Welcome to our February newsletter featuring all the latest news on Ireland XO.
In this issue:
And finally, please spread the word about the project. In particular, you might send this newsletter on to others whom you think may be interested so they can keep up-to-date with Ireland XO developments! You can use the Forward to a Friend link at the bottom of this email.
Your Ireland XO Team
A report compiled by Failte Ireland on Ireland XO's media and press coverage in 2011 has estimated that the value of our publicity worldwide was the equivalent of a media spend of approximately US $500,000!
The highlights of the year included RTE and BBC radio and TV as well as articles published in the Irish Times, Irish Independent and the New York Times, which in particular continues to send large numbers of new visitors to the Ireland XO website.
For all those of you who helped the project gain access to press, radio and TV coverage, a hearty thank you, and a special thanks of those who promoted Ireland XO locally by putting up posters and sharing our newsletters and press releases abroad.
Visit our Press & Media site here.
We are delighted to welcome Dr. Sinéad Cooney to the expanding Ireland XO team. Dr. Sinéad Cooney, our new genealogist for Ireland Reaching Out, will be based at the Ireland XO headquarters in Loughrea. She will be available to answer queries on researching your family tree and will be involved in the delivery of Ireland XO's education and outreach programme.
Sinead hails from Roscommon and holds a PhD in Modern History from University College Dublin. She has worked for national cultural institutions such as the National Museum of Ireland, Museum of Country Life and Trinity College Dublin, and looks forward to working with and meeting everyone involved in the Ireland Reaching Out project.
Mike Feerick with the US Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Dan Rooney, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs at the U.S. State Department, Meghann Curtis.
At the Inaugural US-Ireland Alumni Conference, Ireland XO Chairman, Mike Feerick, was invited by the US Ambassador, Mr Dan Rooney, to be Guest Keynote Speaker. Before over 150 alumni and US Embassy representatives, Mike entertained at the luncheon with an engaging presentation on Ireland Reaching Out. Mike closed the conference by challenging the alumni to get involved with their local and ancestral parishes to connect Ireland around the world.
Ireland XO wins in Best Community-Based Initiative Category
Ireland Reaching Out has won a major national award for the Best Community Project -- we won the top prize last Saturday night at the prestigious LAMA (Local Authority Members Awards) in Dublin. Cited for its originality, popularity among parishes and volunteers, and its potential to scale across the country, the award was presented by Minister for the Environment, Mr Phil Hogan and award host Miriam O’Callaghan.
Full Press Release here.
Ireland XO Parish Message Boards
Helping you find your ancestors - some recent successes!
In August 2011, Mike Kelly (USA) posted a message on the Ballymacward parish message board requesting information about his ancestors. He was looking for his grandfather’s family, Joseph Kelly. His grandfather had approx. 11 siblings, five of whom went to the USA while six remained in Ireland. In November 2011, after many searches of records and following up on different Kelly families from the Ballymacward area, his cousins from Galway area were located. Mike was informed and they have connected and exchanged photos and correspondence since.
Email message received from Mike Kelly in Nov 2011
It's a cliché..'I don't have the words to express...' but it's true. Upon reading your email I was flooded with emotions, one of which was a sincere gratitude for all you've done. It just means so much. Please thank your organization and other volunteers for me for the work they do and the thoughtfulness of the project. I hope I can thank them in person this June, or sooner! I will keep you updated on my family contacts.
O'Brien, Lycoe, Grealish families from near Gort
Visit the Gort-Kilmacduagh-Kiltartan message board to read how our local researcher on the ground, Sr. de Lourdes Fahy, using her knowledge of the area and access to local records, helped Maggie Lattner in the USA find her grandmother's ancestral parish of Derrycullen North, Beagh.
Email message received from Maggie Lattner:
When I came to Ireland Reaching Out, I had hit a brick wall in my 10 year search for my family genealogy. I was lucky enough to find Sister De Lourdes and she had found everything I was looking for within a matter of weeks.
I now know that my family is from Derrycullen North and I am confident that when I return to Ireland next year, I will feel that connection to a homeland that my Grandmother loved so dearly.
Ballyhoura Country Region
At a meeting in Loughrea, Co. Galway in October 2011, community members from Lough Gur and Knockainey in east Limerick, in the company of the Tourism and Heritage Officer for Ballyhoura Development, expressed a strong interest in bringing the project to the Ballyhoura Country Region. Then on November 30th, over 30 community members from across Ballyhoura Country converged on Kilmallock to hear John Joe Conwell, Parish Liaison Officer of the Ireland Reaching Out Project, give a presentation on its development and successes in South East Galway. The presentation created much enthusiasm and sowed the seed for a cluster of west Limerick parishes to participate in the Ireland XO project.
Today, the parishes of Lough Gur, Kilbehenny, Knockainey, Kilmallock and Bruff are among the most active in the Ireland XO community. A further bow to their cap is their Heritage & History Training programme My People, My Place, My Heritage which kicks off on 22nd February and builds on a similar lecture series run in south east Galway last year. Details can be found here.