Tales of a Gigabit town: Why Skibbereen?

The Baltimore Beacon, Skibbereen. Picture credit: Vodafone / Fiona Graham

Ireland’s first gigabit rural town, Skibbereen, has a population of around 2,000. The market town as we know it today has a history that stretches back to 1631.

It was founded by survivors of the Sack of Baltimore, a village downriver from Skibbereen.

On 20 June 1631, Baltimore was attacked by pirates. 107 of the inhabitants were taken prisoner, becoming slaves in North Africa, while survivors moved to Skibbereen.

Over the years the town has played its part in significant moments in Irish history.

It was one of the worst affected areas during the Great Famine of the 1840s. It played a role in the fight for Irish independence, while becoming an important hub in the region, with a gasworks, railway station, and two newspapers.

Agnes Mary Clerke was born in Skibbereen in 1842 – the Clerke Crater on the moon is named after her. And local man Percy Ludgate designed an analytical engine similar to the one conceived by Charles Babbage.

Which is where the Ludgate Hub gets its name. The co-working space in the centre of the town is leading a revival of the town’s fortunes, powered by gigabit connectivity provided by SIRO, a partnership between Vodafone Ireland and ESB.

It’s the indomitable spirit that marks Skibbereen’s history and a strong sense of community that built the Ludgate Hub and brought the fibre that’s changing the future of the town.

So how did it happen? Watch and find out more.

Tales of a Gigabit town is a regular series on Gigalife. We’ll be telling the stories of the people living in and around Skibbereen over the next few months.

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