone to come to Waterford city during the festival and experience a truly magical winter wonderland.”

For full details, visit www.winterval.ie or see:

Facebook: @WintervalWaterford

Twitter: @Winterval_WAT

Instagram: @winterval_waterford

WIT main campusResearchers at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) have secured funding of almost €300,000 to lead a two year pan-European research project ‘Student Stress Training e-Mobile Management (SSTeMM)’.

Research over the last five years and recent news reports have highlighted that there is a rise in problems of mental wellbeing amongst people attending college, and the most marked increase in the rise in work stress is in the age group 18 to 25. In Ireland, the Government’s recent announcement in the Budget 2020 to fund work in the area of student health and well being reinforces the concerns for this group of young people.

The SSTeMM project aims to develop an end-user accessible digital mobile platform providing work based education, competency training and practice based stress management support tailored to the immediate needs of student nurses whilst they are in their clinical placement.

It is anticipated that a minimum of 200 student nurses, as well as their internship mentors, will participate in this project across Ireland, Spain, Slovenia and Kosovo.

Speaking at the recent project launch meeting, Project Co-ordinator, Professor John Wells, Head of the School of Health Science at WIT said “Mental distress amongst college students has considerably increased over the last 20 years or so. We also know that work-based stress is a major public health problem across Europe and that  the health care sector is one of the most significantly stressful employment environments. Student nurses have to attend college based and work in the health care environment to complete their nurse education. They are therefore subject to both college and work based stress at the same time during their education. The purpose of SSTeMM is to examine this potential double whammy faced by student nurses and develop supports for them to manage stress when it arises.”

SSTeMM will support student nurses to develop personal resilience to enhance their work engagement experience. It will equip these student nurses and the clinical staff who support them when on placement with stress management skills and competencies that will develop and support their personal wellbeing whilst in training and once they have qualified.

The School of Health Science, in collaboration with the Telecommunications Software Systems Group (TSSG) and the School of Humanities, at WIT is partnering UPMC Whitfield Hospital in Waterford; the University of Maribor Faculty of Health Sciences (UM FHS) in Slovenia; the School of Health Sciences Tecnocampus affiliated center, University Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, Spain; IBK Management Solutions in Wiesbaden, Germany and the University for Business and Technology in Kosovo. SSTeMM is funded by Erasmus Plus - Strategic Partnership for Higher Education - through the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in Ireland - to the value of €297,000.

The School of Health Science at WIT has a significant expertise in the field of work related stress in the health care sector having already led two major EU funded projects focused on the issue. This expertise considerably informs the current project. It is anticipated that SSTeMM’s impact will extend beyond student nurses, providing lessons on student stress management and support for a range of disciplines where work placement forms a significant part of the curriculum.

Congratulating the team on their success, Dr Mark White, Vice President for Research, Innovation & Graduate Studies at WIT said “this Erasmus Plus project is another great example of how researchers at WIT are at the forefront of significant projects that seek serious solutions to important social challenges and as a result have considerable societal impact.”

Amplitude 2019 LaunchENTREPRENEURS and businesses of all sizes involved in the Precision Agriculture, Future Health, Smart Energy as well as the Manufacturing, Engineering and Design sectors right across the south east will come together early next month for an unmissable event which outlines the expert and financial supports available to bring their businesses to the next level.

Attendees gathered for the Amplitude www.amplitude.ie conference at five star Lyrath Estate Hotel in Kilkenny on Wednesday, November 6, will discover how to approach a research centre and foster a successful, collaborative R&D relationship. A key group of academic experts will also outline how enterprises can access funding from National and EU sources and offer advice on how to submit a winning proposal.

The annual event is led by the Technology Transfer Offices of Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow with the support of EI Technology Gateways and Research Centres. And all the big names in business, in research and in supports from the region will be on hand 

Leading figures from Enterprise Ireland and the IDA, Knowledge Transfer Ireland and the Department of Health will all address the day-long, unmissable Amplitude event which features great speakers, engaging workshops and an unmissable opportunity to network and make new connections.

Among the invited guest speakers are experts from UPMC International and Smart Agri Hubs Ireland, as well as Horizon 2020, VHI, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the National Development Research Centre (NDRC) and more.

This year, Amplitude is supported by Purdy Lucey and Kilkenny County Council and offers a unique opportunity for companies, particularly multi-nationals and SME’s, to understand how relatively easy it is to collaborate with an Institute of Technology (IOT) partner in the areas of research, innovation support and the sourcing suitable funding streams, according to Mark White, Vice-President for Research & Innovation at WIT.

“This year, the conference will focus on four key streams; Design/Manufacturing/Engineering, Smart Energy, Future Health and Precision Agri. Each stream will outline the ecosystem, the current state of the art and the opportunities as we endeavour to offer delegates a real insight into the impact research will have on their business.”

Amplitude is a must for business people who want a more direct route to research and funding, according to IT Carlow’s Vice President for Development & Research, Declan Doyle.

“Companies will discover how to approach a research centre and foster a successful collaborative relationship from academic and industry experts with a goal of boosting their company’s research and development capabilities in this uncertain international business environment,” he concluded.

For more, log on to www.Amplitude.ie

LEO Competitive Fund Oct2019Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD announced the results of the new €2.5 million Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Competitive Fund. Sixteen projects have received funding. Among those receiving funding were three projects from the South East region which will be delivered as collaborations among the Local Enterprise Offices from Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford and who received €345,000 towards same.

The successful projects were Green for Micro, Initium South East and Incrementum South East. The Green for Micro project aims to support enterprises incorporate sustainable practices to assist them in transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy focused on water, energy, waste, procurement. The Initium South East project is an innovative series of start-up programmes led by the South East LEOs, Enterprise Ireland, and the Ireland South East Office in partnership with the South East Business Innovation Centre and IT Carlow which aims to animate, develop and support the creation of 40 new specialised Start Up companies in the South East. The Incrementum South East project is a targeted business development programme for the LEO Portfolio of clients over 10 employees which aims to increase their engagement in R&D and Export Activity.

Announcing the successful applicants at a special event in the Council Chamber of Monaghan County Council, Minister Humphreys said: “The successful applicants demonstrated a real intent to collaborate, not only with neighbouring County LEOs but also with other stakeholders such as ITs, Innovation Centres, Local Authorities and others. So, while sixteen of the LEOs will lead on the projects, the vast majority of the LEOs throughout the country will also be part of these projects through collaboration.”

“There is a wonderful array of projects in the winning sixteen and they are spread right across the country.  I am particularly pleased to see projects in areas like digital technologies; green and environmental activities; e-commerce; and e-hubs and remote working. This is proof that our LEOs are looking to the future, and tackling the challenges of tomorrow, today.”

The successful applications were selected through a rigorous evaluation process based on criteria, which included economic impacts and value for money, collaboration and participation, Future Jobs orientation, collaboration and building regional strengths and viability and sustainability.  

Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Waterford, said; “This announcement by Minister Humphreys is a great boost to Local Enterprise Offices in the South East Region. These projects will address a number of issues in the region, whether it’s moving businesses towards a low carbon economy, boosting start-ups or increasing engagement in R&D and export activity for LEO clients. This funding highlights the impact that Local Enterprise Offices are making and shows that they continue to be best placed in driving innovation and enterprise in towns and villages across the country.”

South East Lean Network

The South East Lean Network and WIT Academy of Lean Enterprise Excellence present the Annual WIT Lean Practitioner Seminar Series, kindly supported by Enterprise Ireland and brought to you in association with Waterford Chamber Skillnet. This is a series of free monthly network and knowledge exchange events that bring together continuous improvement practitioners in Lean enterprise, operational, and process excellence to share their expertise, knowledge, experience, and good practices.

DATE: Wednesday, 13th November 2019

TIME: 18:00 – 20:00


About the Speaker

Rob Healy is an Engineer, Scrum Master, Product Owner, Agile Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Since 2007 he has been involved in Agile Transformation in small, medium and enormous enterprises. His former clients include healthcare companies, major banks, Ireland’s largest Unicorn, the Department of Employment and Social Protection, and The Law Society. In his current role, he manages a cross-functional multinational team to deliver a digital transformation for healthcare insurance. In his spare time, Rob is a co-founder of Agile-Lean Ireland, a community group that has been running what has been deemed one of the top 20 best Agile Conferences in the world. Rob refuses to be dogmatic about Agile or its many frameworks, and he prefers to understand how the work works by listening to the people who do it rather than dictating a “best” practice.

About the Topic

The Agile Manifesto was signed in 2001 based on the research of a group of software development professionals. In the intervening years, “Agile” has become confused with some of the frameworks, tools, and practices that are part of it. In this back-to-basics talk, we will strip back the buzzwords from the key concepts and learn techniques for breaking down work into small pieces, establishing cross-functional teams (if they are needed) and learning by doing. Learn how “Scrum” got misnamed, how your brain uses Roman numerals, and how important radiators are to engineers. This talk will be entertaining, educational and interactive and we might just make it competitive!

Book your place here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/wit-lean-practitioner-seminar-series-2019-2020-seminar-06112019-registration-75962637293

Faile Ireland Know Waterford Workshop

Fáilte Ireland Invite YOU to Join the KNOW WATERFORD Local Experts Programme to Help Grow Your Local Economy

Fáilte Ireland has developed a KNOW WATERFORD Local Experts Programme. The programme is to support those involved in the tourism sector and the local community, who welcome and engage with visitors to Waterford. This programme will commence with an interactive workshop on what to see and do in Waterford. Sign up by choosing from one of the following workshop events:

Tuesday, 15th October @ 9.30am (Registration from 9.00am)


Tuesday, 15th October @ 3.30pm (Registration from 3.00pm)

Venue: The Tower Hotel, The Mall, Waterford, X91 VXEO

At the core of this programme will be a network of local people coming together to share their local knowledge to help visitors make the most of their visit to Waterford. The programme will also feature, social media initiatives, a Local Experts Pass and opportunities to network with other tourism businesses and interests.

The National Tourism Development Authority are calling on all visitor-facing employees, local volunteers and people in the Waterford community that regularly interact with visitors. So, if you own a B&B, work in a Hotel, restaurant, pub, retail store, taxi company, or if you are active in your local community, this programme is for you.

Click here for further details about the Fáilte Ireland Local Experts Programme.

This is a Free event and places are on a first come first served basis. To register for one of the Workshops listed please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rural Conversations RIA launchThe ‘Rural Conversations Series’ report was launched by Mr Michael Ring T.D., Minister for Rural and Community Development, at the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), Dublin in September.

The series was spearheaded by Dr Felicity Kelliher, RIA Social Sciences Committee member and Senior Lecturer and co-founder of RIKON research group, School of Business, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), and developed in association with the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Speaking about the report Dr Kelliher noted “Rural Ireland accounts for 57% of Ireland’s population. This is a significant pool of talented citizens who contribute to the economic and social wellbeing of the entire nation. The rural conversations series gave them the opportunity to offer their thoughts and ideas in relation to the forthcoming Rural Development Plan.”

Launching the report, Mr Ring shared examples of successful rural businesses operating throughout Ireland. He congratulated those involved in the work culminating in a report which conveyed “a great sense of the opportunities and challenges facing rural communities”.

The rural conversations series focused on (1) Economic development, (2) Social cohesion and (3) Vibrant and sustainable communities.

The reports collated the contributions of over 200 rural community stakeholders, government agencies, government support agencies and academics from around the country who participated in three roundtable consultative events hosted by NUI Galway, Dundalk Institute of Technology and Waterford Institute of Technology in 2018/19.

The resultant reports were compiled by Dr Kelliher and Dr Leana Reinl, two senior researchers from the RIKON research group. Dr Reinl is Lecturer in Management and Academy Lead, Rural Tourism Development, RIKON, WIT School of Business. The RIKON group, WIT undertake leading research into many aspects of rural and regional business development.

“A key viewpoint across all three roundtable events was the need for a sustainable economic and enterprise infrastructure,” said Dr Reinl.

Policy actions specifically called for support for diverse co-working spaces in tandem with the promotion of rural areas as smart working locations, a sentiment echoed by Michael Ring at the report launch.

Dr Kelliher noted that these policies could offer the momentum needed for sustainable development, “With an anticipated 500,000 new rural inhabitants expected by 2040, there is significant potential for these communities to gain from greater cohesion within and between local development groups and for multi-national corporations to locate in these communities”.

Dr Thomas O'Toole, Head of School of Business commented that rural Ireland is an asset that is underutilized. “The RIA and the Government have started a conversation on development, cohesion and sustainability that resulted in the publication by my colleagues Drs Kelliher and Reinl. The report contains so many ideas and practical solutions that can be used to produce action plans and further conversations. It is a real gem,” he said.

You can listen to the launch, hear the main findings, and download a copy of the report on the RIA website. Recordings of the individual country-wide events are also available on the RIA website.

Following on from these initiatives, the Department is now inviting wider public feedback through an online survey. Key themes emerging from both consultations series are reflected in the questions.

The survey, launched by Minister Michael Ring is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CTPVSHB and will remain open until Friday, 11 October 2019.

Purple Flag Awards June 2019Waterford City Centre will be taking part in the official annual celebration of the Purple Flag programme for those who have been recognised for excellence in the management of the evening and night-time economy (ENTE) in Ireland and the UK, taking place during the whole month of October 2019.

The evening and night-time economy significantly contributes to our local economy and Purple Flag Waterford aims to support this economy and drive standards within the Zone in partnership with key stakeholders. To celebrate Waterford City’s Purple Flag status since 2015, we intend to capture people’s imaginations, change perceptions and encourage people to do something different with their evenings in a variety of locations across the Zone area; the invitation is to experience the quality, diversity and vibrancy Waterford City Centre has to offer.

Gerald Hurley, local Coordinator of Purple Flag Waterford encourages everyone to get out and about during Purple Flag Weekend over 4th–6th October saying, “This gold standard award is not just about safety, but also recognises the vibrancy and diversity of our evening and night-time offer — this has been achieved by members working together across the Purple Flag Zone and is amazing example of what can be achieved by partnership working.

Chair of the Purple Flag Working Group, Eric O’Brien agreed, adding “It is great to see so many local businesses really celebrating their Purple Flag achievement and putting so much effort into the celebrations."

The Purple Flag programme is run by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM). Ojay McDonald, CEO of the ATCM congratulated Purple Flag location holders saying, "There now are over 70 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland who are proudly flying the Purple Flag after working hard to gain accreditation”.

LEO Making It HappenWith the ‘biggest ever’ National Women’s Enterprise Day planned for October 17th, Local Enterprise Office Waterford will host a networking event at the Tower Hotel, that promises to inspire and educate the next generation of female entrepreneurs.

With this year’s “Making It Happen” theme, entrepreneur Muireann Fitzmaurice will deliver a workshop on developing leadership competencies, followed by business strategist and technology evangelist, Clare Dillon.

Fitzmaurice is a lead trainer with the Entrepreneurs Academy on whose behalf she has trained over 1000 small business owners nationwide since she joined in 2012. She has an outstanding reputation for helping business owners feel inspired and get clarity on how to lead themselves and their business.  She is also a qualified life coach and trainer

and is particularly interested in helping businesspeople identify their core strengths and how to use that to market their business.

Dillon will talk about the basis of thinking and acting as leaders to ‘Make It Happen’ in business and capitalising on emerging tech trends. With over 20 years’ experience of leadership development, business strategy and technology evangelism, Clare helps organisations maximise the opportunities presented by the latest technology, from AI to Virtual Reality.

Waterford native and Waterford’s National Women’s Enterprise Day Ambassador, Sinead Quealy, will also give attendees an insight into her entrepreneurial journey. As Managing Director of VirtualVet, a data management company that tracks drug usage in animals in the food chain, VirtualVet was, earlier this year, announced as overall Regional winner at the National Enterprise Awards 2019.

Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Waterford said that the event will be of benefit to any female entrepreneur who is either thinking of starting a business or already in business.

“The keynote speakers at this event are highly renowned for assisting businesses in unleashing their potential and identifying opportunities for growth. Supporting women in enterprise and addressing the key challenges confronting women in business is paramount to ensuring female entrepreneurs realise their full business potential.”

“At Local Enterprise Office Waterford we have a broad range of support services, including events like this that enable entrepreneurs to take their business to take the next level. What National Women’s Enterprise Day does is not only showcases the work of successful female entrepreneurs, but also supports and fosters female entrepreneurship by encouraging more women to start their own business.”

With 22,000 female entrepreneurs taking part in Local Enterprise Office training programmes nationwide and 4,500 benefitting from business mentoring in 2018, Local Enterprise Offices are organising 17 entrepreneurial events across the country under the theme of ‘Making It Happen’, funded by the Government of Ireland in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and Local Authorities.

National Women’s Enterprise event takes place from 2pm to 6pm in the Tower Hotel Waterford on Thursday, October 17th. Tickets cost €10. To book your place visit www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford/


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