Wicklow biodiversity project commended at .IE Digital Town Awards

The Tinahely Bee Sanctuary project received recognition as one of the .IE Digital Town Awards 2023 – Commended Projects in the Sustainability category.

Eoin Mac RaghnaillWicklow People

A Tinahely-based biodiversity project has been recognised for its efforts and commitment to digital innovation at this year’s .IE Digital Town Awards.

The national registry for .ie domain names announced the winning entries for the awards at a Gala event held at the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone. The awards were created by .IE in 2021 as part of a broader four-year €1 million investment in the .IE Digital Town Programme, which encourages the uptake and use of the internet and digital technologies for businesses, citizens and communities.

Set up to tackle the biodiversity crisis and raise awareness of the current threats to bees, Tinahely’s Bee Sanctuary received recognition as one of the .IE Digital Town Awards 2023 – Commended Projects in the Sustainability category and were awarded a prize fund of €2,000.

With a booking feature on their website for farm tours and through the clever use of Twitter hashtags, the bee sanctuary has reached a global audience. Now featuring in the Metaverse, they continue to educate the public on sustainability practices.

In 5 years, they have gone from a 'bricks and mortar' project advocating for bees and nature locally to a digitally focused project with international reach.

In total, 22 town and community digital projects were recognised at this year’s .IE Digital Town Awards 2023, which recognise and reward digitally inspired projects run by towns and local community groups, and offers a prize fund of €100,000 each year, split across several categories.

Winners and runners-up this year were chosen across the seven main categories, three special category winners and one overall prize winner. The .IE Digital Sustainability award was a new category introduced this year with Hollymount in Mayo announced as the winner with its Eco-Powered Cabinets which store life-saving equipment.

This year’s category sponsors included Western Development Commission, Connected Hubs, and AIB Merchant Services with Vodafone as the overall presenting sponsor.

Oonagh McCutcheon, National Director, .IE Digital Town Programme said: "The quality of entries in this year’s .IE Digital Town Awards has been incredibly impressive. Ireland’s towns and communities are identifying and solving connectivity challenges, driving digital innovation and developing creative digital solutions to enhance the lives of their fellow citizens.

“This year 22 projects were recognised at the .IE Digital Town Awards Gala event, which adds significantly to the lives of their local communities and improves our nation’s digital footprint.’

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Neale Richmond said: “I want to congratulate all the winners of this year’s .IE Digital Town Awards.

“The 22 groups honoured at this year’s awards are great examples of how by embracing digitalisation, even small groups can make a big difference to their local communities, friends and neighbours. Congratulations again to all the winners, and thank you to every group that entered this year’s awards.”

Representing Vodafone, Sinéad Bryan, Managing Director, Vodafone Business said: “At Vodafone, our goal is to be a connectivity and technology partner to our customers the length and breadth of Ireland.

“We are delighted to support the .IE Digital Town Awards 2023 which cements our commitment to powering inclusion through technology and enabling a better Ireland through the use of digital.”

More information on the .IE Digital Town Awards can be found here