Smart Villages support in Ireland

How is the concept of Smart Villages defined?

According to the ‘Smart Villages Curriculum’ commissioned by Kilkenny Partnership Company and 13 other Local Development Companies in Ireland:
Smart Communities have a well-managed register of local assets and regularly review these assets to ensure they form part of local action plans.
The community has an effective internal communication system to allow all local stakeholders to be regularly updated on local activities and development projects that interest them.
Smart Communities have clear external communications system to engage with other communities, regional stakeholders, and visitors to maximise opportunities for the community.
A Smart Community is one which readily shares its experience & know-how. It is a community that actively seeks to learn from the experience of similar teams in communities locally, regionally, and internationally.
A smart community leverages the benefits of a variety of digital tools to help understand, manage, and develop local opportunities for all
Smart Communities use a framework to effectively and regularly capture local data and use this data to make evidence based decisions on all aspects of local development.
Suitable data can be gathered through targeted stakeholder surveys, mechanical data loggers (hardware), and from public “Open data” sources e.g. Census or live register data.
Smart Communities actively seek to understand and document the needs, interests and skills of local residents with the aim of supporting all local volunteers to play an active role in the development of their community.
The community understand the importance of effective management and training of local volunteers, have clear onboard framework for local volunteers and have proactive succession planning approach
Smart Communities recognise the essential requirement for local goal setting, idea generation, project scheduling, community reporting and overall community planning .
They prepare, manage and implement their community plan in a collaborative, transparent and sustainable manager. Strong governance processes and structures are in place to support collaborative planning and working.
The community manages a pipeline of local project interventions which volunteers, sponsors & supporters can engage and participate in.
Smart Communities appreciate differences of opinion and implement mechanisms to ensure such difficulties don’t affect the overall objectives of the community.
Smart Communities have transparent accounting procedures and policies. They employ good financial decision making.

Is digital a key feature of Smart Villages?

Yes, Digital facilitation is named component of the 10 principals of the Smart Villages definition, and also numerous other principals are heavily related to digital tools to facilitate including, communications and data & feedback metrics to maximise performance. Villages are starting to adopt IoT policies across Ireland with enthusiasm.

Is social innovation a key feature of Smart Villages?

Yes. While social innovation is not a specified key feature of the definition, social innovation underpins the entire concept of Smart Villages. Every part of the definition of Smart Villages directly relates to social innovation.

How is the CAP supporting Smart Villages?

John Gorman (Regional Telecommunications Development Unit, DRCD)


Dympna Harney (Assistant Principal Officer – LEADER Policy and Operations Unit)


CAP 2014-2020

Direct Smart Villages interventions


LEADER intervention supports Smart Villages by providing funding for Smart Village projects. LEADER has been the primary funder of smart village plans across Ireland. The Smart Village Manual Commissioned by the Local Development Company ‘Smart Village’ Partnership was funded through the LEADER platform

CAP 2021-2027

Direct Smart Villages interventions


LEADER will continue to provide funding for community Smart Villages planning, and Community Smart Village projects like Internet of Things (IoT) projects for Irish communities.

Dr Shane Conway (Researcher) Email :

CAP Network support

Collection of specific examples/ good practices

Annual conference organised with focus on Smart Villages

NRN newsletter with Smart Villages information

Smart Villages Thematic Group

How are other policies supporting Smart Villages?

Part of the Our Rural Futures project led by the department of Rural and Community Development, provides up to 200,000 euro for digital innovation projects across Ireland.

Smart Rural 27 – Smart Villages Taskforce

Smart Villages in Ireland

Want to get involved or know more on what Smart Rural 27 is doing in Ireland? Contact us!

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