Why Sligo – Living, Working, and Doing Business in the Northwest of Ireland

Sligo is the base of our operations here at Arrotek. We moved into a new purpose-built facility in 2019 following a significant investment, and we are part of a strong and growing medical device industry in Ireland’s northwest.

Why Sligo, though? What is Sligo like, and what does it have to offer? These are questions we are regularly asked by clients from Europe and elsewhere in the world. Ideally, we’d like to bring you here so you can see first-hand what is on offer not just in Arrotek’s state-of-the-art facility, but in the region more generally.

As a taster, however, here are the main things you should know about living, working, and doing business in Sligo, and also why those who live here are so passionate about the region.

Sligo – an Introduction

Sligo is located in the northwest of Ireland on the Atlantic coastline. It is a bustling city with a vibrant community, making it a popular destination for companies and professionals looking for an alternative to cities like Dublin and Cork.

“Life is Sligo” is the catchphrase of the chamber of commerce here in Sligo, giving a strong indication of the importance of achieving a good work-life balance.

It is a city that offers modern living with cutting-edge companies providing a range of professional opportunities in a location surrounded by natural beauty where the recreational choices are limitless.

This video from Sligo Chamber of Commerce perfectly captures what it is like living and working in Sligo:

The Headlines

Talk to anyone who has lived and worked in another part of the world and now lives in Sligo, and they will give you five main reasons why Sligo is the ideal location:

  • Cost of living – renting a home costs 50 percent less than it does in Ireland’s capital, Dublin. Childcare is more affordable, too, as are a range of other living expenses. Buying your own home is also considerably cheaper in Sligo.
  • Short commutes – the average commute in Sligo is less than 25 minutes.
  • Career opportunities – there is a range of different companies in Sligo that offer excellent career opportunities, particularly in fields like medical devices, pharmaceuticals, technology, and engineering.
  • More disposable income – the combination of good career opportunities and a lower cost of living gives people in Sligo more disposable income.
  • Work-life balance – this point is fifth on this list, but it is often cited as the most important reason for choosing Sligo. Achieving a healthy work-life balance is a crucial part of Sligo life and is a priority for employees and employers alike.

To further highlight the above, a survey of professionals who moved to Sligo and nearby counties Donegal and Leitrim found that 91 percent would recommend the choice to others.

The Location

Sligo is nestled in an idyllic location with a mountainous backdrop to the east that sweeps down to the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

As a result, Sligo is a hotspot for surfing and swimming locations in the Atlantic Ocean. In terms of surfing, we’re not just talking regular surfing, either, as surfers in Sligo have access to some of the best waves in Europe from beaches including Easkey, Strandhill, and Mullaghmore. Surfers from all over the world visit this region to experience its waves.

The Business Community

Sligo has an active and highly energetic start-up environment as well as strong initiatives to attract investment in the area. There is a blend of local companies and international corporations in the region, including a strong cluster of pharmaceutical, medical device, and technology companies.

Companies in the life sciences sector that have facilities in Sligo include AbbVie, Abbott, Phillips Medisize, and B.Braun Hospicare.

Many of these companies have significant operations. AbbVie, for example, operates two facilities and employs over 400 people. It recently invested €85 million in its Sligo plants and has plans for further investment. The company also has a strong history with the city that dates back decades – it opened its first plant in Sligo in 1974.

There are also a number of local companies in the life sciences sector, including Arrotek.

It’s not just life sciences, technology, and engineering, though, as Sligo also has a strong tourism and creative sector. The latter is interwoven with the heritage and history of the city, not least because WB Yeats, one of Ireland’s most famous poets, lived in Sligo and was inspired by the region.

Living in Sligo

Sligo’s bustling city centre has excellent restaurants, plus you will find other great eateries elsewhere in the local area. This has made Sligo a popular destination for foodies.

The city also has great shops and a buzzing nightlife scene, and there are plenty of activities and sports to get involved in, from golf to surfing. In terms of golf, we have some of the best golf courses in the world right on our doorstep, including Rosses Point, Enniscrone, and Castle Dargan.

Sligo is also known as the adventure capital of Ireland with facilities like the Coolaney National Mountain Bike Centre, mountain walks to the top of Knocknarea and Benbulben, activities like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, and much more.

For something more nourishing and relaxed, the region is famous for its seaweed baths.

Education in Sligo

There are several excellent primary and secondary schools in and around Sligo. The city is also home to the Sligo Institute of Technology, a third-level educational centre that offers a range of courses and has strong links with the business community, including with companies in the life sciences sector. Sligo IT is set to become a Technological University in 2022.

St. Angela’s College is also in Sligo. It is a college of NUI Galway, so it is part of the National University network providing a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Transport and Travel

Traffic congestion is minimal in Sligo city, even during rush hour periods. Any time spent in traffic is measured in minutes rather than hours.

As for getting around, Ireland West Airport is just 45 minutes away. Its regular schedule includes flights to many European countries, including the UK, Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy. Dublin city is a 2-hour, 40-minute drive by car, while Dublin city centre can also be reached by train.

Experiencing Sligo

This article is being written at the start of summer 2021, when travel restrictions are still in place. As soon as the opportunity presents itself, the team at Arrotek would love to show you in-person what Sligo has to offer as well as our facility here. Here is a video tour of our facility as a sneak preview: