In glorious hot sun in Laois today, the ribbon was cut to open a building that has been transformed from a traditional convent school to a stylish and hi tech business hub.
BloomHQ in the former Brigidine convent in Mountrath offers 40 business spaces for start-ups and commuters taking a break from the daily slog to Dublin, with a range of hot desks and meeting rooms as well as an on-site gym, showers, canteen and gardens.
It was officially opened by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan on June 27.
"This is a really good day for Laois, starting with a strong vote of confidence by An Post in their Portlaoise sorting office. Here in Mountrath you have created state of the art top drawer facilities. Mountrath is on the move and it is open for business," he said.
The centre is supported by Mountrath Community Forum, who have 17 projects throughout the town to restore life in it.
Martin Meade, the manager of Telfords and a local farmer is Chairman.
"A year ago we started this development and we are thrilled to bits seeing how it is going to work now and what we can offer in the community. We delegated BloomHQ to Edward Dunne, CEO of Síol, and the time and effort that he, June and Andrea they have put into it has been brilliant, they are a godsend to Mountrath," he said.
He also thanked Laois County Council, the builder Joe Hearns and Laois business support network.
Laois County Council CEO John Mulholland had high praise for the centre.
"The transformation has been truly remarkable, it is outrageously good. We want to make the most of that imbalance in the country where Dublin rates are so high. Our surveys showed that nearly 11,500 people are leaving the county every day. We can change what we have been taking for granted," he said.
The IDA was represented at the launch by Ken Whitelaw, manager of Midlands Regional Business Development.
"It is a superb legacy for the Brigidine sisters to hand over, and it is encouraging to see such a professional job, the design team were very clued in to know what the requirements are of workers and businesses these days. We will be marketing it internationally and to our overseas teams as a landing space to companies coming to Ireland for the first time, as with all the 20 or 30 hubs springing up around the midlands. It's a tidal wave out there and the clock won't be turning back," he said.
BloomHQ is representing Laois in the national Pride of Place competition.