Limerick - The National Technology Park (Ireland)
The National Technology Park in Limerick, Ireland is the first of its kind in the entire country. Many different parks have been developed for businesses throughout the history of the country of Ireland, but none have been specifically developed for science and technology businesses. That all changed in 1984 as developers and local council-members got together to go over plans for a new science park in Limerick. It would be a fully-featured magnet for technology businesses looking to thrive into the future. What they came away with was the design for the National Technology Park, and the area has never been the same.
The History of the National Technology Park
The Limerick National Technology Park was first conceived-of in 1984 as a joint venture between the local government and the Shannon Development company. The idea was to create a large campus with top-quality facilities for like-minded businesses to share in. By approaching only technology and related companies as partners in the park, the hope was to create an environment where like-minded professionals could come together under common goals. This was seen as a great way to encourage these technology companies to take advantage of the many facilities offered by the technology park.
Since the park was developed, built and leased, it has been continuously filled with eager businesses looking to revolutionize the technology industry. On the whole, the most commonly-represented industries in the park are the e-learning and healthcare industries. While these two industries represent the bulk of the companies that lease space in the park, there are over 80 companies from many technology industries leasing space there as well. These companies employ a total of 3000 employees, while general support staff for the park employs even more. After all, it takes a lot of people to keep a 30 building, 1.5 million square foot business park running as it's supposed to.
The site that was chosen for the National Technology Park is on the banks of the pristine River Shannon just outside of Limerick, Ireland. Limerick is widely known throughout the United Kingdom as the recreation capital of Ireland. This means that there is a whole host of recreational opportunity available for lessees of the park and their employees. This has played a major role in keeping the technology park constantly stacked with businesses. By placing the National Technology Park in such a pristine location, the developers succeeded in giving the park an extra bit of excitement that helped to draw in more businesses.
The Impact of the National Technology Park on the Economy of Limerick
The resulting migration of larger technology businesses to Limerick has had an astounding impact on the local economy. After all, those 3000 employees maintained by the 80 businesses in the park need to eat, live, shop and relax just like anyone else. This means that employees of businesses in the park are not the only ones benefiting from added employment opportunities. Less unemployment in the area leads to more income for shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities. This, in turn, translates into greater employment opportunities for everyone.
The National Technology Park has also played a major role in redefining the culture of Limerick. Whenever a major employer in a locality has a major impact on employment, the population seems to lean toward supporting those types of jobs over others. Schools in Limerick are therefore seeing much higher enrollment rates in science and technology-based programs. Thanks to the support of the University of Limerick, students now have access to many technological advantages. One of these benefits is that students of the University of Limerick can more easily find internships with technology businesses now.
The National Technology Park also helps the local economy by hosting larger events like trade shows and corporate events. The enormous campus of the National Technology Park provides corporate clients with access to meeting rooms, top-quality presentation technology, and a host of other important tools. While this is not considered to be the center-point of the National Technology Park, it is absolutely an important one. Due to the revenue these activities generate for the park, they are an important factor to keep in mind when assessing the value of the park.
The National Technology Park and the Future of Ireland
Ireland is a country that is already known for its inspiring coastline and verdant hills. As a destination for those who love the outdoors, Ireland truly is second to none in Western Europe. However, the National Technology Park's mission is to help make technology research and development a major part of Ireland's image as well. By promoting jobs in science and technology, the National Technology Park is making these careers viable for today's young Irish students. With time, it's believed that the National Technology Park will be seen as a major component of Ireland's technological outreach to the world.