The goal of IrishCentral.com is nothing less than putting a nation’s heritage online for the first time, and to reach the 70 million people around the world who identify themselves as Irish. It is a spectacularly ambitious mission that we hope will grab headlines around the world as easily as it has drawn prominent investors to its side in record time,” says Kevin Hayes, General Manager of IrishCentral.com, the new global Irish site set to launch on March 15.
IrishCentral was founded by Niall O’Dowd, also founder, with Patricia Harty, of Irish America magazine and the Irish Voice. “This global Irish site has been the obvious next step for us at Irish America and Irish Voice,” he said. “We have seen the extraordinary growth in interest in Irish heritage, not just in America, but wherever the Irish settled. We intend to try and capture that momentum.”
Hayes is confident that the new site will succeed. “It is the right idea at the right time. Most websites are in search of an audience; as one of our investors said, ‘You have an audience searching for a website.’”
The managers, investors and staff of IrishCentral are veteran journalists, prominent businessmen, accomplished technology experts, and leaders from many traditional and creative fields who have been drawn to the project because they know it is groundbreaking and will make history.
“We are hoping to do what has never been done before: use the power of the Internet to unite a nation and its far-flung children, giving them a home they have an inner picture of and an almost-mystical connection to – but do not truly know. Perhaps better than this: As they traverse this speed-of-light, international bridge, they will meet a family they didn’t know,” says Hayes.
Before giant corporations from around the world found their pots of gold in Ireland, it was often said that the nation’s leading export was its children. Now the seed breed and new generations of the offspring of those children can return to their heritage online.
Hayes says IrishCentral will be a website that taps into this wellspring on many levels, providing the latest news, sports, entertainment and business coverage to this far-flung audience, as well as creating a huge, vibrant online community.
“The hope is the world’s Irish will meet others who share their particular interests, create family galleries and personal clan pages, upload their own pictures and videos, send in their own news stories, study their clan’s roots, look for real estate and employment, find the Irish lad or lass of their dreams, and even share their favorite jokes. Best-of-breed software will help this giant online family quickly find and connect them with others who share their roots, their interests, who’ll enjoy their photo galleries, videos, recipes – and even people who’ll give them a good argument why Tyrone has the best football team in Ireland,” says Hayes.
“Social networking like this is supposedly something new – but for 25 years, our print publications have been building what is now a powerful and influential social network of leading Irish-Americans through events such as the Top 100, Business 100 Legal 100, and Silicon Valley Leaders,” said O’Dowd. “This is a natural next step to extend the network.
“Digitizing the Diaspora is a daunting task, but one which we will accomplish through a thought-out and determined plan based upon our years of success as publishers of Irish America magazine, and the Irish Voice and Home & Away newspapers, as well as with the leadership of a team of expert technical and content experts, for whom success is standard operating procedure,” he said.
“We want to reach out to the Diaspora to tell and to listen, to learn and to be taught, to tell a joke and to hear a joke – to communicate. This is the true power of the Web.
“The hope is we will build it, and the Diaspora will come,” said Hayes.