A Web Summit Visitor’s guide to Dublin!

This week 10,000 visitors will be coming Dublin for the Web Summit to celebrate all things tech & startup!  I thought I would welcome our new friends by giving them a few hints and tips in terms of getting around and some of my favorite places to eat, drink and be merry!

Getting in from the Airport!

Whether you arrive into Terminal 1 or 2 at Dublin Airport you have three main ways of getting into the city.

  1. Grab a taxi from the rank. There should be plenty (we have about 20,000 in Dublin) and expect to pay in the region of €25-€40 depending on where you are staying.
  2. Aircoach. This is a great service that goes through the city and into the suburbs.  There are several routes and between them they pass by most of the major hotels in the city. When you leave arrivals look out for the big blue signs. A return ticket is about €16 and travel time is about 25 minutes.
  3. 747 by Dublin Bus. This is another bus service, although this one tends to run straight through the city and doesn’t cater for most of the suburban hotels.

Getting around the city!

Grafton Street

Grafton Street

By Foot:

One of the greatest things about Dublin is how compact the city centre is. This makes it very easy to get around as a pedestrian. The key areas of the city can be traced from Ballsbridge, over to the IFSC, down to Capel Street and back over to Christ Church. Within that (almost) triangle shape you will find all the restaurants, bars and museums that you could care for. Getting from one side to the other would take about 60 mins walk.

by Bus, Trains and Tram:

Dublin has a good bus/rail and tram system if not as regular as one would like. I would strongly recommend picking up a Leap Card from Eason’s (Terminal 1) or Spar (Terminal 2) at the airport on arrival. They cost €5 and whatever amount of credit you put on it (I’d suggest €20). Leap card is contactless like Oyster Card in London and is accepted on all Dublin Bus, Tram (the Luas) and Rail (DART) services. It works out about 17% cheaper per trip to pay this way so well worth it. Also saves on trying to find change at the bus stop 🙂

by Taxi:

Hailo Dublin Screenshot

Dublin has over 20,000 registered taxis (more than New York, LA and Toronto) combined, so getting a  cab isn’t a problem. However as most Dublin Taxis do not accept credit card OR charge excessive  processing fees I would suggest that you download and install the Hailo App. Not only will this enable  you to pay be card seamlessly, but you can hail the cab while you are finishing your pint and should you  leave anything behind in the cab you will be able to trace it back. This is a superb service and you are  charged the exact same as a normal street hail but with many more benefits!

Additionally if you follow @HailoIreland on twitter and tweet “I’ll be getting around Dublin with  @HailoIreland during the @WebSummitHQ you could win €100 worth of trips while you are here. And no I  am not on their payroll!

the RDS:

In terms of getting to the RDS (where the Web Summit is being held) Dublin Bus routes 4, 7, 8, 18, 27x and 120 all pass by the venue.  Weekdays this is normally a very busy route for traffic getting into the city so give yourself some extra time on the Wednesday for getting in! Should you be coming in by DART The Sandymount Dart station is only a 10 minute walks from the venue.

Eating and Drinking! 

If last year is anything to go by Paddy and the Web Summit team will have enough to keep everyone busy and merry into the wee hours. However you may want to strike out on your own and if so here is my list of favorite bars and eateries.



If you are looking for some great pints of Guinness and Irish hospitality you could not  go wrong with any of the following The Duke, O’Donohues, Doheny & Nesbitt’s, The  Palace Bar and The Long Haul. For my money though the best place in town for a social  pint is Mulligans of Poolbeg Street!

If you prefer  cocktails you wont do wrong by going to The Lost Society, The VCC  (Vintage Cocktail Club) or the The Mint Bar.


To makes this easy I will just list of my favorites and the cuisine they serve!  There are of course fancier places but for good affordable food on the go these are pretty damn good!

Elephant & Castle Chicken Wings

Elephant & Castle Chicken Wings

Elephant & Castle – Steaks, Burgers (and the best chicking wings anywhere!!!), Nico’s – Italian, Izakaya – Japanese Tapas (and regular hangout for startups!), Yamamori – Japanese Noodles, Crackbird – all things chicken, The Port House – Spanish Tapas and for the vegetarians, vegans, gluten intolerant or coeliac  among you Cornucopia is pretty damn good too 🙂

Finally, I would like to wish all who are travelling into Dublin for the Web Summit a fantastic few days with us and if you fancy sharing a pint on one of the nights hit me up on twitter @russellbanks77, or you will find me there wearing this face 😀



Velocity and Momentum are not the same thing…

In the past week I was lucky enough to attend the Interactive part of SXSW in Austin, Texas.   I can safely report that everything you have heard about both the event (super laid back, hyper networking event) and venue (heaven on earth) is in fact true!!  But rather than bore you with the details of the many amazing people I met, free parties I went to and Tarantino-esque situations we found ourselves in for my first post I wanted to talk about the main difference in the startup culture that I encountered there!

End of Interactive Official Party

End of Interactive Official Party

It was Saturday afternoon and I was heading to a conference networking session “VC / Startup Meetup”.  As is the way with SXSW I struck up a conversation with the guy standing next to me.  He was about 30 years old, had had two successful exits and was onto this third startup.  Impressive!!  When he asked me about my own startup, Conker, I told him that we had been working on it since September 2012,  to which his response was “Wow, that’s a long development time!”.  5 Months??  A long time…..?!?!?  What was he on about?  That seems like a perfectly reasonable time to be working on something and still be early stage isn’t it??  Well unfortunately in the US the answer would seem to be “No”.   And from there stems the huge palpable difference that I could feel between US and European startups……..Velocity!

Velocity gives both how fast and in what direction an object is moving.  In the startup sense Velocity allows you to build up a head of steam and still pivot without losing that speed.  It is generated by all that good lean and agile stuff.  On the customer development side, signing people up, getting them to pay.  On the product side making sure to develop that product in quick sprints with the features that the customer wants.  All of this builds Velocity.  Once you have your startup roaring at an insane Velocity then you can focus on momentum.

Momentum is the product of the mass and Velocity of an object.  With Velocity cracked the search for more customers and funding can begin in earnest.  Each additional customer or investor adds to the mass of your startup until you are that winning Juggernaut that we all want to be!

In Europe, I believe many of us focus on Momentum because we confuse it with Velocity.  This manifests itself with how quickly we try to fund raise before we have cracked the Velocity of our startup.   This creates a distraction during that critical first 6 months of our startup when we should be focused on Velocity.  The US teams I met at SXSW had cracked their Velocity and were then looking for the funds etc for their momentum.

So with that in mind I know that everything we do in our  startup over the next few months will be solely focused on Velocity!

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