Athenry Shortlisted for .IE Awards – Community Digital

The team at Galway Wild Geese were delighted to learn that the Athenry xplore app has been shortlisted for the final of the prestigious .IE Awards 2023.

Led by The Galway Wild Geese, in partnership with Digital Agency, Upourside and a selection of local business owners, community groups, and volunteers the team are working together to ensure that the app meets the needs of the local citizens,

and that it is accessible to all citizens, regardless of their physical or intellectual abilities. The timeline for rollout of the project will be two months, with the app being launched in the third month. 

The project seeks to make the local area more accessible to everyone, regardless of physical or intellectual disabilities and the app will provide an engaging user interface to facilitate navigation, and an intuitive design to provide a user friendly experience. 

Galway Wild Geese have reached an agreement with developers Upourside to use Athenry as a test location for the initial rollout of their ground breaking suite of accessibility tools before rolling out the new features to the whole platform. 

color code book

Incorporating these design and development best practices into the Xplore Athenry app for users with physical or intellectual disabilities will ensure an enjoyable and accessible experience, and will help to create an engaging and user-friendly app.

  • interface designs with simple clear colours
  • larger icons
  • easy to understand language
  • mapping tools that avoid steps/narrow paths and more.
  • Audio cues that are considered, with clear and concise instructions.
  • Navigation that is intuitive, easy access different features of the app.
  • Fonts will be large and readable, and colours that are contrasting to ensure they are easily distinguishable.

The Xplore App for Athenry aims to have a positive impact on attitudes to digital change. It will provide the local community with a comprehensive, up to date and easily accessible source of information which they can access from any device. 

This will allow users to make informed decisions about what to do, whether it is attending an event, supporting a local business or joining a club or community group. 

The app will also make it easier for disabled users to access the information they need, promoting inclusivity and equality.

The objective of this project is to create a digital app that would provide citizens with all the information they need to enjoy the town of Athenry, regardless of their physical or intellectual capabilities. 

This app will feature all local businesses, community groups, restaurants, bars, clubs and trails, as well as notification and alert tools, and tours that highlight local history and culture. 

A strong focus will be placed on engaging users with physical or intellectual disabilities. 

Creating innovative app features for users with intellectual or physical disabilities is an important and often overlooked component of app design and development.

What is Accessible Design

close up photo black Android smartphone

Accessible design, also known as inclusive design or universal design, is the practice of designing products, services, environments, and technologies that can be used by people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. The goal of accessible design is to create a world that is accessible and usable by all, regardless of age, size, ability, or disability.

Accessible design involves considering the needs and limitations of a diverse group of people when designing a product or environment. This includes designing for people with mobility impairments, visual or hearing impairments, cognitive or learning disabilities, and other types of disabilities.

Accessible design can involve a range of design strategies, such as providing alternative formats for information, designing for easy navigation, providing clear and simple instructions, using appropriate colors and contrasts, and ensuring that products and environments are physically accessible.

By designing with accessibility in mind, we can create products and environments that are more usable, more comfortable, and more convenient for everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.

What is Inclusive Design

white and black laptop

Inclusive design, also known as universal design or accessible design, is an approach to design that aims to create products, services, and environments that are accessible and usable by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or disability. The goal of inclusive design is to create products and environments that are inclusive and equitable, and that can be used by the widest possible range of people.

Inclusive design involves considering the diversity of people’s needs and experiences, and designing products and environments that are flexible, adaptable, and responsive to those needs. This includes designing for people with physical, sensory, and cognitive impairments, as well as people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Inclusive design can involve a range of design strategies, such as providing multiple ways to access information, designing for easy navigation and use, using clear and simple language, providing adequate lighting and contrast, and ensuring that products and environments are physically accessible.

By designing with inclusivity in mind, we can create products and environments that are more usable, more comfortable, and more convenient for everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, and promote a more equitable and inclusive society.


Galway Wild Geese – Finalist – Digital Town Awards – 2022

Galway Wild Geese – Finalist – Digital Town Awards – 2022

Galway Wild Geese are thrilled to have have been shortlisted in the Community Digital category of the .IE Digital Town Awards.



The number and quality of entries was outstanding, so the geese are thrilled to make the shortlist, you can view the full shortlist here:

Shortlist 2022


The Awards Ceremony will be a virtual event and will take place on Wednesday 8th June at 4.00pm and will run for one hour.

Portumna Community Come Together to Raise Funds for Irish Emergency Alliance – Ukraine Humanitarian Relief

Portumna Community Come Together to Raise Funds for Irish Emergency Alliance – Ukraine Humanitarian Relief

On Saturday, 9th April, 2022, Galway Wild Geese will host a fundraiser at Portumna Market Square in aid of the Irish Emergency Alliance.
Donations are welcome – home baking, home made crafts, books, cds, albums, curio.
Donations can be dropped off at the square on Saturday morning at 9.30 am.
Tables and awning will be set up at the square and volunteers are welcome to donate goods, donate time or help out on the day.
Everyone is welcome.







black vinyl record on black vinyl record
The Irish Emergency Alliance founded by 7 Irish Charities are founders including the charity Self Help Africa are on the border of Slovakia and Ukraine.
Ronan Scully reporting from the border between Ukraine and Slovakia, says his “heart and soul are broken” at what he is seeing.
The Irish Emergency Alliance founded by 7 Irish Charities are founders including the charity Self Help Africa are on the border of Slovakia and Ukraine.
Ronan Scully reporting from the border between Ukraine and Slovakia, says his “heart and soul are broken” at what he is seeing.
The wheels of trolley suitcases make a clack clack clack sound as they roll across the uneven pavements. The sound has become a soundtrack to the picturesque mountain village of Vysne Nemeche on Slovakia’s far eastern border.
The daily procession of refugees coming here from Ukraine is relentless. 10,000 are crossing each day – mothers, grandmothers and children mostly – taking flight from the escalating conflict, and seeking sanctuary in this easternmost outpost of the European Union.
silver round cup on green grass
The exodus from Ukraine to bordering countries happens in cars, buses, trucks and on foot. It’s a journey that over 3 million Ukrainian’s have taken since war began.
The women and children that I saw were arriving exhausted, emotionally drained, and had that look of bewilderment at the strange and awful turn that life had taken.
Tatiana, aged in her early 20’s drags her suitcase behind her, in her other arm she is carrying a cat that she has brought with her from her home in Ternopil.
People often wait up to two days at the border, with outside temperatures dropping well below zero at night sometimes as low as minus -10.
Situated high in the Carpathian mountains in eastern Slovakia, Vysne Nemeche is the main crossing along the 60 mile border that separates Slovakia from neighbouring Ukraine.
Local charities and government services, disburse information, provide blankets, bottles of water, soup and bread to the new arrivals. There are also a number of Covid-19 medical centres, dispensing PCR tests.
Families in despair need our help right now.
Over two million people abandoned their homes after Russia invaded Ukraine and fled to the borders of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova and Romania.
The Irish Emergency Alliance have spent days bringing aid into Ukraine to hospitals some 270km within Ukraine in a pace called Ivano Franksivk region and city.
To learn more about their work please visit and also

Applications Opened for the Circular Economy Innovation Grant Scheme

Applications Opened for the Circular Economy Innovation Grant Scheme

Applications Opened for the Circular Economy Innovation Grant Scheme

EPA publish new Circular Economy Programme as successor to the National Waste Prevention Programme

The government has published a draft national strategy on how Ireland can transition to a Circular Economy and is inviting businesses, communities and citizens to contribute their views through public consultation.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD said:

The Circular Economy is built around ‘doing more with less’ or consuming fewer material resources to sustain our communities, homes and economy.  The model builds on sharing, reusing and reinventing materials to meet our needs and replaces the current ‘take, make, dispose’ model. We are now developing a whole-of-Government strategy to ensure Ireland transitions to a Circular Economy and avails of the opportunities the circular economy can provide.  These opportunities include reducing waste, shrinking our carbon footprint, supporting local and regional economic development, growing new business models and providing skilled employment opportunities.

The draft Strategy sets out what is a circular economy, why Ireland needs to achieve a circular economy and how national policy will develop to support that goal.

It has 5 key objectives:

  • To provide a national policy framework for Ireland’s transition to a circular economy;
  • To support and implement measures that significantly reduce Ireland’s circularity gap, in both absolute terms and in comparison with other EU Member States, so that Ireland’s rate is above the EU average by 2030;
  • To raise awareness amongst households, business and individuals about the circular economy and how it can improve their lives;
  • To support and promote increased investment in the circular economy in Ireland with a view to delivering sustainable, regionally balanced economic growth and employment; and
  • To identify and address the economic, regulatory, and social barriers to Ireland’s transition to a more circular economy.

The final strategy will provide an important policy signal across the system and the markets that Ireland is committed to a transition to circularity. The government had committed to producing this strategy under the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy.

Our transition to a circular economy will require a whole of society effort. To help communities make the transition to a circular economy, the government has launched a new Circular Economy Innovation Grant Scheme (CEIGS). This grant scheme aims to support innovation and circular economy projects by social enterprises, voluntary and community organisations and businesses with less than 50 employees.  The total CEIGS is €250,000 for the 2021 call. The maximum year 1 grant available will be €50,000 – the indicative funding range for projects is €10,000 – €50,000.

Applications for funding could focus on the thematic areas which relate to priorities for the circular economy in Ireland:  plastics, construction & demolition waste, food waste and resources & raw materials (electrical and electronic equipment, textiles, furniture). Some examples (for illustration purposes) of the type of proposals for funding that could be considered are:

  • Redesign of products or packaging to replace non-recyclable plastic with recyclable plastic or replace virgin plastic with recyclable plastic.
  • Redesign of products for ease of recycling at end-of-life.
  • Circular construction products (products that can be reused or with increased lifespan).
  • Selective/Green demolition to enable removal of hazardous materials and facilitate reuse and recycling.
  • Promoting innovative waste prevention solutions across the food production and food processing sectors.
  • Implementing technical and behavioural interventions to reduce food waste in commercial settings.
  • Reducing the content of hazardous substances in materials and products.
  • Increase recovery of listed critical raw materials.

 In line with the measures proposed in the Waste Action Plan, today also sees the launch of a consultation on Ireland’s new Circular Economy Programme, led by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This new programme builds on fifteen years of leadership by the EPA on waste prevention, including Ireland’s well-regarded food waste prevention campaign and the development of national guidance on priority topics such as Construction Waste Management and Green Public Procurement. Through its work in this area the EPA also supports Dublin’s Rediscovery Centre as the National Centre for the Circular Economy; and Circuleire – the National Circular Manufacturing Platform.

The new EPA Circular Economy Programme will be a driving force for Ireland’s move to a circular economy by businesses, householders and the public sector. It is founded on the waste hierarchy which identifies Prevention as the priority, to be followed by Re-Use; Repair; and Recycling. Activities within the programme will be focussed on the sectors that use the most resources and where the potential for circularity is high. Through the programme EPA will provide insights and data to support national circular economy policy and behavioural change campaigns. Early examples of this approach will be the development of target-driven roadmaps on Food Waste and Plastics to articulate sectoral actions required to achieve a national shift to circularity. The successful model of partnership working will also be continued and developed, with a new collaboration to grow Ireland’s reuse & repair culture.

The programme objectives are to:

  • Provide leadership to improve coherence on the development and regulation of the circular economy in Ireland.
  • Maintain a competitive programme of supports to drive the circular economy through providing innovation grants and seed-funding to nationally-relevant initiatives.
  • Implement actions that build knowledge and an evidence base to inform circular economy development in Ireland, and to report on progress towards circularity.
  • Realise the enterprise opportunity by supporting new business models; promoting resource efficiency; and retaining material value through enhanced use of secondary/recycled materials.

The public consultation on the Programme is open until 17:30, 11 June 2021.

Speaking at the launch of the programme today, Laura Burke, Director of the EPA said:

The EPA Circular Economy Programme supports government strategy and will translate national circular ambitions into the daily activities of workplaces and homes across Ireland. Creating a resource-efficient economy and resilient society requires rapid and far-reaching transformation across all sectors. This new programme will work with business leaders, public-sector exemplars and the public to change our attitudes to consumption and to develop new opportunities that meet consumer needs while reducing waste and carbon emissions. We look forward to hearing from our stakeholders with their views on the programme’s objectives and priorities.


Xplore Gort App was launched on the 10th May 2021 at Kilmacduagh

Xplore Gort App was launched on the 10th May 2021 at Kilmacduagh

The highly-anticipated Xplore Gort App was launched on the 10th May 2021 at Kilmacduagh, Irelands largest round tower in the presence of Minister of State Anne Rabbitte, Laura Tannian, Enterprise Development Manager of The Forge Works, Elodie Golden CEO of Wild Geese, Jonathan Madden, COMWORKS and Maevita De Barros representing the Xplore Local team.

Xplore is a digital infrastructure for towns developed by Galway based company, Booniverse Limited. The platform’s simplistic design allows users to interact with a variety of towns without having to download multiple apps or visit multiple websites. Users enable location services or select a region to simply stay local.

Gort has now become part of Xplore’s growing network of towns that extends from Galway to Kerry, from Cork to Carlow. The launch is indicative of a wider movement in towns across the country, where enterprising locals are seeking out new and efficient ways to boost their local economies, attract tourists and promote their towns’ amenities.

Laura Tannian and her team have been working tirelessly over the past number of months to get the app ready for release. 


Speaking on how the app will be of benefit to the local economy, Minister Rabbitte:

Even before the pandemic, small businesses based in rural areas were already having to change the way they marketed their products and services and appeal to new clientele. 

For some small businesses and start-ups — such as artisan food-makers who may be working from their home kitchens — Rabbitte says the app allows them to harness ‘alternative ways of marketing with the app giving you directions to the middle of nowhere, giving you the business telephone number,  bringing you to their webpage, their social profiles.  One feature I find fantastic myself is the share button which allows the user to share a profile page to friends and family.

Anne continued: 

That’s the wonderful thing about the app: there’s something in it for everyone…from the local news, to the business profile, from the hikes and trails, to the local history brought to life – there’s something for all ages — and it’s simple to use.

Xplore Gort aims to better serve the needs of locals and tourists alike — especially in times like these when shopping and exploring locally has never been more important.

With retailers reopened for Click and Collect since May 4th, local businesses are sure to be delighted with the e-commerce features of the app. Hospitality won’t be forgotten either when they reopen, with access to features that highlight their services, people and community impact.  

Commenting on the launch, Xplore COO James Finan said:

We are delighted to be in partnership with Gort, the response has been amazing and it shows how valuable and needed something like the Xplore Gort App is. We are now working with the communities in Galway, Fermoy, Tralee, Clonakilty, Portumna & Youghal to keep them up to date and are currently preparing Killarney and Bagenalstown for rollout. We want Xplore to matter — to our clients, to our people, and in our communities — both here in Ireland and other communities around the world, wherever we do business. I would be very happy to speak with any group who wants this for their town.

You can download the app here: (this link will take readers to the IOS or android stores depending on their phone type.