Piltown is the winner of .IE Digital Town Awards 2022

Piltown in Co Kilkenny has been announced as the overall winner of the 2022 .IE Digital Town Awards for its ‘Taking Charge of our Digital Future’ project.

The Piltown Team; Minister Damien English, Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Oonagh McCutcheon, National Director .IE Digital Town Programme; David Curtin, CEO .IE

As well as taking home the overall award, Piltown was also announced as the winner of the Digital Business category winning a total prize of €19,000.

Chair of the judging panel Joan Mulvihill commended Piltown’s win commenting that “The community of Piltown showed extraordinary resolve and determination in putting their town on the digital map. In total, there was a prize fund of €100,000 across seven award categories including three special awards recognising a digital changemaker, a digital rising star, and a digital local hero.

Piltown’s ‘Taking Charge of our Digital Future’ entry was shortlisted in two categories (Digital Business and Digital Changemaker) for its work in building, promoting, and managing the collage’s high-speed network. The judging panel commended Piltown for the manner in which the local community had fully embraced the project with landowners granting access to land and volunteers working to lay more than 6km of cables, training as fibre optic technicians and providing crucial expertise pro bono.

Piltown is believed to be Ireland’s first community owned and managed FTTP ‘fibre to the premises’ network and has resulted in the creation of a local digital hub and community centre that serves 37 groups in the area.

The team behind the project believe that its success could be replicated in other towns and communities through shared experience and learnings.

Throughout the competition, which was launched earlier this year, the judging panel looked for digitally motivated community projects and leaders who demonstrated digital thinking to creatively problem-solve and develop innovative ideas that improve and enhance towns and communities.

This year’s winners and finalists cover the full spectrum, including those who are early in their digital journey as well as established, sophisticated projects. 13 counties had one or more finalists including Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Kerry, Limerick, Mayo, Roscommon, and Sligo.

Projects were shortlisted in the categories of digital education, digital tourism, community digital as well as digital business, while three special prizes honouring individuals and communities making significant difference to the digital betterment in local towns were also awarded under the categories of digital rising star, digital changemaker and digital local hero.

Now in its second year, the .IE Digital Town Awards honour local town projects and people that are using digital innovation, technologies, and digital-first thinking for the betterment of towns, citizens, and services in the community.

The list of category winners and runners up includes:

Overall winner: Piltown, Taking Charge of our Digital Future (Prize: €10,000)
Community Digital, sponsored by Western Development Commission Winner – Crumlin: Connecting Crumlin’s Community. (Prize: €9,000)
Runner up – Limerick: Tiny Little Histories. (Prize: €5,000)
Digital Education
Winner – Sligo: Online Learning Project Manager. (Prize: €9,000)
Runner up – Murroe: Scoutus Interruptus: How Digital Technology Helped Keep Us Scouting Through the Time of Covid. (Prize:
€5,000)
Digital Tourism, sponsored by AIB Merchant Services
Winner
– Gleann Cholm Cille: Building a digital cultural infrastructure for our community. (Prize: €9,000)
Runner up – Ballyvaughan: Linking the physical and digital worlds via interactive signage. (Prize: €5,000)
Digital Business, sponsored by Vodafone
Winner – Piltown: Taking Charge of our Digital Future. (Prize: €9,000)
Runner up – Westport: Where no Westport business gets left behind. (Prize: €5,000)
Digital Rising Star
Winner – Cootehill: St. Patrick’s Day celebration. (Prize: €8,500)
Digital Changemaker, sponsored by Connected Hubs
Winner
– Roscommon Town: Roscommon Rapid Response Team. (Prize: €8,500)
Digital Local Hero
Eoin Costello, Dún Laoghaire Town. (Prize: €3,000)

Commenting on the announcement, Oonagh McCutcheon, National Director of the .IE Digital Town Programme, said: “At .IE, we congratulate all our winners, runners up and commended entries and are delighted to be able to honour and recognise their great achievements. Our judging panel was particularly impressed by Piltown, where the entire community stepped up and took matters into their own hands with transformative results.

The .IE Digital Town Awards, announced by .IE in 2021 as part of its overall .IE Digital Town programme, is part of four-year 1 million investment initiative focused on digital enhancement and digital technology adoption in Ireland’s towns.