Friday: Ashford Castle Evening. 

#cong15 Ashford Castle Cinema

This year we are again delighted to kick start #cong16 with an mixed evening of activities in the private cinema of Ashford Castle.  

Feature a series of inspiring talks the speakers will discuss the how current and future technologies will enhance our view of the past.  We have a rich heritage and culture of story telling and technology has the ability to not alone capture and preserve it but to help communicate it in new and exciting ways.  As we embrace future technologies we can benefit from appreciating our past and leveraging it to help sculpt a new future.

This session is strictly limited to 35 people with preference given to past Congregation attendees and early submissions.  If this session is of interest please get your submission in as soon as possible and email me with an expression of interest.

Speaker Line Up:

Mike Mulligan

Mike Mulligan,

Title: DNA Analysis and Ancestry

Mike is a Principal Product Manager with Ancestry based in the Ancestry International office in Dublin. Mike led the launch of Ancestry in Mexico and was also product manager for the launch of AncestryDNA in the UK & Ireland. Mike will be explore how DNA can help us unlock the past and discover what makes you uniquely you.  You can follow Mike on Twitter

John Tierney

John Tierney, Historic Graves.

Title: Future of Experiences

John Tierney is a field archaeologist with 30 years experience in Ireland and the UK. For the last 6 years he has worked on crowdsourced heritage surveys digitally published to and

In this talk John will delve into the Future of Experience and how structured geolocated datasets lead to individualised experiences of discovery, for example, how a team in Dublin identified previously unknown links between Walt Disney & Arthur Guinness.

Stephen Howell

Stephen Howell, SMARTlab UCD

Title: Bringing History to Life with Digital Puppetry (even if you can’t code)

Learning through performance and bringing history into the digital classroom is lots of fun, but sounds technically challenging. This talk will show you how even very young students can combine their history, art, Computational Thinking and English narrative lessons into a cool interactive media experience. Using Kinect body tracking sensors, this talk shows on how easy it is to build digital puppets and control them naturally using your body. This is a highly interactive presentation, and Stephen will interact with digital puppets live on stage. No coding experience is required to learn from and enjoy this session.

 About Stephen Howell:

Stephen Howell is a PhD candidate in SMARTlab, UCD. His day job is Academic Evangelist for Microsoft and he has 4 children aged 6 to 12 who help test his software when they are not busy playing Minecraft.  You can follow him on Twitter.

Gar Mac Críosta

Gar Mac Críosta, MindRising

Title: The Future of Learning and the Learning of Futures.

Gar will present some of the student projects that used Minecraft as vehicle to visualise and storytell historical events before discussing the tools he is bringing to thinking about the future to the classroom, tools to look around corners and sense an unknown future.

MindRising is focused on building a future based on freerange Learning & building a Digtial Hedge School.  Gar's vision is for a future of learning that is active, participative and immersive. Freerange learning is the merging of digital and physical realities learning in your world about your world. MindRising is  the design-based learning platform he has built to support this vision - blending virtual worlds in Minecraft with Augmented Reality (coming soon) to create the ability to engage in real life learning challenges.

About Gar Mac Críosta

Gar Mac Críosta is co-founder of MindRising ( In Gar’s other life he has 20+ years, working in the areas in the areas of business model innovation, digital strategy, architecture and organizational effectiveness (lean/agile) across a variety of industries. His work as a digital architect, instructor and speaker has taken him around the world.  Gar is a certified architect professional (IASA CITAP), a Fellow of the Irish Computer Society and Certified Lego® Serious Play Facilitator. Gar has served on the board of the Irish Computer Society and the Board of Iasa Global.

Next: Saturday Unconference

© Eoin Kennedy 2017 eoin at congregation dot ie