And Then There Was Ireland…

“…There use to be more Leprechauns in Ireland but then the foreigners came and found out they tasted like chicken…”  as told to me by Jerry the Cabbie.


Now Spending a few days in Ireland visiting with various automation people of one sort of another. I’m finding much of the same as I’ve found in England and other places in the world. There is a banking crisis, stock markets are down, the mortgages business is a mess and on and on but the automation business appears strong.


Liam Power of Embedded Labs in Waterford said it best. His opinion is that industrial companies are intent on coming out of this world wide downturn with new products and in position to win in the next boom. I agree. Everywhere I go, I see new product development and companies making investments in the future.

If you’re in Europe, you should get to know Liam ( He and his partner, Shane Robinson, are a terrific embedded design team. They are doing some very impressive developments for lots of major manufacturers in and around Europe and the US. Unfortunately, they are pretty well booked all the way through 2009. You’ll have to get in the “queue”, as they say over here, if you’d like Liam and Shane to do any embedded work for you. And best of all, they’ve used RTA products in their development so they’re familiar with our team.

Visited the Waterford Crystal factory yesterday. The tour shows you the Master Craftsman making Waterford Crystal the old fashion way and it is very impressive. These people are supreme artists and technicians; A Master Blower that blows air into the crystal to form it, a Master Shaper that adds handles and bases to the piece and Master Engravers that add beautiful artwork to the pieces. These people serve up to 15 years as apprentices before they can do this work. The part of the factory where they make custom pieces in the old fashion way is just incredible.


What they don’t show you on the tour is the rest of the factory. In this part of the factory they turn out thousands of standard pieces with new, modern equipment on a sophisticated assembly line process. That’s where the automation is and I missed that. But I did hit the gift shop and am shipping home some $500 of crystal clocks, shamrocks and other gifts.

A couple other interesting Ireland notes:

  1. Like everywhere else, the cab drivers are fascinating sources of information. I sometimes just get a cab to see what I can learn.
  2. There is apparently still some trouble in Northern Ireland even though we don’t hear about it in the states. Eddie, last nites cabbie, thinks it will take another 2 or 3 hundred years to resolve!
  3. The Irish country side IS the most beautiful shade of green I’ve ever seen.
  4. Even though the country is experiencing negative economic news, there is still lots of commerce going on and people are continuing to buy.


Oh, and one more note. I’ve been trying to catch a leprechaun during this visit. I figured out early in my visit that I’d have a much better chance catching a leprechaun than one of these very pretty blonde Irish lasses!