​Rethinking Rural Ireland (RRI)

is a social enterprise that aims to assist small towns and communities in rural Ireland to REGROUP, REBRAND AND RELAUNCH through innovation projects.
It was established in October 2020, as part of the UCD Innovation Academy.



A generational decline is occurring in small rural Irish towns. As a result of chronic underinvestment, successive recessions, bad planning, low self-esteem and a lack of motivation, these towns feel left behind and isolated in thinking. We believe these small towns require a fresh lens to view them, in order to bring new creative ideas to tackle problems in a modern Ireland.



Our core aim is to bring back hope and motivation to these small towns. We want to create a spark through creative ideas and innovation, which will allow small towns to ‘Regroup, Rebrand and Relaunch’ and to take ownership for their own projects.



New forms of empathetic leadership are needed for these rural communities. Coupled with innovative solutions for socio-economic problems, we are planning to engage with a few towns in the Western corridor of the country.




Since our launch in October 2020, Rethinking Rural Ireland have already started to engage with two small towns, at a pilot stage, in County Roscommon. It follows consultations with the local authorities and key stakeholders. We aim to roll out our programme throughout the country in the next phase in 2021, based on our evolving prototype.