06th July

Dargan Forum 2023

What are the ideas and technologies that can help reimagine rural Ireland in the 21st century

What is it

The 21st century will see a major paradigm shift brought about by the digital and green transitions that will have considerable socio economic impacts on localities.  Places that organise around digital and new technologies most effectively stand to gain the most by increasing their capabilities rapidly and making the economic base of their locality sustainable in the long term.

The DARGAN Forum will share the latest ideas and technologies that can empower people and places to become what we term ‘Digital First Communities’

A ‘Digital First Community is one that works collaboratively to attract investment, remote workers, home buyers, shoppers and visitors by constantly improving the three pillars underpinning a vibrant, sustainable locality, namely the physical, the digital and the smart. 

In providing a platform for the ideas and technologies that can help reimagine rural Ireland in the 21st century, the Forum will highlight Dún Laoghaire’s pioneering history in being the location of the world’s first suburban railway, the world’s largest asylum harbour for 50 years and the the world’s first vacuum railway!


Dun Laoghaire was the birthplace of Ireland’s rail network in 1834 thanks to the drive and determination of William Dargan. The democratising power of this new technology brought people and places closer. Ireland has gone on to be a world leading location for the HQs of companies that are changing the world through the power of technology and all just a couple of kilometres from Mallin Station, Dun Laoghaire where it all began!

Focus of the event

When Dargan built Ireland's first railway to Dun Laoghaire in 1834 it opened the floodgates on rail travel in Ireland which at its peak reached 5,600 km of railway network and 140 stations. In the 21st century the power of technology has evolved from being predominantly physical to digital and online. This will be the key theme of the DARGAN Forum, what are the ideas and technologies that can help reimagine rural Ireland through empowering people to get behind their places for its prosperity in the 21st century.This will align directly with @Digital Dun Laoghaire’s work with the Department of Rural & Community Development's Connected Hubs initiative.


The Forum will be a half day keynote speaker and panel discussion driven event. In addition to the main forum a number of break out sessions on specific topics will take place.


9am - 1pm on 6th July 2023 as part of DLR County Council’s Coastival festival.


Pavilion Theatre (provisional)

Our guest of honour

Our guest of honour, our honourary patron Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, Minister of State at the Department of Finance, will officially open the Forum. 

Target Audience

The Connected Hubs national network of managers has now reached 400 hubs from all counties of Ireland. This Forum will introduce hub managers and colleagues to the ideas and technologies that they can bring back to their localities and use as their ‘Digital First Day’ event topic.

In addition to the Connected Hubs managers, the Forum will target business professionals, tech and digital professionals and the general public with an interest in the area of empowering localities.

Why would the target audience attend?

    • Help plan for your hub’s ‘Digital First Day’ event.

    • Come for the Forum but stay for the COASTIVAL festival and enjoy all that Ireland’s leading seaside town has to offer - Experience Dún Laoghaire

Supported by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Failte Ireland

Get Directions

Date & Time

Thursday, 06 July 2023
09:00 - 13:00 GMT


Pavilion Theatre Dun Laoghaire A96 Y959 Ireland

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