There are few cities and regions in Ireland that have celebrated their past, made the most of the present and set themselves up for the future the way Cork city and county has.
In 2010, Lonely Planet listed Cork in its top 10 places to visit, describing the city as "being at the top of its game: sophisticated, vibrant and diverse".
While that accolade may have been granted to the city of Cork for its cultural diversity, history, entertainment and the quality of its hospitality, the same description could easily be applied to the city and region for its industrial landscape, innovative spirit and entrepreneurial prowess.
Cork has served as a gateway to Europe for centuries, and in the 21st century as seaports, airports and railways are overtaken by fibre optic networks as the primary routes to trade, the region’s exposure to the industries of the future – particularly in digital and biopharma – will serve it and Ireland well into the future.
Apple, for example, has been located in Cork since 1983 and today employs 3,000 people and growing. EMC came to Cork in 1988 and employs almost 2,500 people here today, with its Ovens operation performing admirably as the central hub for much of its physical and digital distribution. Recent expansions include Big Fish Games, IBM, Quest Software and Trend Micro.
Entrepreneurs such as Liam Casey of PCH International, Jerry O’Brien of Radisens, Declan O’Mahoney of Firecomms and John Dennehy of HR Locker are indicative of the vibrant start-up spirit that will not only yield jobs for the region, but turn Cork-based businesses into household names one day.
The city is also home to a rich innovative spirit with proud institutions like University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology achieving breakthroughs in business and science.
However, the prevailing economic winds also mean the city and region face challenges just like the rest of the country.
it@cork chairman Denis J Collins recently called on members of the organisation to work together and build on the region’s strengths and forge strategic alliances globally to guarantee a sustainable, prosperous future.
He’s right. The fundamentals are definitely in place. Cork is at the top of its game.
Photo by Design Pics Inc/Rex Features
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