Building the Dublin Dashboard

Imagine if Dublin had an instrument panel: a set of gauges and graphs that revealed to its residents the precise current state of their home town. Professor Rob Kitchin and his team at Maynooth did exactly that. And they built it, online. It’s called Dublin Dashboard. Dublin.ie: What’s on Dashboard right now that the ordinary person might be interested in? Robin Kitchen (RK): Probably the real time page where you can see how many spaces there are in the car parks or what the sound levels are or what the pollution levels are or how many bikes ar

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The National Library

It’s still early in the morning when I walk up the steps to the National Library. Standing on the porch, through the fence I can see the TDs totter up the path next-door, folders underarm, heading into the Government Buildings. This Kildare Street building has housed Dublin’s main public reference library since 1890, and in Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, he describes students gathering here to smoke and chat. Inside, it is quieter than even a library should be although there are a few eager types waiting in the lobby. A cleaner polishes around the bronze bust of Senator Mi

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Language Dublin: Goethe-Institut

‘Since it opened in 1961’, says the brochure, ‘the Goethe-Institut has broadened the professional and personal horizons of 50,000 people who have attended its German courses’. Currently housed in Fitzwilliam Square while it awaits the refurbishment and extension of its Merrion Square HQ round the corner, its director is Dr Thomas Lier. Thomas is from Bavaria. Don’t call him ‘Bavarian’, though. That, Dublin.ie learns, would be like calling a Cornishman ‘English’. Because Thomas is really a Franconian, from Wurzburg, and Franconia was an autonomous region until Napoleon kicked it into Bavaria. ‘Wurzburg has a very strong con

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A City of Words: Temper-Mental MissElayneous

The popularity of spoken word is on the rise in Dublin and one of the stars of the scene is Elayne Harrington, AKA Temper-Mental MissElayneous. She’s a rapper and slam poet from Finglas and a standout female performer on a male-dominated scene. Dublin.ie first saw Elayne perform at a women’s storytelling night in Temple Bar’s Project Arts Centre. With her trademark hairdo of curlers in her fringe, the bold red lips and her warrior stance, she was defiant and gutsy. She set her words to the beat

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Dublin’s Masters in Creative Writing

Creative Writing Postgraduate Programs have long been a staple of the academic world in the United States. Prominent writers, among them Raymond Carver, David Foster Wallace, and Joyce Carol Oates, have worked as creative writing professors since as far back as the seventies. Yet despite Dublin’s literary heritage and wealth of authors, it has only recently come to be recognised as a centre of excellence for such courses; now it attracts scores of hopeful young writers from around the world every year. “You can’t teach people to be creative. You can only accelerate the pace at which people are developing creatively, which is a very different matter.” These are the words of

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Museum Dublin: The Dead Zoo

You stroll in the door and you walk back in time... Back into a world of Victorian exotica. With the polished wood, the old brass fittings and the glass cases, you feel enveloped in the comfort you find in a good old pub. But this isn’t a pub. This is a place of learning. Or to be more precise, this is a place of fun. This is the “Dead Zoo” or as it is more formally called, The Museum of Natural History. Situated between Leinster House and the Attorney General’s Office, this is a real gem of a museum. It’s been going now for some 160 years and not only is it one of the oldest public museums in the country, it’s also one of the most popular. Each year some 320,000 people visit the museum and enjoy all its Victorian charms for free. “Yes it’s free in,” Education Officer of Archaeology and Natural History, Siobhán Pierce exclaims proudly. Siobhán is joined by the Education Assistant, Geraldine Breen.

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UCD’s Irish Folklore Centre

Folklore: leprechauns, legends and fireside stories, right? Not quite. If you go down to UCD today, you’ll find a very different story. From its origins with Irish folklore collectors who, from the 1920s, scrambled around the country on a mission to record traditions, the National Folklore Collection (NFC) has grown into one of the biggest and most impressive collections of folklore and oral traditions anywhere in the world. The collection itself consists of almost 4,000 volumes of bound folklore, much of it handwritten and a substantial portion of it collected by schoolchildren during a spec

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The James Joyce Centre

Have we had enough of Joyce? Never! All is quiet on a sunny morning on Dublin’s North Great George’s Street when I make my way to Number 35. The Georgian building has housed the James Joyce Centre since 1996 when the building was valiantly saved from demolition through the efforts of Senator David Norris, also a resident of the street. The house was once the location of a dance academy run by Professor Denis J Maginni, a colourful Dublin character who appears often in Ulysses, described as wearing a “silk hat, slate frockcoat with silk facings, white kerchief tie, tight lavender trousers, canary g

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DCU’s Water Institute: Solving global problems

The water wars have begun. The devastating conflict in Syria was sparked by a water scarcity that pushed people into the cities and provoked unrest, the unrest in Yemen is rooted in a water crisis. Large parts of America and Australia are feeling the strain, and experts fear a future war for water between India and China. So, forget oil: the greatest battles and conflicts of the 21st century will be over humanity’s most precious resource. Ireland, with an average of 150 days of rainfall along the east and southeast coasts to 225 days in parts of the west, might seem immune to the problems of water supply, but our policymakers are waking up to the challenge of providing s

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What’s different about Dublin?

Every year, tens of thousands of people from over 130 countries come to study in Ireland’s universities, institutes of technology and colleges. What’s bringing them here and why are they choosing Ireland? Sheila Power is director of the Irish Council for International Students. She points out that overall statistics for the number of international students are hard to pin down, but says that we need to broaden the conversation out. Ireland is an attractive destination for international students because it is perceived as friendly and safe “Ireland is an attractive destination for in

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Dublin City’s Comhairle na nÓg

The room is bustling with heated, animated conversation. There’s around 50 people gathered in three groups focusing on different areas of the problem in hand. The groups sit in circles, debating, brainstorming. You hear snippets here and there: “A PR launch in the Mansion House or Smock Alley?…Overcoming the stigma of being in care…The trauma of a kid in care turning 18 and suddenly just being thrown out onto the street?…Think in images.” We’re hearing the language of political engagement. Of lobbying. Of activism.

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Dublin architects on the world stage

Ireland is making a big impression on the international stage in terms of architecture; from the Grand Egyptian Museum to the University of Milan, we’ve left our mark on some of the world’s most renowned structures. Dublin.ie caught up with Hugh Campbell, Professor of Architecture at UCD, to find out how this small island is making such a big impression around the world. “It was an overnight success that took 30 years, in a way,” Campbell says. “We have a lot of great architecture practices here, and a very strong reputation internationally.” Architecture aside, the Irish are well connected globally. There’s more of us off the island than on, with huge cities like Sydney, London, New York and Boston all filled with first, second and third generation Irish.

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Degrees of Research

What’s being discovered at Dublin’s third-levels? Postgraduate degrees are increasingly useful for people who want to stand out in the jobs market. Much of the focus here has tended to be on taught masters programmes, but the skills picked up during a masters by research or a doctoral (PhD) programme are invaluable: you will learn about how to research and evaluate information and then effectively communicate what you have learned. We spoke to four students about their research projects and what’s next for them. Lisa Koep, PhD candidate at the school of marketing in DIT’s college o

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A Literary Tour of Dublin

Joyce, O’Casey, Beckett – you can’t even cross the Liffey without acknowledging Dublin’s literary heritage in the names of its bridges. The ubiquitous blue plaques marking writers’ birthplaces and residences are in such abundance, we can lose sight of how spoiled we are for old haunts of the literary greats: Wittgenstein on Parkgate Street, Bernard Shaw on Synge Street, Bram Stoker on Marino Crescent – even the Irish Writers’ Centre on Parnell Square. So yes, for a thorough literary tour, there is the option to get out the map and go wandering. Make a Yeatsian pilgrimage to Sandymount Avenue to

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BIMM: Music in the making

Looking for stars? Try BIMM Spotted a famous musician in Dublin recently? There’s a fair chance they were coming out of DIT’s school of commercial music. Situated on Francis Street in Dublin 8, the British and Irish Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) holds regular masterclasses for its students with world-class musicians: Imelda May, Danny O’Donoghue of The Script, Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlain and even Hozier have paid surprise visits. US singer-songwriter John Grant offered a songwriting masterclass. U2’s The Edge has attended a BIMM graduation ceremony. All of the tutors at BIMM are working mus

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Opera in the Dublin Multiplex

Opera could save the cinema – or kill itself Who likes the trailers? For many film fans, the previews of upcoming films are an integral part of the cinema experience. In recent years, however, most cinema-goers will have noticed a new phenomenon: less trailers for upcoming films and more for live opera and theatre, which is beamed into cinemas across the world. But who goes to the cinema to watch live opera and theatre? Actually, quite a few, says Christopher Morris, a professor of music at Maynooth University, who has been researching this phenomenon. His work is exploring whether live opera in

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The Enduring Legacy of George Bernard Shaw

The story of the plaque on George Bernard Shaw’s birth house on Synge Street offers a keen insight into Shaw’s relationship with his native country. The proposed wording, “He gave his services to his country, unlimited, unstinted and without price” was rejected by Shaw as “a blazing lie.” The plaque now simply refers to him as “author of many plays”. Shaw’s small Synge Street home, where he lived an impoverished youth, is perhaps a symbol of our uncertainty about Shaw. Once a museum, it now stands empty, its fate uncertain – but often the people of a city create their own monuments. Last December, the street artist Fink was working on a mural outsid

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The LGBTQ student experience in Dublin

Dublin is a friendly and welcoming place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) students. Third-levels all have LGBTQ societies, while the city’s bars, restaurants and clubs are welcoming spaces. Dublin.ie spoke to three LGBTQ students about their experience of the city. Growing up gay or bisexual can be tough. Being a young transgender person can be even harder. But in recent years, Ireland has come on in leaps and bounds. Organisations like youth support group BeLonGTo and the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (Teni) have opened up spaces for peop

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Fenu Health: From School Room to Startup

Secondary school is a time to hang out with your friends, do some study and grow as a person. But two teenage sisters at Loreto College on Stephen’s Green in Dublin have also found the time to found and develop Fenu Health, a thriving, multi-award winning equine health business with a worldwide customer base. Annie and Kate Madden, aged 15 and 16, are the eldest of four children. Annie is in third year and Kate is in fifth year. They live in Summerhill, Co Meath, with their parents and younger brother and sister. “We grew up with horses for sport, not business, and we’ve been riding since we could walk,” they say.

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NCAD: Bringing Art to the City’s Heart

Art College is a waste of time, right? Not so: The National College of Art & Design is really punching above its weight and is intent on disproving the lazy stereotypes about art students. Its annual showcase has become an art and design highlight in the city, featuring painting, product design, sculpture, fashion and more. Meanwhile, its fashion students have been awarded top prizes both here and abroad and the college is climbing the QS world college rankings. Luncheonette, their basement café, happens to be one of the best lunch spots in the city, and it’s open to the general public. And the students bring a vital creati

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The Third Level: The Lir Academy

Grand Canal Dock is home to more than just the tech companies it’s famous for. That dark grey contemporary building with unusual green bubbles on the front is The Lir – Ireland’s National Academy of Dramatic Art. Its courses are developed in association with London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and its reputation is enviable. Acting is not for the faint hearted though; it takes a certain type of determination and passion. ‘It’s…satisfying to me, going through a script and having to do it night and night again. Every moment is live and there is no second take’, explains final year acting student, Damian G

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The Third Level: From Vermont to Dublin

Ireland has the second highest percentage of people with a third level degree in Europe. Whether it’s family tradition, student life or affordable fees in comparison to our counterparts, our third level system is highly popular. It’s also enticing a lot of international students to the country. Ben Campbell-Rosbrook is originally from Syracuse in upstate New York but has come to Ireland to do his master’s in Trinity College. ‘I’m spending like half or a third of the fees to do my masters here, compared to America’, notes Ben. ‘I think a lot of students in America get the sense that the system is stacked against them.

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World-class teacher: Luke O’Neill

As Professor Luke O’Neill discovered recently, when you become a fellow of the extremely exclusive and august science club that is the Royal Society, you have to sign their book. Previous signatories include Newton, Boyle, Freud and Einstein (Oh, and superstar astrophysicist Brian Cox). Which makes the process rather nerve-wracking, according to O’Neill, a biochemist at Dublin’s Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute and one of the world’s leading immunologists. Luke O’Neill: There’s a practice, you don’t want to smudge your name! Dublin.ie: That’s quite some company you’re keeping there - but what do all you science guys have in common? Luke O’Neill: Science is trying to find stuff out. You can call it exploration, you can call it pioneering, frontier stuff because it’s all about making discoveries. We are explorers, that’s our job, that’s what attracted me to it. I wanted to see something nobody’s seen before. And in my case, luckily enough in my lab we probably had three big discoveries that made a big difference: we explored the immune system and saw things there for the first time. The next step is there’s a whole new pathway or process discovered - and of course the thrill would be if that was a dysfunction or a disease because then you might try and correct it. Once you find the enemy, you might be able to design a new medicine that might beat it. Dublin.ie: So you’re a biochemist and not an ordinary one? Luke O’Neill: I’m a bit of a schizophrenic! I was interested in chemistry anyway and biochemistry is chemistry writ large: if you want to understand something you’ve got to understand the chemical basis for things - and biochemistry is the basis for life. If we understand the chemicals of life wouldn’t that be a thrilling thing? One comparison is with genetics: geneticists don’t really go beyond the genes, you know – and I want to know the real fundamentals. Like genes makes proteins, but what do they do? I was always obsessed with true mechanism – the underlying mechanism, the very basics of how things work. I’ve always been obsessed with molecular things in a sense.

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The Third Level: Life at Trinity Medical

Medicine in Trinity College is known as one of the most difficult courses to get into in Ireland. These students will play a major role in the future of healthcare, in Ireland and worldwide. Someday your life might just depend on one. During placement at hospital, some of these students will experience things that most of us will never see. They’ll witness life-changing moments and hear about difficult upbringings and tragic back- stories. “Sometimes I’ve taken a step back and thought, oh I’m very lucky to never have had any of those issues” says Aisling Hickey, a Trinity medicine student. Aisling is currently in fourth year of the course and on placement.

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Food for Thought

What sets Europe’s largest culinary school apart? The School of Culinary Arts, DIT Cathal Brugha Street has been blazing trails for 75 years. Dublin.ie met with the Head and Assistant Head of the school, Dr Frank Cullen and Mike J. O Connor to find out what sets Cathal Brugha Street apart and what the future and the move to DIT’s new centralised campus at Grangegorman hold. The School opened its doors in June 1941 as Saint Mary’s College of Domestic Science. In the 1950s the college changed to cater to the needs of a growing tourism industry, becoming the Dublin College of Catering. In the

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Language Dublin: Alliance Française

The Alliance Francaise Dublin is a French language and cultural centre which also hosts a French Multimedia Library. Philippe Milloux has been its director for four years. Dublin.ie met him in his elegant corner office at the former premises of the Kildare Street Club, home to the Alliance since 1960. A framed Charlie Hebdo cover hangs on the wall. The ideals of the Enlightenment, of debate and of the freedom of expression are important to M. Milloux. But so is romance. Dublin.ie: What were your impressions of Dublin when you first came here? PM: When I arrived first I f

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The National Gallery: ‘Say What You See’

In a picture painted in 1916, Joanne Drum points out a dead body on O’Connell Bridge. In another picture, she spots a group of onlookers gathered high up on the parapet of a building. And in another she notices what’s written on the destination plate of a tram (Terenure) on College Green in 1901. Joanne is Education Officer at the National Gallery on Merrion Square. Joanne Drum: If you look at a picture with somebody standing beside you saying “have you noticed that tiny detail up in the corner?’, sometimes that can really bring it to life and make the whole experience more meaningful. More rich. Dublin.ie: This is the National Gallery of Ireland. But plenty of your pictures have Dublin as their subject, don’t they? Joanne Drum: Look at the work of Jack B Yeats – not only was he working in Dublin but he was painting and drawing and sketching what he saw around him all the time so he was kind of documenting the history of this city. And he was there at such an important time in history. This is a man who not only lived through two world wars but also all the conflict and change that was happening in Ireland at the time as well.

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The Third Level: IADT

IADT is Dublin’s Institute of Art Design and Technology and inside the walls, it’s alive with ideas, creativity - and a girl who hula-hoops every single day! The college is situated in Dún Laoghaire – Dublin’s picturesque coastal town - and it’s home to 2,300 students and staff. Being only 12km from the city centre means “the students have the option of hanging out in Dún Laoghaire or making the trip to the city centre” says Students’ Union president, Alice Hartigan. Conveniently, it’s on the 46A bus route, the one they voted Dublin’s favourite bus route of all time: check out the views from the top deck!

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Museum Dublin: IMMA Freud

The afternoon is full of orange light and autumn leaves when I make my way down the path into IMMA. Not that all this gentle nature would have been of much artistic concern to Lucian Freud, the new star of the show around these parts. Freud was a visceral painter of the flesh, fascinated by the heft of a belly or the sag of the skin. Every good painting requires a little bit of poison, he said. IMMA’s new collection, The Freud Project, is comprised of fifty paintings and etchings on loan from private collections. The IMMA Garden Galleries are now the Freud Centre and there I meet Patricia Brennan of the Visitor Engagement Team who is happy to share some of her knowledge of the modern master.

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Sounds of Dublin: St. Patrick’s Cathedral Bells

“I mean if you could bottle it...”. Derek McEndoo is talking about the sound of his favourite church bells. Dublin.ie caught up with him to discuss all things bell ringing and, in particular, we wanted to find out about the bells at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the National Cathedral of Ireland. He just happens to be the Ringing Master at St. Pat’s. Yes, Ringing Master. We’re talking to the right man and he’s been ringing for over fifty years. Derek is very quick to point out that he was a young starter.

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Horticultural Dublin: The Bots

First things first: The Bots. What is it? “The Bots” is how teachers and students refer to The Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture, located at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin. They’ve been teaching there since 1812 so there’s quite a bit of history. For our first instalment of Horticultural Dublin we want to find out about this unique institution hidden away in the suburbs. To investigate, we’ve enlisted some people on the inside. We’ve got John Mulhern, Principal of the College, and prized former pupil, Gary Mentanko. John has been with Teagasc, a wider authority on agriculture and food development, for 20-odd years. Gary studied Horticulture at the Bots and has also conducted Horticultural work in the Arctic. We’ll come back to that.

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Conor Dodd and Luke Portess, Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum

Glasnevin cemetery is the dead centre of Dublin, with 1.5 million people buried there. In fact, there are more people below ground in Glasnevin than above ground in all of Dublin. This is no ordinary cemetery, with a list of historical figures buried here including Michael Collins, Eamon de Valera, Charles Stewart Parnell and Arthur Griffith. Conor Dodd, Historian at Glasnevin, and Luke Portess, Head of Digital, tell us some of the lesser known, more unusual stories about Glasnevin. Dublin.ie: The cemetery is a working cemetery, with funerals and burials on a daily basis, but there is also a museum which is a tourist a

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Jenny Siung, Chester Beatty Library

Dubliners know where to find Armageddon, The Whore of Babylon and The Seven Headed Beast. They’re in the Book of Revelations. But where would you find the actual book? Well it so happens that most probably the earliest copy in existence (it’s called Papyrus 47) is right here in Dublin, at the Chester Beatty Library. It’s just one of the myriad treasures of this museum (it’s way more than just a library, folks). There are Egyptian Books of the Dead, Japanese picture scrolls, Art Deco French book bindings: the range and depth of the collection is extraordinary. Chester Beatty himself – the man who made this collection – was a mining

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Open House

‘We shape our buildings’, said one-time Dublin resident Winston Churchill, ‘thereafter they shape us’. So what shape are we Dubliners in? On the eve of Open House, the Irish Architecture Foundation’s phenomenally successful annual festival, Dublin.ie spoke to the IAF’s Laura Wolfe and Jennifer Halton. Dublin.ie: Open House opens the doors of special buildings all over Dublin and beyond to the public. What’s that about, Laura? Laura: It’s about giving Dublin people back ownership of their whole city. It’s saying to them ‘you know the city, you use the city, here’s the chance to rethink where you live’.

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You’re learning wha’?!

Many people think of learning as something related to their job or school. But we can also learn for fun. Dublin is host to an array of very unusual classes – so whoever says learning is boring is very wrong. Whether it’s to learn a new party piece or to up-skill in an unusual activity there is loads to do. And with less common activities you might even have the competitive edge! We’re always trying to get the work/life balance right but with handstand classes in Dublin we’re talking a whole new type of balance. Okay, standing upside down might seem a bit daunting. But why not be inspired by those amazing displays at the Olympics this year and give it a go? It

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Mindfulness – Learning for the Soul

Mindfulness is a big buzzword around Dublin. What with social media, multi-tasking, and generally running around like mad things, Dubliners are in need of new ways to unplug and relax. Mindfulness is one way to answer this need. Which is why it’s moving from the hippie fringe to the mainstream. We have so much going on in our heads and so many items on our mental to-do lists that we often carry out daily tasks without being conscious of what we’re doing. Or being able to remember it later. ‘Did I turn off the immersion?’ we wonder. ‘What time did I arrange the meeting for?’ We worry that our house will be robbed because we can’t reme

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Drumcondra, Glasnevin and the new DCU

DCU is growing. The young university is spreading its wings across the north of Dublin, with campuses in Glasnevin and Drumcondra. As a result more eager students will be adopting these areas as their new home. So, what can students coming to study in the New DCU expect from this part of our fair city? Student life is about balance. A rounded education does not just happen in a lecture hall. Libraries, books and essays may make up a large part of the university experience but they are not the be all and end all. New friends, new experiences and new locals are all waiting to be explored.

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Fighting Words: Write On!

There is unfortunately no blueprint for happiness, but a maxim to think about is ‘create, don’t consume’. Fighting Words is where Dublin’s children and young teens can learn to express themselves, but also get to grips with the tools that make that expression possible. Numerous studies have indicated that it’s our experiences that give us the most satisfaction and not the things we accumulate. That’s not always easy to remember when faced with the new car purchase that will change our lives, or the dress that makes you look like a better, slimmer version of ourselves but in our hearts we know it’s true.

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Silver Surfers Get Started

Let's be honest; the internet can be mildly intimidating (if not positively terrifying) at the best of times. What to do, then, if you're of a generation unacquainted with the World Wide Web? Recent statistics suggest that just over 50% of people aged over 60 in Ireland have never used the internet. The problem, ultimately, is that seniors can feel a type of 'digital isolation'. The solution may lie in good old-fashioned human interaction: people together, in a room, exchanging knowledge. Call it a digital dig out.

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Grangegorman Gets Schooled

Young people are the future. It’s why we cherish them and invest in them. That’s not to say that everybody would necessarily be thrilled at the prospect of 20,000 students arriving on their doorstep, which is exactly what will happen at the Dublin Institute of Technology’s formidable new Grangegorman Campus. Thanks to meticulous planning and a comprehensive vision of what the whole area will become, however, this dramatic swelling of Grangegorman’s population is being anticipated with something resembling excitement.

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Meet a Dubliner – Lorcan Collins, Historian

I’ve been running the 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour for the past 20 years, bringing people around the city, showing them the sites of the Easter Rising. It’s not just for tourists, either. Sometimes these days you’ll get 95% Irish people on the tour. It’s great that we take a real interest in our own history, especially in this centenary year. I do feel like I have a responsibility to show the good and bad of Dublin; it’s a great city, and a safe city, and I like bringing people around and saying ‘This is where it’s really at…’. Places like Moore Street, that might not be the cle

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CONNECT: Dublin’s Research Renaissance

What CONNECT does has the potential to impact on all of us. As well as the intellectual and academic importance of the research done here, its practical application is just as relevant. According to CONNECT’s Andrew O’Connell, there is a strong culture here of commercialising the research, taking it from the lab and turning it into a commercially viable product or service.

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Meet a Dubliner – Niamh Scanlon, Coder

I’m 13 years old, and I’m into coding. I went to my first coding club in Coder Dojo when I was 9, my Mum heard about it from someone and said that I should just give it a go, and from the first day I just loved the fact that you could create anything from coding. Coder Dojo runs classes that teach young people how to code for free, there are always mentors there to help you if you get stuck with anything. I think that they’re great, they have gotten a lot of young people into coding, and into tech. If you’re really creative, and you have a passion for it, then you’ll get good at coding. I like creating things with it. I

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