Dublin Tech Does SXSW 2016: The Definitive Guide

The Big Read, sponsored by Vodafone: Last year was a big one for Ireland at SXSW, what with Enda speaking at Interactive and an accompanying Irish Invasion of attendees. This year, however, our country is well represented by delegations across film, music and technology, with Dublin’s tech scene taking centre stage.

The office of the Dublin Commissioner for Startups aka Startup Dublin are bringing the Irish capital on the road with a series of celebratory events called Dublin Makes Me, comprising three different events to attract international founders, media and investors interested in knowing more about Dublin. Events have been scheduled to run back to back with those of Enterprise Ireland and the IDA – check this infographic to get times and venues – so you don’t need to worry about missing out.

Friday’s How Dublin Made Me is a must. Esther’s Follies, a comedy venue on 6th Street right in the middle of the festival, will host a night of storytelling with live music and an open bar. The theme is the role that Dublin has played in launching extraordinary careers: this one’s about Dublin as a creative hub as well as a centre of technology. Speakers include Mary Maloney, CEO of CoderDojo, Daire Hickey, co-founder of the Web Summit, Ann O’Dea, editor and founder of Silicon Republic, and Panti Bliss, crowned ‘Queen of Ireland’, national treasure and icon of the Irish LGBT rights movement, with writer Jim Carroll moderating the panel. We’ll see you there, Friday at 7pm!

For those of us who aren’t too hungover to talk business, Saturday and Sunday offer a chance to ‘Meet the Commish’. Organise a meeting with Dublin Commissioner for Startups, Niamh Bushnell or one of her team, and find out exactly what gives the Irish capital the edge. Provided their time’s not completely booked up (fill out the form here pronto) this is the perfect opportunity for anyone looking into relocation to Dublin, but unfamiliar with the legalities, the advantages and the Irish tech ecosystem. We’re also told there will be craft beer, cheese and whiskey – more than enough reason to drop by for a chat.

Finally on Sunday we’re throwing the Startup Wake, a ‘Silicon Docks’ riff on an old Irish tradition. While other cultures like to keep their funerals solemn, mannered and, well, funeral, the Irish tendency is to ‘wake’ the dead. Sadly this does not include zombies – rather, a household would lay out the deceased on a table or even prop them up in a chair, then ‘watch over’ the body for two nights, gathering friends and family for songs, stories and (you guessed it) drinking.

The startup version – already something of a tradition on the Irish tech scene – gives founders a chance to share tales of how they have learned from failure. It’s sure to be an excellent occasion for networking, commiserating, raising a glass to startup stiffs, and maybe the odd funeral dirge.

‘Mourners’ speaking on the night include Eamonn Carey of Techstars, Noeline Kavanagh of Macnas, Brian Wong from Kiip and Matt Galligan (formerly of Circa) of Digital Soap. There will also be a book of condolences, whiskey and sandwiches – forget burritos and cronuts, the humble sandwich is our unsung national snack. If you’ve ever been part of a startup that tanked and came to an untimely end, this is your chance to commemorate it. You might call it finding closure. We call it an excuse for a party. Hey, we’re Irish.

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