Bono draws curtain on RDS

Bono throws a paper airplane into the crowd at the centre stage during the thirday of the 2014 Web Summit in the RDS, Dublin.

After three days, more than 600 speakers, and a combined 60 hours of discussion on its widest array of topics, Web Summit 2014 drew to a close last night in Dublin with a familiar face at the helm.

Pint-sized rocker Bono, complete with a newfound twang of unrecognisable origins, was as self-aware as ever when he somewhat uncomfortably told the thousands that had showed up to hear him speak that size really does matter.

Having followed other keynote speakers of similar stature such as Eva Longoria and Paul McGinley as the main attractions over the three days at Europe’s largest tech conference, the irony was complete.

Certainly this summit was on a scale never seen before as the eyes of the world were focused on the RDS and, bar the continued wifi issues that irked attendees and organisers in equal measure, it was again a resounding success.

Picking the brains of some US visitors in the halls of the RDS, it was the mix of business and pleasure that made the event stand out from its equivalents in other far flung corners of the earth.

Pub crawls and million-dollar investments don’t go hand in hand anywhere else apparently, nor does the seasoned conference attendee expect a carnival of food smack bang in the middle of their technological Mecca, this writer was informed.

The quirks of “quaint” old Dublin, such as the brightly painted sheep that roamed the RDS, also became a source of considerable amusement and bewilderment.

Back inside the main hall, all were on the defensive with workers doing their best to assure everyone the internet connectivity had been a resounding success for the three days while Bono went out to bat for his band’s controversial deal with Apple.

“Anything that gets your songs out there is a good thing,” the Dublin native told the crowd — many of whom were among the millions of Apple users upon which U2’s new album was thrust without so much as an expression of interest.

As the singer chewed the fat over the future of the music industry as part of the conference’s final panel discussion and many of the onlookers scrambled to the front to post Bono-backdrop selfies, the summit’s appeal was crystallised.

Whatever about self-awareness, selfies are here to stay and so too is the incredible technology on which they’re hosted.

More on this topic

MoneyConf to move from Dublin to LisbonMoneyConf to move from Dublin to Lisbon

Web Summit agrees €110m deal to stay in Lisbon for 10 yearsWeb Summit agrees €110m deal to stay in Lisbon for 10 years

Latest: Web Summit withdraw Le Pen invitation saying it is 'disrespectful' to Portugal and attendeesLatest: Web Summit withdraw Le Pen invitation saying it is 'disrespectful' to Portugal and attendees

Web Summit to hire 40 new employeesWeb Summit to hire 40 new employees


As he prepares to stand down at Wexford Festival Opera, director David Agler tells Cathy Desmond about the highlights of his 15 years at the helmAll set for his swansong: Director David Agler highlights 15 years at Wexford Festival Opera

When it comes to Munster talent and entrepreneurship, our food, agriculture and tourism can be the first industries that come to mind.Making Cents: Plan for your pension direct from Skibbereen

Volunteers from the multinational tech company harvest food fresh from Fota Gardens, writes Peter Dowdall.Made in Munster: The tech giant Apple harvesting food from Fota Gardens

Peter Dowdall takes a look at a plant that thrives in damp soil and is a key part of Ireland’s biodiversityThe wonders of willows: A key part of Ireland’s biodiversity

More From The Irish Examiner