What is Blockchain Ireland?

Blockchain Ireland is a combined effort of government and industry, led by the IDA Irish Blockchain Expert Group, to help promote and share information on blockchain in Ireland. It is a non-profit, member-led organisation that includes state agencies, corporates, academics and industry professionals. The group meets on a monthly basis to share insights and expertise on blockchain technology.

Blockchain Ireland has established a number of working groups to conduct research within key fields: Developers, Education, Enterprise and FDI, Legal & Regulatory and Startups & VC

See the working groups

Blockchain Ireland History

The IDA Irish Blockchain Expert Group was founded in late 2015 to meet the growing need for a forum to discuss the ever-evolving topic of blockchain technology. The forum includes IDA Ireland, members of blockchain businesses and projects in Ireland, representatives from a number of academic institutions, as well as participants of the wider Irish blockchain community. Further input is provided by Enterprise Ireland and the Dept of Finance where needed.

In 2019, Blockchain Ireland was launched to grow the ecosystem in Ireland. It is a non-profit, member-led organisation that includes state agencies, corporates, academics and professionals working in the blockchain field. The group holds meetings on a monthly basis during which keynote speakers share insights and expertise on blockchain applications in their relative fields.

Goals of Blockchain Ireland

  • The promotion of blockchain technology in Ireland
  • Growing the blockchain ecosystem throughout the country
  • Promoting Ireland as a leading global technology hub
  • Assisting in the creation of blockchain jobs in Ireland
  • Showcasing the work being undertaken by Irish companies

Blockchain Ireland governance team

Lory Kehoe – Trinity College Dublin

Co-founder & Advisory board member.

Lory is an adjunct assistant professor in technology trends with Trinity College Dublin’s Business School. Lory is a former managing director with ConsenSys where he founded, scaled and led ConsenSys Ireland, was global co-lead of ConsenSys’ partnerships work and was a member of the global leadership team. Prior to ConsenSys, Lory was a Partner with Deloitte China and a Director with Deloitte Ireland where he founded, set up and ran Deloitte’s Europe Middle East and Africa Blockchain Lab. He is a Qualified Financial Adviser, registered stockbroker, qualified product owner and scrum master.

Keith Fingleton – IDA Ireland


Keith has over 20 years’ experience working at the highest level across a number of senior technology roles. He is currently CIO in IDA Ireland, Ireland’s Inward Investment Agency, where he is leading a digital transformation program. In his previous role of Chief Technology Advisor specializing in Financial Technology at IDA Ireland, Keith worked with IDA client companies who are establishing and growing financial technology teams in Ireland. Clients included the world’s leading companies specializing in Funds Servicing, Asset Management, Investment Banking, Insurance and Payments who have strategic operations in Ireland.

Pearse Ryan – Arthur Cox

Advisory board member & Legal & Regulatory working group lead.

Pearse is a Consultant in the Arthur Cox Technology & Innovation Group and member of the firm’s cross-departmental FinTech Group and Cyber Security Group.  Pearse specialises in the areas of FinTech, cyber security/fraud, cyber insurance, digital transformation/cloud computing, commercialisation of technology innovation/technology related IPR and e-Commerce.  Pearse acts for a range of start-up suppliers of technology based solutions as well as established/institutional firm clients. Frequently Pearse co-ordinates the firms various specialist advisors to provide clients with integrated legal advice, especially in emerging legal issue areas.  Pearse is the Chair of the Blockchain Ireland Legal & Regulatory Working Group, as well as the Lex Mundi Blockchain Group.  Pearse is a frequent writer and speaker on FinTech and cyber security topics

Dave Feenan – ICT Skillnet

Advisory board member and Educational working group lead.

Dave is the Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet Manager. He is passionate about innovation, co-collaboration, and the skills and competencies needed to assist organisations to scale. His team are building out several industry-led skills programmes in emerging disruptive technologies coupled with driving innovation excellence for the workplace of the future. The MSc in Blockchain (Distributed Ledger Technologies) is a prime example of the success of this model. Dave is a highly experienced Senior Director who held the roles of MD and Country Manager for the subsidiaries of UK/US based organisations. He successfully led a MBO, worked with a Swiss multinational and in the start-up SaaS/Cloud environment before managing the Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet and its Innovation Forum. Dave is the lead of the Blockchain Ireland Education Working Group.

Bernard Gaughran – Project Emerald (Irish Life)

Advisory board member and Developer working group lead.

Bernard is a software engineering expert with 25 years of multi-sector experience and a proven capability for building top quality software using industry best practices. He is an expert in software development methodologies and an advocate of Agile practices – in particular Kanban/TDD/BDD/Lean/SCRUM/XP. He holds a BA in Engineering and BAI in Mathematics and has worked on projects at all stages of the software development life-cycle, from ideation through to development and delivery/support. Since 2017, he has immersed himself in the world of Blockchain & DLT technologies. And he is currently working as Product Development Lead on ‘Project Emerald’ – an initiative to put in place a self-sovereign, credentials sharing network serving the island of Ireland – underpinned by Blockchain/DLT. Bernard leads the Developer Working Group with Blockchain Ireland.

Professor Joyce O’Connor

Professor Joyce O’Connor is the founding President of the National College of Ireland (NCI), Co-Founder and Chair of BlockW, Chair University and Chair Digital Future Group, Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA). A former Chair of the Digital Hub Development Agency Professor O’Connor has extensive experience as a Chair and Board member to a wide range of state, semi-state, educational and not for profit organisations.

Working groups

Six working groups have been established to conduct ongoing research within their given fields. The groups report to the steering committee and to the wider organisation on a regular basis.


Bernard Gaughran


Dave Feenan

Enterprise & FDI

Chair TBC

Legal and Regulatory

Pearse Ryan

Startup & VC

Pete Townsend

PR & Communications

Sean Patwell