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Insider Guide: Dublin's Tech Scene

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Argentinian Gaston Irigoyen is the founder of Guidecentral, a high-potential start-up he set up in Dublin after moving here to work in Google’s European HQ in October 2009. Based in the fast-growing, energetic tech hub of Grand Canal Dock, Irigoyen has seen the rapid development of Dublin’s tech culture in the past four years – here he gives a whistle-stop tour of Dublin’s casual dining, villages and short hop trips...

Insider Guide: Dublin's Tech Scene

What is it about Dublin you first fell in love with? 

There are some similarities and some differences between Dublin and Buenos Aires. The people, based on European standards, are very open and friendly. Because the tech companies employ so many people from around Europe it makes the city very interesting and diverse, and very open-minded. The people are very warm here. The difference is that Dublin is a much smaller city – that makes Dublin a city that is a lot more comfortable to be in. I don't lose time commuting, I can ride a bike and be anywhere in ten or fifteen minutes. I was used to spending at least two hours in a car a day in Buenos Aires!

Have you had friends come to visit from back home? How did they spend their time?

Yes, of course! Several friends and my family have come over as well. Some other people from Google in Brazil and Argentina have visited, some have even stayed. They would typically spend between 3 and 7 days in Ireland with us. We would spend a couple of days in Dublin city centre looking at Dublin’s well-known attractions but also getting a taste of the local flavor. We wouldn't go straight to the usual spots like the Guinness Storehouse.
For instance, Argentinians would have a lot of Spanish and Italian heritage and there are lots of great tapas and pizza places. Manifesto in Rathmines is great, Paulie's Pizza just around the corner from Google is special too, different tapas places in Ranelagh [like the hidden gem La Bodega]. We always show them one or two pubs with local music and good beers, especially in Ranelagh [home to newly-opened craft beer pub the Taphouse] or Ballsbridge [the traditional Bellamy’s].

Insider Guide: Dublin's Tech Scene
Insider Guide: Dublin's Tech Scene

Would you spend time outside the city, on the beaches or in the mountains?

Absolutely, it's very handy. You can easily jump on the DART and visit these diverse places. We would also go to some of the smaller towns along the bay, like Howth, Dalkey and Dun Laoghaire. If they were staying for longer we would check out the coastal routes leading up to Belfast, or take a trip to Galway.

Dublin is rapidly becoming known as Europe's technology centre – do you have any tips for tech visitors and workers looking to spend their spare time?

I think if you're involved in technology, it's worth finding friends who are involved in different companies and do a tour of the offices, especially the young start-ups in the area where you can get a taste of what the tech scene is like here. The Dublin Web Summit is brilliant, I'm very impressed by how much it's been growing in the last couple of years, there have been impressive speakers and I think it's certainly one of the top three tech events in Europe. Anybody in the tech scene across the world would be recommended to come to it.
If you’re into tech and visiting Dublin, check out one of these five Dublin tech meet-ups.