SMARTlab Skelligs was established in 2017 in a unique working partnership with a social enterprise, Living Iveragh DAC after a five- year relationship with Professor Lizbeth Goodman and Ms Jean Byrne, Director of Design21c and Living Iveragh.
The collaborative partnership aimed to build a local research ecology developed through embedded research, as a strategic action for the Iveragh (Uíbh Ráthaigh) peninsula,Kells to Castlecove. This strategic development plan emerged out of an initiative by Living Iveragh and the Insitute without Boundaries that became a peninsula-wide consultation commissioned by Kerry County and in 2017. Living Iveragh supported Dr Anita McKeown, FRSA, FIMP as Director of Research and Development, SMARTlab Skelligs as part of the SMARTLab Global network, led by Professor Lizbeth Goodman and in collaboration with Living Iveragh.
SMARTlab Skelligs is based in the Cahersiveen Library, supported by Kerry County Council and is a hot-desking research cluster that undertakes research and supports local researchers. To date SMARTlab Skelligs, with Living Iveragh has been awarded a number of grants and gained industry funding under Dr McKeown’s direction totalling €870K and €60K in-kind employing up to 8 fractional local researchers.
2022 – 24 Muinin Catalyst Sustainable STEAM - SFI funded project with Living Iveragh €299k institutional host, UCD
2022 €6k Tech Tasters consultation Maine Valley Family Resource centre – Funded by TUSLA
2022 – 23 Clar Innovation Fund - Living Iveragh and SMARTlab Skelligs €50K
2022 - 23 The Skelligs Catalyst @ The Ballroom Living Iveragh and SMARTlab Skelligs - €200K RRDF feasibility study for an RDI Centre of Excellence for place-based STEAM and Placemaking
2019 – 21 Muinín Catalyst – Living Iveragh and CPL plc - €50k
2019 – 2021 €100k MARplas with Sea Synergy
2018-20 CoDesRes – EPA Funded project €165k institutional host, UCD – selected for RIA Climate Change and Enviromental Sciences Committee discussion paper Better together: knowledge co-production for a sustainable society
Plough and spade and seine-boat shaped them for the deeds they were to do, street and school and mountain heard their victory cry. Now their memories arch like rainbows o'er the meadows of the mind; the Alive who live forever and the dead who’ll never die.
Sigerson Clifford (1913–1985)
This Region of Uíbh Ráthach (Iveragh), this Skellig Coast in the South West of Ireland, has always been a Place where there is great Meas* on Learning and Knowledge and working together. When you look at the physical geography of this region, you'll understand why this Culture of Learning is embedded here for Millennia. Living Iveragh was established as a DAC to address address the problem of rural depopulation and build Iveragh as a place of Research, Learning and Enterprise in an outstanding landscape and visionary progressive approaches. Living Iveragh is also aligned to the NAISC Diaspora network.
Here on the Iveragh peninsula, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on 3 sides with the highest mountains in Ireland running down its spine, our communities were defined and our people shaped by those mountains and that Ocean. For our communities to survive here through the Millennia, we had to understand deeply and react quickly to the land and the ocean and to pass on those learnings down through the generations. And we needed to work together to thrive, to pool resources, particularly our energy and skills. We had the Meitheal^ long before the word "team-work" appeared on bookshelves!
The ancient archaeological sites that abound in our Region stand testament to the complex engineering skills, ambition, ingenuity and tenacity of Our People. This is exemplified by the UNESCO, World Heritage Site of the 6th Century monastery on Skellig Michael, which stood as a place of learning and pilgrimage and was known across Europe and the world throughout the middle-ages. Our People have always been resourceful, adaptable and resilient and in the 21st century those traits have never been more important.
This Place is where Oisín and Na Fianna of our mythology roamed, our townland names tell us that. This is the Place where communications across the Atlantic were reduced from 2 weeks to 2 minutes via the first Transatlantic Cable between Valentia Island and Newfoundland, heralding the start of a communications revolution that would turn the world into the global village we know today.
Knowledge and an openness to Learning were vital for survival in this region then, as now, and with advances in technology and communications, our Meas on Learning remains the key to unlocking the natural potential so that Our People and communities thrive and continue to flourish and we can reverse the depletion of our strongest asset – our young people.
Here in Uíbh Ráthach, on this Skellig Coast, there is time & space to Observe, to Notice, and to Create. In our landscape and amongst our people there are openings for inspiration and innovation that you haven't even dreamed of!
*Meas means "emphasis by respect' / "reverence”, as Gaelige.
^Meitheal; Co-operative labour system in Ireland where groups of neighbours help each other in turn.
NAISC Skellig Kerry Diaspora Network
The word "Naisc" means "links" in the Irish language. NAISC Skellig Kerry Diaspora Network is a virtual diaspora network. The members of the network either live, grew up in or have links to the Skellig Region of Kerry (from Kells to Castlecove), which is also known as Uíbh Ráthach.
With global connectivity the world is small and we work together with people at home and afar to do some of the "heavy lifting” to drive and support projects at home in this special region that reared and educated us.
We all have a great loyalty to this Region and this place has shaped us and those before us. It shapes our heritage, culture and traditions and the deeds we do in the world.
We have been welcoming people to this Skellig Coast for Millennia.
We look forward to sharing, teaching, exploring, learning and creating with our visitors.
People make things happen and working with SMARTlab and establishing SMARTlab Skelligs, aims to support the goals of the communities in the Region in establishing Skellig Kerry as a Place of Learning.
Is neart gur cur le chéile