Monday | 15th July 2024

Dún Laoghaire Town puts on a great show for Judges

13. 10. 2019


By Christine Sheridan – PR/Marketing

The Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Town Awards is an annual event to acknowledge the spirit of enterprise in local areas across Ireland, bringing business and community groups together to showcase their efforts to build an economically sustainable community. There is a total prize fund of €193,000 and over 40 awards available to towns and communities across the country. 

Dun Laoghaire Town has entered the Awards each year since 2017 in the category of the Most Enterprising Town award. 

A steering committee was formed to bring all the relevant parties together to help make a strong case for Dun Laoghaire’s application for the coveted award of Most Enterprising Town in Ireland. 

Chaired by Cllr Lorraine Hall, the steering group comprised many key organisations including the DLR Chamber of Commerce, DL Business Association, DLR CoCo, Men’s Sheds and others.

Wed Oct 2nd, the morning of the judges visit, started for the steering group at 8.15am with a rehearsal at The Glasshouses 2 on Lower George’s Street. By the time the judges arrived at 9pm, and were welcomed by Cllr Lorraine Hall and Owen Laverty, everyone was relaxed and the panel delivered their pitches passionately and confidently.

Rehearsals for the National Enterprise Town Awards Judges Visit to Dun Laoghaire Town

Rehearsals for the National Enterprise Town Awards Judges Visit to Dun Laoghaire Town

Upon arrival the judges,Martina Maloney, Kevin Twomey and Katrina Murphy, were presented with a panel discussion hosted by Cllr Hall and Owen Laverty with 7 Dún Laoghaire Town DOERs. We heard from Chad Gilmer of Glasshouses, Ken Gibson Bailey and Pim, Paula Harris CrossCare Community Cafe, Marian Keys Lexicon, Eoin Costello Digital HQ , Robbie Burns from Men’s Shed’s Dun Laoghaire and Flossie the Beach Cleaner.  

There were very strong presentations from the DOERS and their commitment to community in Dun Laoghaire was very evident. Flossie spoke about her work cleaning the beaches and highlighting the plastic problem and received the first round of applause of the day!

Each DOER represented one of the stops on the judges itinerary. They outlined to the Judges about what their initiative does in the town and what the judges would see at their stop on the tour. 

Dun Laoghaire Town presentation to the Judges from DigitalHQ Clg

At the end of the panel presentation the judges introduced themselves and thanked everyone for all the hard work that went into the presentation which they said was very strong.


The judges were then introduced to the Dun Laoghaire Town Ambassadors, Gabby Mallon (DLR Chamber), Paul Coffey (DL Central Residents Association) and Cllr Hall, who would accompany them during their itinerary.

Then commenced a most creative and informative schedule. The itinerary was devised to highlight the dynamic developments in Dún Laoghaire in recent years, in innovation, culture and cross community partnership. The itinerary included a tour of key venues and organisations and were introduced to the dynamic people involved in the development of these projects.

STOP 1 – The Glasshouses

The Glasshouses are two high quality boutique Co-Working spaces currently in Dun Laoghaire town. Both building have been repurposed from Retail stores that were previously vacant for many years. With both buildings close to full occupancy The Glasshouses are breathing life back into Dun Laoghaire’s Main Street with new members that own or work for the companies taking space within. The Glasshouses members can avail of high street stores discounts that have been negotiated and this promotes business onto the Main Street. Members and public users can avail of 3 high end air conditioned meeting rooms that can be booked online on

Stop 1 Chad Gilmer shows the judges around The Glasshouses

Stop 1 Chad Gilmer shows the judges around The Glasshouses

STOP 2 – Bailey and Pim

Ken Gibson gave the background to the business, spoke about the importance of CSR in Bailey and Pim, their philanthropy and arts sponsorship . Ken spoke about the achievements of Bailey and Pim, and their involvement in the eradication of leprosy and their aim to eradicate it in the next 20 years.

STOP 2 - Judges visit Bailey and Pimm

STOP 2 – Judges visit Bailey and Pimm

STOP 3 – Cross Care Community Cafe

Paula Harris describes the work of Cross Care and how they were invited by volunteers, who identified a need for their services, to set up in Dun Laoghaire over two years ago.

They work with vulnerable people and provide them with cheap food,  a safe enviornment for them to express themselves in, and the staff can identify their needs and offer appropriate services to help them.They also provide a community food bank for families in need of this service. The Boylan Youth Centre and Active Retirement spoke briefly about their services to the local community.

Stop 3 Judges visit CrossCare Community Cafe

Stop 3 Judges visit CrossCare Community Cafe

STOP 4 – Cali Kitchen – Steve and Caitrona Roberts 

On the route to the DLR Lexicon the Judges met members of the Dun Laoghaire Central Residents Association who were doing a cleanup of the environs of St. Michael’s Church.

Judges meet residents doing cleanup

Judges meet residents doing cleanup

They then proceeded across Marine Road and dropped in for refreshments to Cali Kitchen run by a husband and wife team. Both worked in the corporate world for many years in London and prompted by their love of food and eating out, decided to change career and open a restaurant in Dublin when they relocated here in 2016. They spent time in Santiago and this inspired them to devise a menu with the best of Irish food with a Californian spin on it. Steve describes it as “ Sunshine on a plate”.

They then went looking for a bright airy indoor/outdoor location which they found in Dun Laoghaire, close to The Royal Marine Hotel (named by a customer as ‘Cali Corner’ because of its positioning in DL, meeting each corner of the town). They want to showcase the best of Irish food, organic pork,chicken, and vegetables, and local Kambouchi from Katie’s Kombucha in Dalkey. Sustainability and minimum waste  is also important and all their take away products are compostable. Their aim is to use the best, ethically sourced ingredients and create one of the best places to eat in Dun Laoghaire. 

The team behind Cali Kitchen

The team behind Cali Kitchen

STOP 5 – DLR Lexicon

The group was greeted by Marian Keyes, Joe O’Connor (DLR CoCo) and Dave Lawless (DLR CoCo).

In the exhibition space, Marian spoke about the numerous activities in the library for a huge cross section of society-children, students and active retirement. 30% of the DLR population are members of the library, Marian wants to target the other 70%. She wants to provide whatever service the public wants.

1.2 million people walk the pier. The book, People on the Pier  (co authored by Marian) was produced following a successful library social media project where people put up their own photos of their visit to the pier. The Pier is one of the most iconic places in Dun Laoghaire, Marian also mentioned a new publication co authored by herself which celebrates the unique work in The Oratory, 

STOP at DLR LEXICON with Marian Keyes

STOP 5 at DLR LEXICON with Marian Keyes

Created to mark the end of WWI and to commemorate the many local Irishmen who had fought and died on the Western Front, the Oratory, built in 1919, was hand-painted by Sister M. Concepta Lynch between the years 1920-36. The stunning result is a highly-regarded masterpiece of the Gaelic Revival style. The windows were provided by the Harry Clarke Studio in Dublin.

Sustainability was also mentioned in relation to book borrowing and laptop and iPad borrowing, they are used over and over contributing to the need for sustainability. 

Joe Connor spoke about the Age Friendly Alliance which tackles issues affecting older people. They ensure that all the events taking place are diverse, intergenerational and multi cultural. David Lawless spoke about tourism in Dun Laoghaire and what his department does to promote Dun Laoghaire events. One focus is water sports and they engage with local tourist business, and provide tourist information support. They manage up to 240 events and festivals, large and small per annum.

Joe Connor speaks to the judges in the DLR LexIcon

Joe Connor speaks to the judges in the DLR LexIcon

STOP 6 – DigitalHQ CLG

This stop saw the judges visit the DigitalHQ clg digital growth hub initiative above Bank of Ireland, George’s Street.

This part of the itinerary was covered by the Southside People here.

Group photo outside DigitalHQ Photo by Darren Kinsella

Group photo outside DigitalHQ Photo by Darren Kinsella

STOP 7 – Men’s Sheds

Robbie Burns took the group on a tour of the Men’s Sheds starting with the history of the dilapidated coach house – it houses their workshop upstairs and a beautifully restored recreation room downstairs. The site was renovated by the men, all the work was carried out by them and it radiates pride and dedication. The workshop has a number of wood turning machines, and they have demand for another, they sell their beautiful wooden pieces to raise funds for the Sheds.

This is a haven for the men involved in the Sheds. Everyone is accommodated here, people from all walks of life are welcomed and in turn they become active members of a wonderful restorative safe place where they learn new skills and contribute to a very important movement.

Judges visit MensSheds

Judges visit MensSheds


As the judges left the final stop on the Dun Laoghaire Town itinerary they commended the Dún Laoghaire Town Steering Group for the huge amount of work that had been put into the itinerary and they commented on their pride and passion displayed by each and every one of the people they met displayed in their town.

Here’s hoping for a positive result for Dún Laoghaire Town on National Enterprise Town Awards night on the 5th of December!