Dun Laoghaire at the Dail Dojo

We had a total blast at the Dáil Dojo on Wednesday 3rd July, with the 5 attendees from Dun Laoghaire being Philip Doyle, Eric & Luke Kilmartin, Lily-Ann Cunningham and Sinead O’Carroll.  Our newest mentor, Rebekah Clarke was kind enough to volunteer to come along, and she was both impressed and impressive!  For me, it was an absolute privilege to be there; I keep being blown away by what these fantastic young people are producing.

As the Dáil AV room isn’t big enough to take all 50 coders, their parents and the mentors, we gathered in 17 Molesworth Street (the Freemasons’ Hall) from 1pm, with pizza being delivered courtesy of UPC at 2 pm.  CoderDojo t-shirts were also distributed, which is a nice keepsake from the day.  We were divided into 2 groups, Dun Laoghaire being in the second one.  The first group presented in the Dáil at 3.30 pm and the second at 4.15 pm.  Five attendees from each group were sought to present a project on the big screen in the Dáil AV room and Philip Doyle did Dun Laoghaire proud, presenting his Scratch-based Dr Who game as if he’d been public speaking since birth!

I took several photos during the afternoon, so rather than a whole load of text, I’ll tell the story in photos – hope you enjoy!.

(Click any photo to enlarge)

It was a lovely big room, there were even beanbags to sit on, and of course CoderDojo founder James Whelton was there :


Eugene McDonough (Hello World Foundation) was one of the main organisers along with Giustina (also Hello World Foundation) [Lindsay, I don’t seem to have a photo of you from today, please send me one to add in!] :


As everyone arrived, they set themselves up and got coding with no fuss (if you zoom in you can see Eric’s sticky label, all the Dun Laoghaire people will be familiar with my sticky name badges!) :


The girl in this picture here is Catrina Carrigan of CoderDojo DCU, who has developed a music website which is to be used in computing education in the UK! :


The beanbags can be seen here, with the Minister, Ciaran Cannon, talking to James Whelton in the background.  Also in the pic, towards the left, is Noel King of CoderDojo DCU.  Noel is the man behind the Coolest Project Awards. :


Lily-Ann and Sinead got settled in very quickly, and devised a really entertaining Harry Potter project (maybe you’ll show it off at one of our sessions in IADT girls?) :


Here are the pizzas just before the hordes got at them :


And a couple of minutes later! :


The location being what it was, there was some interesting furniture around.  Here’s “Queen” Mary-Anne on her “throne”, alongside her young nephew John, who visited for a short while and seemed especially pleased to be handed pizza! :


Philip Doyle of CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire gives his dad, Phil, a run through of his project 😉  :


The Kilmartin lads work away, with mum Marie keeping a watchful eye :


As you can see, the place was humming, Eric & Luke Kilmartin towards the front of this photo :


Here’s the Dun Laoghaire coding contingent (Lily-Ann has the Harry Potter project showing on her laptop) :


Rebekah and myself are also in this photo with the Dun Laoghaire coders :


Here’s Sinead and Lily-Ann outside the Dáil :


Philip Doyle with his dad Phil :


Eric & Luke Kilmartin with mum Marie :


James Whelton & Ciaran Cannon have a little chat with the audience while Eugene sets up the next presenter :


I was delighted that my very good friend and CoderDojo supporter Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, who spoke at our launch night in January, was able to come along.  Here she is with Philip Doyle just before his turn :


Philip makes his presentation (Philip, maybe you might let us put the code for your game up here?!) with not a trace of nerves, totally wowing the audience with his Dalek game based on Dr Who.  (As for me, I’m almost welling up with pride!  I mean, how many 13 year olds get to present their computer project in Dáil Eireann?!) :


I insinuate myself into a position to get into a photo with Philip Doyle and Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD :



There’s a group shot taken of us outside – which Alan of CoderDojo DCU is going to send on to me (if anyone reading this has some other photos they would like added, please feel free to pass them on!) :



So back across the road to pick up our bits and pieces, and James Whelton hangs out on the beanbags with some of the gang :



And before we leave, I make sure to get a photo of CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire hero, Philip Doyle, with CoderDojo founder James Whelton (and overhear James telling Philip he thought his game was really cool!) :


I don’t think the day could have finished on a higher note!


As I said at the beginning, a total blast of a day, enjoyed by everyone.  And thank you for reading this far –

I hope you enjoyed my recounting of the story of CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire at #DailDojo 😉

Sandra Maguire, founder of CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire (based at IADT)