Our company generously gives us a budget to spend on conferences. For so long I had wanted to go to Build Conf in Belfast, but never really had the opportunity. When I found that 2013 was the final year for Build, I knew I had to be there. Adam and I were able to get tickets the day they started selling them and I could not have been happier.
Build Conf's schedule did not disappoint. The talks and events they planned sounded amazing and we were so excited to get there, see the city, and visit Ireland for the first time. Each day of the conference had a different purpose; opening night, film, practical, and conference.
The next morning we found what would turn out to be our favorite place to eat, The National. They had the best breakfast and wonderful coffee. I think I got a Flat White there every morning.
The city was beautiful. I fell in love with the architecture and brick streets. The city wasn't as big as I expected, though. We could easily walk around the main part in a couple of hours.
We walked to the Typecast Open House to meet and hang out with other Build attendees. It was really fun talking to so many people in our industry, and that night we met some amazing people from Shopify that we still keep in touch with. You'll meet them later.
Adam and I did a lot of exploring during the day. We did some shopping, walked the streets, took lots of pictures, and then a little napping. Soon we were ready to go back out to watch the documentaries with the other attendees. We had pizza, beer, and popcorn and settled in to watch three awesome documentaries.
Sign Painters followed several painters, and the history and methods of sign painting in cities around the US.
Design is One: Lella & Massimo Vignelli was about the lives of these talented leaders in the design industry.
Stripped gave us all a deep dive into the world of comic strip cartoonists and the realities they face with the rise of digital publications.
This is also the night where we received our beautiful conference badges and ran into our new Shopify friends from opening night. They were headed out when we were and we decided to all go out for some food and drinks.
Belfast is incredibly beautiful, especially at night when the small streets and alleys are lit with strings of light that swoop down overhead. They're magical.
We woke up, went to our usual morning spot, The National, got some breakfast, a flat white, and waited for our bus to Bushmills Distillery. The drive through the Irish countryside was so peaceful. I fought sleep for as long as possible, but took a bit of nap during the 1.5 to 2 hour drive.
It was worth the wait when we stepped out of the bus and into the fresh, cool air. We gathered in groups for our tour, met the distillery cat, and followed our guide through the distillery. At the end we were able to sample a dram of our choice of their whiskeys. I chose the Bushmills 12 Year Distillery Reserve.
Then it was back to the bus for the long ride back to Belfast and onto our next adventure.
Maybe one of my favorite things we did in Belfast was make a little leaf out of an iron rod. When we got to the tent that this was happening under and felt how cold and damp it was outside, we almost backed out. But I knew we would regret it if we didn't.
I think Adam hated me for a bit for making him do this with me, but after getting into it, we were both having an amazing time. It was scary. People all around us in a small area holding boiling hot molten steel within feet of us—the loud clanging of hammers on anvils—the whole situation was intimidating. But that's what made it fun. It was a challenge. We made these beautiful leaves, with a little help from the instructors, and we were so darn proud of ourselves.
After wearing ourselves out with all the metalworking, we went back to our rooms to relax for a while. We got ready and went back out for the next event. The Third Annual Craft Beer Festival at The Hudson Bar.
The bar had three levels. The first floor was the actual bar, on the second there were group games, and the third would be where the music would be later. I was really excited about this. Chipzel and Casion use Gameboys to make music.
The music was really fun. It turned into a little dance party. Soon everyone was ready to do some more exploring, so we headed out on the town with our new friends.
We really started to feel the results of the past few fun-filled days. We made it to the conference at The MAC very sleepy, but excited to hear from the 6 speakers. Jason Scott, from the Internet Archive gave a very entertaining and thought-provoking presentation and Frank Chimero's What Screens Want still keeps me thinking.
After the conference we met our Shopify friends for dinner at a pub and made our way over to 21 Social for the conference after party. Afterward, we went to The Merchant for some fantastic cocktails.
At The Merchant we found Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Ygritte (Rose Leslie) sitting at the bar. We asked for a photo with them, but Rose offered to take a photo of us with Kit instead. Our group was so giddy, all being huge GoT fans.
We had a great time getting to know everyone and walked around the city taking in the scenery until it was time to call it a night.
During our last day, we did a lot of resting and reflecting on the week. Ate some good food, talked about the experience, and later met up with friends at The Merchant, (our new favorite spot). Our group slowly got bigger and bigger. It was really fun to meet so many amazing people.
We finally ended up in our own space in The Merchant and made our own Werewolf cards out of some paper the staff gave us. We played round after round, but Adam and I had an early flight and an even earlier bus to catch, so we had to say our goodbyes. But not until after we took a couple of group photos.
It was awesome to meet you, Kylea, Daniel, Serena, Russell, Ben, and Evan. Thanks for so many fun memories.