The Evolution of Tech in Ireland


The History of technology in Ireland
Like much of the world, Ireland has evolved greatly when it comes to technology. Once a predominantly agriculture-based economy with mass emigration, in recent decades the speed of change has been radical in every respect, encompassing technological, social and cultural developments.

But maybe the most impactful of these changes has been the innovations with technology – and while the industrial revolution of tech is truly global, the reality is that Ireland finds itself at the very heart of this worldwide revolution.


2022 – Technology in Ireland

At present, Ireland is considered an important European tech leader with Dublin being amongst the most important hubs of tech innovation on the continent. With massive multinationals such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and AirBnb located here (to name but a few) – there is an explosion of demand for top talent to meet the requirements of the tech sector. From Artificial Intelligence to Cyber-security, all facets of technology are in a significant growth phase.

What the future holds for 2022 and beyond remains to be seen, but based on recent history and current trends, tech will be a core component of the Irish success story. However for now, let’s take a step back and acknowledge some key milestones along the Irish journey to a title we can rightly claim –  as a European Centre of Excellence for Tech.


1866 – The first Transatlantic Cable Message

Hard to believe but a transatlantic cable from Valentia Island in Kerry to Heart’s content in Newfoundland allowed for the first ever cable message from Europe to the Americas (It went from Queen Victoria to the US President James Buchanan). The cable which incredibly stretched over 1,686 nautical miles placed Valentia Island as the heart of global communications for the next century… long before the technologies that we take for granted today.


1920s – Electricity comes to Ireland

Arguably the biggest game changer in Irish life since the formation of the state was the arrival of Electricity. Although officially introduced in 1880 with the installation of the first public electric street lamp in Dublin, it was between 1929 and 1979 that  99% of homes were connected to the National Grid (The ESB was formed in 1927). While it was a gradual process, with many areas particularly in rural Ireland, not getting electric until well into the 1950s and 60s, it changed everything… From quietness and darkness across the land to the bright lights, electricity laid the foundation for what was to come.


1957 – The first official computer in Ireland

At this point in time, computers were very different to what we know now. In fact, many machines were designed for number crunching on a scale that was rarely needed by companies and organisations in countries as small as Ireland. It was the Irish Sugar company that stored a program computer in 1957. Although the system was not successfully utilised until 1960!


1960s – The appliances that changed households forever

Electric cookers, dishwashers and automatic washing machines were the latest trends in Ireland from the late 1960s on. Prior to these machines, housework was a lot more arduous. Sold as a lifestyle changer as much as an appliance – these appliances have and continue to make daily life that bit easier and efficient in Ireland.


1991 – The Arrival of the Internet

On June 17th 1991, Trinity College became the first organisation in Ireland to connect to the emerging internet. This was a significant milestone in the Irish technological journey. As many of you will still remember, this did not mean the internet as we know today, arrived in Ireland. No, instead for several years,  Dial-up internet was commonplace in many houses across the country. This often-required patience and is unrecognisable to online browsing experience we have today. With the rise of Fibre Broadband and now 5G, the internet is widely available at unprecedented speeds.


2010s – The Rise of the SmartPhone

Although the first Iphone was available to buy in Ireland in 2008, it was the following decade that it really became engrained in Irish society. Coinciding with the explosion of social media in our everyday lives, the smartphone has fundamentally changed how we view and interact with the world. From the power of instant video calls to online banking all available in your pocket, it has undoubtedly been a major tech development in Ireland and the world.


FDI  – The attraction of Ireland in the 21st Century.

Despite the fact the first multinational corporation was set up by Henry Ford in 1917, there were many years without Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). After a change of government policy in the 1950s, Ireland moved away from protectionism. Slowly over the years, more and more companies saw Ireland as a place to do business. With a highly educated and English-speaking workforce in the EU, Ireland has become a very attractive and viable option. This is particularly true for US firms. So far this century, companies such as Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Electronic Arts have all set up operations in Ireland.

Ireland has also become quite an important hub for data centres – as many companies identify Ireland as an ideal location for this purpose. Furthermore, the tech start-up scene is also blooming in Ireland for similar reasons.


In Conclusion

Ireland has changed in very fundamental ways over the course of the last century. From its humble beginnings in a pre-electric era to the explosion of the tech and the vibrant start-up scene – Ireland is now at the centre of the digital revolution. Technology is paramount to the Irish economy and everyday life. As a growing industry with many opportunities, our courses are very much in line with the demands of the workplace for 2022 and well beyond.

If you would like to know more about upskilling yourself to open new opportunities, and to learn about courses that will help you build the right skills in technology, please do contact us 

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