34SP.com were sponsoring Dublin’s first WordCamp which took place over the last weekend. The WordPress team specifically couldn’t all attend due to other commitments, so the attending team ended up being myself, Siobhan and Pete.
Man, did we have a great time at this one. It was my first time going far enough out with colleagues to warrant flying. It felt particularly important to make it a good one, because without Tim and Keith it made myself the only one from the WordPress team there. So without sounding lame as heck I wanted to make them proud.
We kicked off the adventure by meeting up to get the flight from Manchester to Dublin, Siobhan is a very nervous flyer, so take-off was a bit shady, Pete was ace and stepped in to be comforting and lose a hand to her squeezing. Haha, but after a very quick flight we arrived in Dublin!
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express near the airport, it was actually just above Santry park so it had a beautiful view as you left the building. The hotel was also one of the few close enough to the venue in relation to what else we were seeing when making out admittedly late booking. So I feel we did well with it.
After freshening up we spent the first day exploring a little of the centre of Dublin, because Pete and Siobhan hadn’t been before. We had an ace time; Hard Rock cafe was doing a vegetarian week which meant they had some great food choices for Siobhan. Can we talk about those amazing buffalo cauliflower wings? I’m still emotional.
We then went for a few drinks in local bars which were recommended by the Hard Rock staff. Dublin is an expensive city, so the staff recommended a bar with a lot of two-for-one offers; Capitol Lounge on Aungier St. It was a good shout, we enjoyed it there and tried another place around the same area which sold some nice ale. Sadly I forget the name of the second place.
Knowing we had to be up the next day we retreated back quite early, and at the time we got in the taxi we then became aware of sponsor’s party for the event. Bad timing meant we missed that, and ended up being so rock ‘n’ roll we played charades until we were tired. Charades was hilarious though, because we were all terrible at it and shouted at each other a lot of our terrible acting.
At the event
We (well I) was up at 6am because I couldn’t pass up the free breakfast at the hotel. Siobhan joined me soon after and we were all ready to leave around 7am. The event was held at the DCU Business school, and we arrived and had the stand set up by 8am ready for people arriving.
We met some really nice people at WordCamp Dublin. It was fun because we met more new people than usual, being over the water and all. The atmosphere was really relaxed, so much so that I probably felt the most comfortable I ever have leading up to my talk.
I did what was probably my last presentation of ‘Making kitten GIF galleries fabulous‘ for a while, as I feel ready to move on to new talks now. I got some really good feedback on the presentation, as usual. It also meant a lot when we got people afterwards telling me how they found it useful and practical. Queue big smiles!
We were so well looked after by the organisers and the catering. Biscuits, fruit and sweets were readily available. Volunteers checked in to make sure we had everything we needed, helped us with some trouble putting the iPad stand up and helped us get t-shirts even though we were late getting our tickets! They spoilt us really, which we appreciated.
Talks! I went to a couple of talks, one I was particularly eager to listen in on was Tammie’s talk on ‘Getting to know Gutenberg’, as I was a little behind with knowing what all the fuss was about. I’m actually now writing my posts in Gutenberg, because I’m excited about the plugin and it’s development. So I plan to write some reviews and thoughts on that.
I also attended a talk by Gerald Glynn on how to ‘Build a bespoke page builder’, which was him showing a very unique way of using custom post types to create something really special for his clients. I enjoy seeing what people do with the custom post types plugin as it really fires up your imagination for just what you can create in WordPress.
A large chunk of my Sunday was spent at the happiness bar/help desk. As we were advised there were a few people roaming around and looking for help. I spoke to some lovely people there too! I remember offering some image optimisation tips off the back of my talk, helped a lovely lady called Carrie get set up with Yoast and then myself and Robbie enlisted some CSS advice from Julia on the organising team. So I learned some handy helpful tips too. One of the best things about WordCamps is the opportunity to get some really top notch advice from people who use WordPress every day.
Other bits and thoughts
Other highlights of this weekend included the best sushi I have ever eaten: At a local chain restaurant called Musashi. Sadly the chain is exclusive to Dublin at the moment, but the food was beautiful!
This was Pete’s first WordCamp, and he owned it, he was so helpful the entire time, and enjoyed chatting to people about WordPress and our rad support team. He and Siobhan also attended some talks I did not, but I hear really good things about the Lightning Talks specifically.
I totally needed this WordCamp. I’ve been in a minor rut lately because I’ve been working hard to pass some exams and I’m struggling to get there. No big deal really, but WordCamp Dublin has rejuvenated my enthusiasm and interest in learning.
I remember the first time I attended a WordCamp with 34SP.com, it was WordCamp Manchester a few years back, and I remember being inspired as heck because I was genuinely thrilled to be working in web hosting, and with WordPress daily.
Man I sound so lame, but I used to spend so much time when I was younger playing with websites and learning about how the web worked, it’s easy to lose sight of how thrilling that is when you hit a bump. So uh, yeah! A big thanks for WordCamp Dublin and it’s organisers for making me feel energised and excited to learn more and work hard. 🙂