Volunteering with Ireland Reaching Out means that you make a difference as every one of our volunteers brings something special to the Programme. Here you can find out more about the various volunteer roles available. We have a role for everyone, so please get in contact if you would like to help.
Many of our volunteers have a knowledge of local resources and local history and they know their own parish communities better than anyone. So, why not become a part of Ireland Reaching Out by volunteering with us; you will be investing in your community and promoting its growth in a visible way, bringing people together, making new friends and supporting those in the search for their Irish ancestors.
There are a number of volunteer roles available in IrelandXO. Some of these are online roles that require you to manage an online parish profile for example, while others are event orientated.
Our roles include:
- Parish Liaison
- Meet and Greet
- Public Relations Officer
- Event Organiser
- Website Editor
You will be the first point of contact for those looking for information about their ancestors. As the representative of your parish you will be responsible for making sure your Parish Profile is the best it can be. You will make sure that the events and places of interest details are up to date and that your club news and photos show your parish in the best possible light. You will also interact with other volunteers at a parish and national level and engage in parish projects where possible.
- Responding to queries left on message boards - posting an acknowledgement & offering advice
- Interacting regularly with other Community Volunteers and IrelandXO staff
- Participating in IrelandXO activities and projects for the area of volunteer service
- Assisting with the promotion of the IrelandXO programme and the recruitment of additional volunteers
Meet and Greet
You will be an important part of the Ireland XO Team as our Meet and Greeters take the time to get know and welcome the members of the Diaspora to their parish. This is the single most important role within the Welcome Team, the responsibility for which, must be spread as broadly as possible across the parish. If possible, the Welcome Team should have members representing as many townland areas as possible. This of course will not be possible in every instance. The the connection provides a powerful experience for our visitors.
You will have at least a basic knowledge of primary research documents and the communication skills to engage with the local community to retrieve details about the origins and history of family members, at home and abroad. You may also have an interest and general knowledge of the local archaeology, folklore and geography of your area. You will use all of your skills and knowledge to assist with queries on the Message Board.
Public Relations Officer
Perhaps you are available to assist with the promotion of Ireland Reaching Out internationally? You will research Irish special interest groups / organisations in your state or province and distribute IrelandXO digital brochure materials via email to interested organisations. The groups contacted can be of an Irish historical/genealogy nature and/or special interest groups/clubs within your area. You will communicate regularly with our Communications Manager, Laura Colleran who coordinates the IrelandXO Communications Strategy.
Is your parish holding an event? Perhaps you are interested in helping to plan, manage or organise an event. Working with your Parish Liaison and other volunteers your organisational skills will be very welcome. Don't forget to contact our Communications Manager, Laura Colleran to ensure that your event is publicised.
Are you fairly web-savvy with good IT Skills? We are looking for a volunteer to assist us in posting notices about events of local genealogical or heritage events on the website. Its a simple task: we get notice from web sources and volunteers to promote various events and news on our website - but as we are a small team of full-time volunteers, we don't have the time to do this task as well as we might. If you think you might be able to help in this regard, please drop Laura Colleran at firstname.lastname@example.org a note and we'll take it from there. There is certainly room for more than one editor - so please don't hesitate to contact us - you won't be on your own! You can be based anywhere worldwide to help with this - however a good knowledge of local Ireland would definately be useful. We are particularly keen to work with Website Editor Volunteers on a County by County basis. (Posted Jan 2nd 2016).
To register simply fill out our Volunteer Application here
For a taste of what it is like to be an Ireland Reaching Out Volunteer, why not read the stories below from Parish Liaisons Jane Halloran Ryan and Roger McDonnell
Roger Mc Donnell (Volunteer of the Year 2014)
Many of the folks who post information are not familiar with Tithe Applotment listings, Griffiths Valuation survey and even the 1901 and 1911 Census records. I try to find the records for them and/or provide sites that may aid them in their research. Although there are many parish liaisons working with Ireland XO, there are only about four volunteers who provide daily coverage of the message board in addition to the Ireland XO HQ staff in Loughrea. It is very rewarding to be able to provide information that helps a researcher find where their family originated in Ireland and possibly connect with relatives in Ireland.
Although I was somewhat apprehensive about being a parish liaison living in the States, it has not been a problem. I would encourage anyone outside Ireland who may be on the fence to give it a try.”
Jane Halloran Ryan (Volunteer of the Year 2013)
Jane became involved in the Ireland XO project in 2011 and is the current Parish Liaison for Tulla in Clare.
Born and raised in Connecticut, Jane is of Irish descent with ancestral connections from Cork, Sligo, Clare and Antrim. She graduated from Fairfield University with a degree in accounting and came to Ireland to study law with the Law Society of Ireland. She qualified as a Solicitor in 1997 and practiced in Clare and Limerick for several years before staying home to raise her five children full-time.
Jane has always had a keen interest in genealogy and family history, a love inherited from her mother, Paula McDonough Halloran and her paternal grandmother, Helen Barry Halloran, who gave her invaluable assistance in getting started in genealogy and was a great source of information having lived until she was 101. Jane has traced her connections back to the 1760s on one side and the 1800’s on the other. Her family connections to her ancestral parish of Tulla have kept her in Ireland where she met and married her husband, Michael, a farmer and native of Tulla.
Jane was presented with her award by Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh and Ireland Reaching Out Founder Mike Feerick. Speaking at the presentation Mike explained that Jane was chosen as the Volunteer of the Year as she had been a firm supporter of the Ireland XO programme since its inception. She developed and expanded the network of volunteers in Clare and has been a positive force in the engagement and interaction of the diaspora with Tulla. Overall Mike believes that Jane is a shining example of what an Ireland XO volunteer can achieve and the programme is honoured to work with her.