DojoCon2013 at Slane Castle

Here’s a few words and a selection of photos from a really fantastic day in Slane Castle.

They’re a bit random, as I was so fascinated by the place I had to take some photos that there weren’t any people in!  It was slightly weird to be discussing technology in a place constructed in the 1700s – wonder what the people around then would have made of it all.  The day was filled with positivity, enthusiasm and creativity and I think will have a very beneficial effect on the future of CoderDojo.

Some of the many people of note were:

Una Fox (@unafox) – Una, originally from Louth, and now VP in Walt Disney Company Corporate Technology group, who was MC

James Whelton (@jwhelton) – Well, if I have to tell you who James is, maybe you need to go off and do a bit of research!!!

Jerry Kennelly (@jerrykennelly) – Inspirational Keynote speaker; founder and CEO of and co-founder of Endeavour, Young Entrepreneur Programme and Junior Entrepreneur Programme, formerly CEO of Stockbyte, Ireland’s Net Visionary 2011; you may have seen him on RTE’s “Local Heroes”.  He talked about the importance of volunteering; the need to be not just consumers, but creators; and that we are in the Golden Era of ICT globally. He said “Innovation comes from small dynamic teams”.

Bill Liao (@liaonet) – As with James, if you don’t know who Bill is, maybe you need to get on the internet more often 😉

Kimberly Bryant (@6gems) – Kimberly was utterly inspirational in telling her story about founding BlackGirlsCode to meet the needs of young women of colour who are under represented in the field of technology, and received a well-deserved standing ovation.

Lord Henry Mountcharles has always been a cool guy (how many Lords invite the best rock bands in the world to play in his garden?!), so CoderDojo is a very appropriate cause for him to support.  He entertained us all with a potted history of Slane Castle, and gave Una Fox a birthday/thank you present of a bottle of Slane Castle whiskey.

The sun was shining as we arrived and had coffee in the reception hall:

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Bill Liao arrives; Una Fox kicks off in the Gothic Ballroom beside a painting of an ancestor of Lord Henry:

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James Whelton welcomes everybody; Rebecca Garcia (@geekgirlweb) presenting at the “Girls Initiative” Running a Dojo talk:

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Karen O’Connell (@karenboconnell) presenting at the “Girls Initiative” Running a Dojo talk; and Liam Friel of @CoderDojoBray giving really useful information on the first six months of running a Dojo:

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Una Fox interviews Bill Liao, then we break for lunch and see this wonderful chandelier as we ascend the stairs (some Del and Rodney jokes were to be heard!):

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Another magnificent chandelier (imagine cleaning that!!)


And a couple of views out of the window:

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Back down to the reception hall:


The rain has arrived by now, but it’s still a great view (Hey, wouldn’t this be a great place for a rock concert?!):


And here’s an indoor view of the Gothic Ballroom with its magnificent ceiling:



Panel discussion took place on “Sustaining and Growing CoderDojo Worldwide” with Rebecca Garcia, Dennis Donohoe, Shara Karasic, Michelle Graham and Martine Tempels – moderated by Paul McClean:

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Then back into group sessions again, Lindsay is the one standing (sorry the picture is soft, he moved!), and you might recognise James in the picture on the right!:

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Bill Liao makes a point during Cameron McEfee of GitHub’s talk “Better Together”; Deardriu Lally is sitting alongside; then we’re back in the Gothic Ballroom for Lord Henry Mountcharles to say a few words, which he does, in his own inimitable way (bearing in mind the fire in 1991, I better not say anything about bringing the house down!)


Now we have the pleasure of hearing Kimberly Bryant speaking about Black Girls Code, and she has an amazing story to tell; Slane Castle hasn’t been so quiet all day, everyone is listening to every word.


And, for posterity, here is Francis Reid, Liam Friel and myself!