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The Irish Are Going Global!

 

Updated : Mar 19, 2009

IrishCentral.com, the first-ever global Irish Website, wnt live March 15, with a worldwide celebrity crowd of Irish and Irish-Americans in attendance.
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen officially launched the site at the prestigious American Irish Historical Society in New York City.

“IrishCentral’s goal 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 an exciting, ambitious mission that we hope will bring a new era to Irish America,” said Niall O’Dowd, founder of the new site and publisher of Irish America magazine and the Irish Voice newspaper.
“We are calling out to the global Irish – wherever they may be — to come home to this very special place,” O’Dowd said. “On IrishCentral.com, our worldwide audience will be able to discover or rediscover their Irishness, to connect again to their special and wondrous heritage. We are hoping to do what has never been done before: use the power of the Internet to create a home for the global Irish.”

According to O’Dowd, visitors to IrishCentral.com can catch up on news from around the Irish world; check out Gaelic football and soccer matches; follow their Irish idols in the worlds of movies, music, theater, books and TV; find the most colorful editorial and video coverage about taking a trip to Ireland; look for the lad or lass of their dreams on an all-Irish dating site, or even consult IrishCentral.com’s own matchmaker; trace their family roots with Ireland’s best genealogists; and trade jokes, yarns, and videos in ‘The Pub.’ There will be a live streaming webcam from Dublin, special Irish crossword puzzles and Celtic horoscopes, and an online store for everything from books to bagpipes.

“And if they want, they can even learn — to say ‘Kiss my you-know-what!’ in Gaelic,” O’Dowd said with a laugh, referring to an English-to-Irish audio translator on the site.
O’Dowd emphasized that IrishCentral.com will be a two-way street — “powered by you, and us.” Readers will be able to discuss, comment on, pick a fight with an author, or rate any article or video on the site.

Investors in IrishCentral.com include Don Keough, chairman of Allen & Co.; Denis Kelleher, chairman of Wall Street Access; Robert Devlin, chairman of Curragh Capital; and Tom McInerney, a partner in the private-equity firm of Welsh Carson.
“A first-class team” of journalists, engineers and Internet technology experts has been assembled to bring the project to life, said O’Dowd. Both Chief Information Officer Joe Pennisi and General Manager Kevin Hayes come from The New York Daily News, where they oversaw the front-to-back re-engineering and redesign of the famous tabloid’s website. During their tenure, the site roared from an audience of 1.5 million unique monthly visitors to more than 10 million, and became an audience and advertising juggernaut.

Editor Kelly Fincham has long experience in the Irish and Irish-American newspaper publishing world — both print and web. In addition to a dedicated team of IrishCentral.com editors, Fincham will also have ready access to the resources of O’Dowd’s trio of award-winning publications.
Director of Advertising Robert Paltos’ career includes successful stints at The New York Times/IHT, Prodigy Service, Belo and Lee Enterprises, among others. Aer Lingus, Continental Airlines, Tourism Ireland, and CIE Tours are among the first of several advertisers on the site..
IrishCentral.com’s blastoff into cyberspace will coincide with the unveiling of “The Global Irish 100,” the first time that a worldwide honor roll of Irish has been created. Many of the awardees will be present at the gala ceremony, and are coming from across Ireland, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Argentina, Australia and many other places the global Irish now call home.
“We could not have a better audience,” O’Dowd said. “They not only show the scope and depth of the global Irish – and the contributions they have made to their adopted nations – but they are what IrishCentral.com is all about. We came from one land, went to many lands, and now have one “address” – on the Internet – that all of us can share and enjoy.”

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