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Last Update: Tuesday June 18, 2019

In Search of the Best Businesses of Ireland

We Are Taking A Tour of Ireland

Come with us as we take a tour of Ireland!  There are the six geographical market areas in the Republic of Ireland and two within Northern Ireland.  There will be no less than five lists. Every geography and every list will have related tours.  Although the primary focus will be on those businesses that are cited on prioritized lists by geography and by local business advocates, your recommendations are important, too.  Take a tour of Ireland and tell us about sensational businesses that you have discovered.  Every such recommendation will be highly regarded. Such businesses are especially worthy of everyone's attention. Current tour...

 Parsing the lists of businesses

All business throughout Ireland are worthy of being evaluated. So, just like with Wikipedia, anybody can add a business to a list and post the pictures and results of your tour. All businesses listed in such a manner will be open to being rated on a simple 1-to-5.  Good businesses  will be added to the "By Geography" list.  It is this list that will be prioritized by local business advocates.  Again, listings will be:
(1)  alphabetical for the entire island,
(2)  alphabetical by industry,
(3)  alphabetical by the seven geographies,
(4)  alphabetical by the oldest businesses on the island, and
(5)  alphabetical of the youngest with the most employees.

Each of these lists will be posted within a dynamic site, much like Wikipedia, where anybody can edit or comment on a business.  However, the prioritized list will have limited access for editing.  It will be restricted to the business owner or designated business business representative and to the business advocates with a vote.  More... 

The Seven Designated Market Areas 

Currently the seven areas that define island of Ireland are: Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Galway,  Waterford and Londonderry-Letterkenny.

#1  The Greater Dublin Designated Market Area,  1.8 Million.  Based on the largest  and oldest city, (530,000 people), Dublin is Market #1 with an approximate broadcast-market population of 1.8 million people, clearly one-third of the country’s population of about five million people.

#2 The Greater Belfast Designated Market, 1.2 million.  The city population of 334,000 includes over 560,000. The broadcast market is about 1.2 million which includes the counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, and ther largest part of of the 1.8 million people in Northern Ireland.

#3 The Greater Cork Designated Market Area, 550,000.  The city of Cork, the county of Cork plus significant part of the counties of Clare and Tipperary.  This area includes key significant towns of Dingle, Tralee, Killarney, and Kinsale. The total estimated population is around 550,000.

#4 The Greater Limerick Designated Market Area, 450,000. The city of Limerick, the county of Limerick and parts of the counties of Clare and Tipperary, this market area includes key significant towns of Ennis, Adare, and Newcastle.

#5 The Greater Galway Designated Market Area:  400,000.  The city of Galway (80,000), the county of Galway (220,000), Mayo (130,000), Sligo (65,000) and Roscommon (63,000).  It includes key significant towns of Athlone Westport, Castebar, Ballina, and Sligo.

#6 Waterford Designated market: 300,000. The city of Waterford (50,000), the county of Waterford (120,000), and pafrt of the counties of Tipperary, Kilkenny , Carlow and Wexford  (180,000).  It includes key significant towns of Kilkenny, Clommel, and Wexford.

#7 Donegal County, Letterkenny by itself would be the smallest market.  For geographical reasons alone, we add Londonderry and a additional 300,000 population from the general area. The seventh market will be County Donegal; the principal town is Letterkenny with a total population of 147,000.  In Donegal county there are approximately 4454 businesses and we will have  a goal to find the best 44 businesses.

The Oldest Businesses of Ireland

First we will develop a substantial list of all businesses that are over 100 years old. Then we will prioritize that list by those businesses still owned by the founding family.

1.  Athlone  Sean's Bar claims to be the oldest pub dating back to 900 AD. In 2004
Guinness World Records listed Sean's Bar as the oldest pub in Europe.

2.  Dublin   20 Bridge Street Lower  The Brazen Head can be traced back to a coach house established in 1198, however it's unsure how much of that original structure remains in place today. Some sources date the establishment as late as 1613-1775. 
3. Kilkenny Kyteler's Inn (1324)  on St Kieran's Street

4.  John G Rathborne Limited  Rathborne Candles have been Dublin Candlemakers since 1488.

5.  Durty Nellie's  1620 (next to the Bunratty castle)    Bunratty Co Clare (10 miles from Limerick City, 6 miles from Shannon Airport )

To have an episode of a television show that could be broadcast throughout the country (and then re-broadcast throughout the world) is a great honor.  It is good publicity.  But, the purpose of these episodes is to study in depth the processes within business that give that business staying power. The insights, knowledge, and attitudes of the people will be the enduring focus. Their work with suppliers, customers, and employees will be examined in depth. The products and services will be the third emphasis.  What makes their products and services unique? What sets them apart?   There is a long precedence for this kind of search.   More... (new window)

Number of Businesses to the Number of People: 

Population: There are close to five million people in Ireland.  Of all the countries of the world, it has a very large presence for a relatively small country.  Much of this has to do with her deep and lasting legacies where many Irish businesses are among the oldest in the world.

Number of businesses: There are 137,654 officially registered businesses in Ireland.  That is about one business for every 33 people. If we assume there is a top 1% of that total, our goal could be to identify 1400 businesses that employ people, produce excellent products and/or services, and do it all very, very well.

The general criterion:  If we are in search of best business practices, who should be included?  Certainly the oldest businesses in the country should be on the list.  They have proven by their longevity and continuity that they are doing something right.  Ethics counts.  People who do the right thing help to create order in their community, the nation and our world.  And surely, the judgments of customers, employees, and supplies are all very important.  People who teach people to think, to understand the business, and to make it better are key.  These people know how to talk about best business practices.  And, surely generosity within their communities is very important.

Key Question:  Of all the  businesses, which of the 137,654 are the best run, the most ethical, the best to their employees, the best to their communities, and the best within their industry? 

Let's find out.

The Methodology and Processes to Find 1400 Businesses

General lists (alphabetical): First, we will compile lists from every source we can find. Simple logic would suggest that there are several alphabetical listings. Lists are lists. There is no pre-qualification other than the fact that these are registered businesses within Ireland.  Quite possibly the alphabetical list could grow as large as 5000 businesses, a little less than 4% of the total. This list is just a starting point.

A second list has been started by industry. The initial list was discovered within Wikipedia.  All businesses on the alphabetical list will also be sorted by industry.  And, here we will begin identifying leaders within the respective professional and trade associations. 

A third list will be sorted by Designated Market Areas (geography). Currently,  just six DMAs have been identified so there will be six lists.  Each will focus on a county (or counties) and on the principal cities (or towns) of that region. Initially each of these lists will be circulated to all their Chambers of Commerce within that designated market area (DMA).  Then the appropriate list will also be sent to the regional economic development people.  These people will confirm the names on their list and they will have the option to add to it. 

A fourth list has been started to identify the oldest businesses in Ireland.  Those businesses which have been passed down successfully from the founding family to someone within that family will be prioritized. 

A fifth list will be started of the youngest businesses with the most employees.  Here we learn about new business formulas, new technologies, and new attitudes towards employees.

A Working Prioritized List. Each list is then recirculated to their respective Chambers and to other business leaders throughout the region and they are all asked to vote for three-to-five business owners who they would like to see "represent their county on national television and potentially on global television." 

A single, prioritized, working list

Continuity-Order:  The first principle of business makes a business predictable, then reliable, then part of one's anticipated future.  It is much more than the song suggests, Stayin' Alive; it becomes part of the patina of the community, the county and the country.

Symmetry-Relations:  The second principle of business lifts one's customer base to a higher level.  The business becomes customer centric and the future development of products and services weighs heavily on the customers' evaluation.

Harmony-Dynamics:  The third principle of business is the magic of a sustainable business.  Here there is a constant learning curve for everyone whom the business is in contact and that learning curve is sweet, inspiring, and joyful. 


These listings started with Wikipedia where any business can opt-in and be listed. This list will be checked, the owner(s) contacted, and every business that continues to be listed will be aware that they are listed here. More...


Working Notes:

Most recent page to be introduced:  (1) Ireland's independent producers (new window), (2) Chambers of Commerce and (3) Trade associations and other business associations and

Find businesses related to the following best of Ireland that are highlighted: Rick Steves tours,  Dublin walking tour, Trinity College entrepreneurs, The Book of Kells as a business metaphor, Glasnevin Cemetery & Museum,  Rock of Cashel,  Kinsale walking tour,  Charles Fort tour,  sheep farm tour,  crystal cutting demonstration, businesses along Dingle's Slea Head Drive,  Blasket Islands Heritage Centre, Gallarus Oratory, Irish musical groups, Burren nature walk as an example of attractions to an area,  Cliffs of Moher, boat builders, businesses with limited markets like Aran Islands, business associated with places like Dun Aenghus Fort, towns and villages along a way like Connemara drive,  places like the village of Cong with the Ashford Castle School of Falconry,  and places like Drumcliff. 

After more consideration is given to the cooperation with Northern Ireland,  considerations will be given for the Derry coach and walking tour, the Dunluce Castle, the Giant's Causeway,  and the Old Bushmills Distillery.

Book of Kells:  See Donegal.