If you were to Google the most prominent digital nomad hot spots, I doubt you would see Skibbereen mentioned. In fact, I know you wouldn’t, because I did just that while researching this article (and it’s not for a lack of trying on our part). What you will find are myriad articles with a picture of a laptop on a beach and tales of far-flung nomad havens like Bali. If you take that, or big cities like New York or Montreal as the standard, then it seems like our little corner of the Atlantic Ocean doesn’t fit in, but it does – in a big way. Skibbereen is the town that in 2015 stood up and said “There’s a new member of the club!”
Definitions of “Digital Nomad” vary but in general, they are people who leverage digital technology to enable themselves to work from anywhere and travel the world while running their business; seeing new things, developing their skills and attaining a better quality of life along the way. This is exactly what Skibbereen has achieved, an environment where the culture and the infrastructure combine to make this lifestyle a reality for locals and visitors alike.
High speed broadband is available even in the more remote areas of West Cork, and you will have access to mobile broadband in every town and village. Indeed, all three of Ireland’s major mobile providers operate in Skibbereen, giving you reliable coverage. This is not to mention the roll-out of Siro’s 1GB broadband which is available throughout the town and powers the Ludgate Hub.
The life of a digital nomad is fleeting. As you move around, offices, homes and friends all come and go. It’s not a life where you ponder the past or commit to the present, it’s a life about the future – a future you get to create. This is what Skibbereen is all about. We are shaping our own future by being ambitious and utilizing what is available to us to create a new age for the region. To this date we have 35 digitally enabled companies operating in and around Skibbereen, and hundreds of visits from digital nomads and agile workers a year.
Yet despite the fleeting and adventurous lifestyles of digital nomads, everyone needs a base. Somewhere to recharge, take stock and figure out their next steps. With cheap living costs, a budding entrepreneurial network and unrivaled infrastructure, Skibbereen is the perfect base. The scenery isn’t too bad either.
Walking, running, climbing, swimming, sailing – it’s all here for you in Skibbereen.
Ideally for those at the start of their digital nomad journey, there is a seed fund available for start ups through the Ludgate Hub, and with that all the cost advantages of starting your business in the Hub. Not everyone can afford to set up in London or Munich, and not everyone wants to trek all the way out to South-East Asia. The Hub also offers ongoing mentorship from our board members.
Bryan Gehrke is a German graphic designer and audio engineer who travels while running his business. The Ludgate Hub member said “As a freelancer I need a place which enables me to stay connected with international clients and helps me to get my work done fast and efficiently.
“The Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen offers just that: a lightning-fast internet connection and a working environment that helps me stay focused and meet like minded people.
He added: “Skibbereen and its surrounding areas offer a lot of outdoor activities, stunning landscapes, great pubs with music sessions and an amazing culinary scene. It feels great having everything at your fingertips: Going for a swim at Lough Hyne, watching the sunset at the Baltimore Beacon – recharging my batteries. Afterwards I can return to the hub and continue working on projects with clients from Los Angeles or Melbourne. This really feels like Digital Nomadism 2.0 to me.”
— The Ludgate Hub (@LudgateIreland) September 28, 2017
Another Hub member, Rafael Wyser, said he has been able to adapt his professional life as a business developer to become more “location independent”.
“Finally, I got the opportunity to move to West Cork. The breathtaking nature combined with its vivid art and culture scene and its open-hearted people have always appealed to me since my first visit.
“For work related reasons I travel twice a month to Switzerland. The rest of the time I stay in West Cork. Instead of working in Cafes all over West Cork armed with a laptop and an internet connection I was happy to hear about the Ludgate in beautiful Skibbereen.
“Giving the possibility to work in a community of like-minded people supported by a state-of-the-art infrastructure the Ludgate has become an important cornerstone of my new lifestyle. And since Ireland has become one of the fastest growing economies in the EU again I hope that I will soon be able to successfully develop my own local start-up.”
Skibbereen and wider West Cork already has something of a nomadic population, and people from all walks of life make it their home on a part time basis. It’s the kind of place people visit and wind up falling in love with. With artists, craftsmen, writers, filmmakers, hippies and farmers, West Cork is a diverse place that you can go to live your lifestyle of choice.
Incredible nature, great beaches, amazing food, a love for the arts, culture, history – I could go on and on until I get hired by the tourist office. You have to experience it for yourself. There are holidaymakers with good jobs in big cities that wish they could have this life permanently. Why not come and see what it’s all about?