Congregation 2016

Congregation was run once again this year in the lovely little village of Cong. I’d been meaning to attend it down over the past number of years. It was great to finally make it this year.

Organised by Eoin Kennedy it’s now into it’s fourth year. It’s actually a three day technology festival designed to create connections between all it’s attendees. The attendees come from a range of disparate backgrounds. Central to the event is earned entry via a submission posted on the site in advance. Apart from Cong being a gorgeous little village, it is also incredibly compact. This meant all the venues were really close to one another and moving around to get to them was a delight.

I made the Saturday and the Sunday of this year’s event. Unfortunately I missed the Friday’s event at Ashford Castle. #Cong16 was the complete opposite of the Web Summit in Lisbon. It was far from exhausting and you actually connected with the group of people that attended. It was the type of event that you actually bonded with people or more to the point you got the opportunity to do so.

This year’s theme was ‘The Future’. This involved all the attendees to look into the future and imagine how both their work and personal lives will be transformed by technology. Common themes that came up were working remotely and local communities taking advantage of this. Essentially getting away from the bigger towns and cities in Ireland. Huddling in the local cafes and pubs made the event seem incredibly personal. It was something unique because at the after event at the dinner you got the chance to speak and connect with people you wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to connect with.

On the Sunday we went by tour bus to visit some of the nearby ancient sites and stone circles. Guided around we climbed to the top of two ancient cairns. We were told of the 5,000 year old Battle of Moytura, and stories were shared with us on the Ballymacgibbon Cairn and the Glebe Stone Circles. It was really magical. To round off the tour Chris, our tour guide sang a song.

I was so glad to not have missed the Sunday event. It was incredible. Proper walking shoes were needed as there were many stones and plenty of rocks and mud to navigate.

It was a brilliant event. I learned lots from the various huddles that were organised. It was amazing to attend such a unique conference in such a special place. I’m looking forward to the full weekend in 2017!

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