The Irish Government has set a goal to make Ireland a world leader for research, development and deployment of ocean energy technologies. Ireland has a wave energy resource of 21 TWh and an ambition is to achieve at least 500 MW installed generating capacity from ocean energy by 2020. This paper investigates what is required to move from ambition to delivery. A successful wave energy strategy will require focused policies that will stimulate innovation to develop the technologies, manufacturing to produce the devices and deployment to build the required wave power plants. The paper draws on the successful policies in Ireland that have stimulated each of these dimensions, albeit for different sectors. From 2004 to 2008, successful policies in (ICT and biotech) innovation led to an increase in Ireland's Innovation Index score from 0.48 to 0.53. The policy focus on (food and pharmaceuticals) manufacturing in Ireland resulted in high levels of economic growth over the period 1998–2002, reaching >10% GDP growth levels per annum, and full employment. Successful wind energy policies deployment has accelerated rapidly since 2003 and reached 1.2 GW installed capacity in 2009 representing 15% of Ireland's total installed capacity. The paper draws on appropriate elements of these policies to build a successful wave energy policy for Ireland. It also draws on the successful policies adopted in Denmark for innovation, manufacturing and deployment of wind energy. The Danish wind turbine manufacturers hold a world market share of approximately 40%. The paper proposes establishing a wave energy strategy group to develop an action plan to deliver the 500 MW. It also proposes a novel extension of corporate tax specifically for wave energy companies, an initial 30% capital grant scheme for wave energy developers, a grid code for wave energy devices and fast tracking of planning decisions through an amended approach to strategic infrastructure.