Posted by Niall O'Dowd at 4/17/2009 6:04 PM EDT
One month on the road and a million and a half page views later Irishcentral.com has truly arrived.
The reaction from you, the online Irish community has been so positive that we have no doubt that the dream of creating and expanding the Irish family online has had a successful takeoff.
Along the way we have encountered many surprises and new directions. I liken it to riding a bucking bronco, where you never know what direction you will take off on.
I had previously founded Irish America Magazine and Irish Voice newspaper but this takeoff was like no other. The runaway is shorter, the climb is steeper and the journey is itself the destination
Put simply, the web is like utterly famished newborn baby every hour of every day, which needs constant feeding.
With a weekly or a monthly there was no such pressure except around press time and weekends were times to relax and forget. Not now -- I am anxiously checking the wires and ensuring nothing is breaking even when allegedly relaxing.
We were hardly on the web when the tragic death of Natasha Richardson brought a cascade of reaction. Then my interview with New York Time columnist Maureen Dowd took flight and I found myself fielding queries from Gawker and Perez Hilton, two sites I had barely heard of before that. A New York Times profile on the site was also a huge breakthrough for us.
On St.Patrick’s night when the ‘mystic chords of memory” as Ronald Reagan once described the Irish experience were in full voice Irishcentral was one of the few media outlets in the White House to see President Obama and Irish leader Brian Cowen meet.
It was an awe-inspiring moment to walk where Lincoln and John F Kennedy walked and to feel the power and glory of the greatest democracy on earth. It was even better to be able to report back live on the site on what it was really like to meet this charismatic president and the Irish leader
The Irish dancing phenomenon proved to us that if you build it they will come. In this case the 20,000 or so who descended on Philadelphia for the World Championships for the first time ever in America.
We sent two reporters per day and were richly rewarded with flood of wonderful and uplifting stories about the role that Irish heritage has played in so many lives.
Suddenly we realized we had found our place amid that community, one that receives scant coverage even though there are undoubtedly more people involved with dance than any other Irish pursuit in America and indeed the world.
There were some special moments such as the man from Norway e mailing how much he loved the site and telling us about his St.Patrick’s Day. Then there was the coupe from Kenya who wrote telling us about how they held an Irish traditional music session every Friday in their home and scores of people come.
All in all, a great insight into the Diaspora and the Irish heritage we all share. It may be only a month but it feels like a life long memory.
I always loved that the button on the site to bring you back to the main page, which is called home. That’s what it feels like at Irishcentral. Home Thanks to all of you, our advertisers, investors and readers for all yo