Host In Ireland
Garry Connolly, Founder and President, Host in Ireland, and Sean Hogan, Sustainability + Research Sector Lead, Director, RKD Architects, speaking at the Data Centres & Critical Infrastructure Summit at the National Construction Summit 2023.

Host in Ireland was founded in 2014 to increase awareness of how and why digital infrastructure coming from Ireland – with global and Irish companies – plays a unique role worldwide.


With more than 50 partners from across the digital infrastructure ecosystem, Host in Ireland operates under a spirit of “co-opetition”. Through the group, competitors come together to engage and support actions promoting the capabilities of Ireland as a centre of data excellence and Irish-based companies as global leaders in data centre development.

Host in Ireland

Founder and President of Host in Ireland Garry Connolly and the proactive team behind the organisation captured the zeitgeist of the data centre boom in Ireland, and it has grown with its members to a point where it is playing an active part in the roll-out of data centres across Europe and beyond.

National Construction Summit 2024

At the upcoming National Construction Summit on 18 April at the Sport Ireland Campus, Blanchardstown, Host In Ireland will stage the ‘Data Centres & Critical Infrastructure Summit’, at which, amongst other issues to be tackled, they will ask the question: “Is Ireland destined to become a secondary data hosting location?”

Speakers on the day will include Dave McAuley,; Chris Collins, Schneider Electric; Gary Watson, Keppel DC; Maurice Mortell, Ethos Engineering; Anthony McDermott, Mitchell McDermott; and Lisa Duignan, Turner & Townsend.


Irish data centre service companies

Speaking to Irish Construction News before the Summit, Garry Connolly observes that Irish firms working in the data centre field are well in demand and showcasing their expertise and capabilities on the world stage.

“When we started, our members were the people operating or working on data centres in Ireland. Ten years later, most of our members are designing, building, operating and supplying services to the data industry globally. Today, only 20% of our members are focussed on Ireland; the other 80% are operating across Europe and further afield.”

He adds: “This should come as no surprise, as the food chain of FDI in Ireland goes back a long way. Irish companies have always learned quickly from FDI clients and evolved to meet their needs as they looked to grow their operations in other countries.

International opportunities

“Irish companies scaled up and expanded into Europe because they had learned how to deliver at the likes of Intel or Pfizer in the noughties. When the new asset class of data centres came to Ireland, they were ready, and when clients looked at mainland Europe, Irish firms were also ready. On any data centre project in Europe at the moment, I would think between 40% to 60 % of the people on them are Irish.”

Connolly points out that 20 years ago, Ireland was the world’s largest exporter of floppy disks and CD-ROMs. “Ireland has succeeded with data centres because they are the next iteration of what came before.”


Data centre activity in Ireland

Currently, there is little new data centre development activity in Ireland. The sector is fulfilling a cycle of centres in the system, and Garry Connolly notes there haven’t been any new connections accepted by the grid suppliers for nearly four years. However, there is still substantial investment going into existing centres.

“There is little or no new data centre building in the pipeline at the moment. However, refurbishing existing centres will keep contractors busy for the next few years. An interesting observation made at a recent Host in Ireland meeting was that in the new data centre hotspots across Europe where centres are being built, the value of investment is still much lower than what is being spent in Ireland in retrofits.”

In conclusion

In closing, Garry Connolly notes that as so many Irish contractors and service providers are working on projects overseas, they are not too concerned about the lack of new build activity in Ireland. Some would say contractors were prepared for it.

“When the Apple data centre in Athenry debacle happened, many contractors surmised that too many assets were tied up in Ireland. So, they spread the risk and strengthened their overseas operations, and they haven’t looked back. That is why 80% of the data centre supply chain in Ireland is engaged elsewhere. This is a more sustainable proposition for them in the long run,” he concludes.

To learn more about Host in Ireland, visit

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