Feb 09, 2017

Dublin’s tech community, data, and Liberties’ coffee – first impressions from The Digital Hub’s new CEO

Fiach Mac Conghail will blog occasionally and in his first post for TheDigitalHub.com, he shares his experience of The Digital Hub campus so far and some surprising things he has learnt.

Fiach Mac Conghail, CEO of The Digital HubFiach Mac Conghail, recently took up the role of CEO of The Digital Hub, Dublin. Over the last number of months, he has been getting to know the almost 100 companies based at The Digital Hub’s office space, the team behind our Community Learning Initiatives, the learners – young and old – that attend our digital learning programmes, and our neighbours in this most historic area of Dublin city.


Dublin is small, and Dublin 8 is smaller still, but its size is one of the reasons why we are such a great city for business and the business of tech.

In my first weeks on the job, I have had the privilege of meeting some inspiring people working for enterprises within The Digital Hub. I bumped into Brendan Cannon who I knew from the ‘We the Citizens’ project;  Brendan is now CEO of Adaptive, an exciting company that moved into The Digital Hub last year. They operate in the metadata space. As a Dublin football supporter, I was interested to hear that GAA star, Bernard Brogan, is a Director and investor in the company.

Lonely Planet Ireland at The Digital Hub
Nóirín dropped over a great book, which distracted me from work, by transporting me from The Digital Hub to exotic locations all over the world!

Well-known former journalist, Nóirín Hegarty, is ‎Operations Director with Lonely Planet, Ireland and leads a team here, who provide support to over 200 writers worldwide for all the company’s media platforms.


Ben Hurley of NDRC & Fiach Mac Conghail of The Digital Hub
I received a great welcome from Ben and all NDRC team, who filled me in on their exciting plans.

Last week, I caught up with Ben Hurley, CEO of NDRC. Ben has been at NDRC at The Digital Hub since 2007. The Guinness Enterprise Centre are a neighbour of ours too. They are literally within a stone’s throw of The Digital Hub. Eamonn Sayers heads up the great community there and has been fantastic in extending invitations to companies at The Digital Hub to various events at their space. The centre also has a great cafe for lunch.

I was delighted to speak at the First Friday Brekkie at the Office of the Dublin Commissioner for Startups last week, where I met Niamh Bushnell and Sarah Leahy. On my way back from the Brekkie, I dropped into Patrick Walsh, MD of Dogpatch Labs. Like ourselves, Dogpatch have a great community – a real mix of startups both Irish and FDI.

I’m excited to be leading a great team at The Digital Hub and getting to know the companies here. There is potential at our campus, not to mention in the community in which we are based. This is a wonderful part of Dublin city to work, socialise and live in and I’m excited about how The Digital Hub can contribute to the area in a positive way.



Data is everything!

One of the sectors that I’m finding fascinating is Big Data. Adaptive, who I mentioned already, are not the only company at The Digital Hub operating in this area. We also have Consumer Data Protection (CDP), TIBCO, and Primeur.

It’s been really interesting for me to learn about the need for businesses to understand what data they have on their servers, why they are keeping it, how long they are storing it for and is there anything in that data that holds potential for improving a business process, saving money or inspiring a new product.


The goodwill that exists between The Digital Hub and the wider community.

It has been great to hear how so many people working across our campus really love this area of Dublin city, and how the residents that attend our D8 Surfers Club and the young people on our Future Creators programme are excited and inspired by what goes on at our campus.

We joined forces with two of our neighbours – the National College of Art and Design and H2 Learning (based at The Digital Hub) – on an EU project that culminated in an informative conference at NCAD recently. It shared the Digital Pathways set of materials that can be used by anyone working with young people to run workshops that develop their digital literacy skills. View the lesson plans, tips and links to resources here.


This little pocket of the inner city Dublin never fails to surprise.

Before I took up this role, I was well aware of the Liberties, having lived here for many years, but I was surprised to learn that the work of two renowned international artists can be seen on a little cobbled street outside one of our buildings.

‘Sean’s Spiral’ by world-renowned sculptor, Richard Serra is embedded in the road outside our Digital Exchange building, and the words “Stone upon Fallen Stone” can be seen on the wall of Vathouse 7. That’s a piece from Lawrence Weiner, who was a central figure in the formation of conceptual art in the 1960s and he has left us with the Irish translation too!


The top-notch coffee shops in the Liberties.

I am spoiled for choice for great coffee! From the local institution that is Manning’s to newcomers like The Riddler, Two Pups, the Dublin Cookie Company and Legit.

To find out more on all things Liberties and what the area has to offer, I’d recommend LibertiesDublin.ie as a great source of info.