CoderDojo’s Coolest Projects

What libraries might be to budding writers, CoderDojos are to the future whizz kids of tech: a place to share ideas and find inspiration with no exam pressure or set curriculum. CoderDojo was founded in 2011 by then eighteen-year-old Cork native, James Whelton, who received international attention when he spoke at a Web Summit about how he hacked his iPad Nano to turn it into a watch. Whelton was subsequently hounded by schoolmates wanting to know how they might learn to code. “I was never recognised as being high-achieving or academic at school. It was frustrating as I was really good at programming but getting my ass kicked by my pass maths teacher,” Whelton

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The Ark: Engaging kids’ creativity

For 23 years The Ark in Temple Bar has provided the children of Dublin, and of Ireland, with the opportunity to experience and participate in art and culture. We visited The Ark to learn about what’s on offer for children and families today. The Ark is a dedicated cultural centre for children. It was the first of its kind in Europe, quite a forward-thinking facility for this little island. It was founded after the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of The Child, which safeguards children’s right to access culture and art. The Ark “believes in every child’s right to discover and love art in a society where creativity and culture are valued a

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Life on campus for the international student

Ireland might be a small country, but our universities, institutes of technologies and colleges are incredibly diverse. Every year, tens of thousands of students from over 130 countries come here to study. Dublin, home to about 1.2 million people – and growing – is the destination of choice for the majority. Drawn by the city’s high-quality education offering and the possibility of securing a part-time job in one of the major tech firms with a Dublin base, including Google and Am

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This Land is Your Land, this Land is Ireland

Dublin was never on Anna Grimard’s trajectory. Now, an MSc in Marketing, a red-haired fiancé and a managerial role with an award-winning Irish travel company later, she tells us all about what Liffeyside life has to offer. Originally from Florida, it took a while – and a hint from Hollywood – before Anna ended up crossing the Atlantic. “I did my undergrad in advertising in Georgia, in the States, so I was in Atlanta for three years. When I left, I kinda moved around a bit… I ended up in Tennessee, working at a children’s non-profit museum, which was super fun – but I was so obsessed then with getting something in advertising.” At the time, jobs in her fiel

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Parlez-vous Pirate?

There’s a lot of things you can learn at your local library. And how to speak Pirate is one of them. As a place to learn a foreign language, Dublin’s public libraries have a notable advantage over the city’s other estimable language-learning institutions – the facilities they offer are free! Aside from the foreign language books you can borrow, your library card gives you access to two other invaluable resources. One is a language app called Mango. The other is the more traditional but by no means outmoded method of improving your French, or your Mandarin; con

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Language Dublin: Istituto Italiano

Renata Sperandio is the director of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Dublino, the Dublin branch of the Italian cultural institute. Renata, from Belluno in the Veneto region of Italy, has been in Dublin for three years. She has another three to go before her next posting. And, God bless her, she’s learning Irish – with the help of Duolingo, the well-known Irish language learning app. ‘Duolingo’s on my phone too’, says Dublin.ie. ‘It’s terrific.’ ‘Is it?’, asks Renata. ‘Well, yes it is’, I explain. Duolingo does an excellent job indeed. But it’s got its work cut out for it – because, make no mistake

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Language Dublin: Instituto Cervantes

Today we’re meeting Victor Andresco and Laura Martín, director and cultural officer respectively at the Dublin branch of the Instituto Cervantes, the international Spanish language and cultural organisation. Dublin is a place that is somehow familiar to the Spanish, Victor reckons. It’s not exotic or strange, he says – and he means that in a good way. Spanish people often send their children here to learn English, he points out. His Dublin taxi driver might very well own a holiday home in Spain. And there are other links, too. “We Spaniards feel very close to you”, he says, “s

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Historians in Residence

Just to be clear, the position of Historian in residence doesn’t come with an actual residence. ‘More’s the pity’, says Cathy Scuffil, who is the Historian in Residence for that LA-sounding bit of Dublin known as ‘South Central’. This is one of the six sectors of Dublin – each based on electoral districts – that now have their own historian. Tara Doyle of Dublin City Council runs the programme, which builds on the success of the 1916 commemorations and a surge in interest in history in general. She sums it up very simply: ‘it’s all about letting historians talk to people about history’. This doesn’t mean that it’s simple to do, however. 

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The Royal Irish Academy

On the morning that I visit the Royal Irish Academy, they’re testing out the new Luas on Dawson Street; empty carriages move by while people take time to stop and take in Dublin’s ever-evolving cityscape. The Royal Irish Academy has been located at 19 Dawson Street since 1851 when it moved from its Grafton Street origins to the more spacious Academy House. Sandwiched between Saint Anne’s Church and the Mansion House, you have probably walked past its elegant exterior hundreds of times and assumed that whatever happens inside has nothing to do with you. But the Academy wants you to know that it has. Pauric Dempsey, the Head of Communications, meets me in reception

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World class teachers: Aoife McLysaght, geneticist

Professor Aoife McLysaght is Principal Investigator in the Molecular Evolutionary Laboratory and Lecturer in Genetics, TCD. The thing that I find interesting and exciting: new ideas and trying to figure them out. And that works better when you’ve got somebody to talk about it with. You learn from the experience of working with people who are really good. And even though I’m now a Professor in Genetics at Trinity I still feel that this still goes on, that I learn from other people and I really enjoy the interactions that I have. That’s the difference between doing whatever it is you do at home at a desk

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Ed Giansante & eDublin – A local guide for Brazilians

Ed Giansante left Sao Paulo for Dublin in 2008 with the hope of learning English and making a new start in Ireland. He lived with a host family in a Dublin suburb and went to an English language school near Mountjoy Square. His timing was both good and bad. Ireland’s economy had hit a massive recession, and the country was facing into a period of austerity. It would be hard for a native to survive in the capital under such conditions, let alone a non-English speaker. He found work with Stratogen, an advertising agency, where he worked for 18 months. “I was making hardly any money, because of the recession, but I had a job. That was really important in so many wa

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Experimental Archaeology

In a corner of University College Dublin’s suburban campus, archaeologists are building houses using thousand-year-old methods and casting bronze tools in fire pits using moulds they’ve made themselves. Brendan O’Neill, a PhD student in UCD’s School of Archaeology, has built a wooden roundhouse as part of his research. It took him about thirty days’ work over the course of ten months to complete. He wove hazel rods from a managed forest in the Irish midlands to create walls and a roof, which is topped with heather to help waterproof the structure. Inside the house, there’s a surprising amount of space. A central fireplace surrounded by stones is unlit. O’Neil

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