Today I received an email from the Ireland Reaching Out project asking if I would publicize their efforts on my blog.
I am very pleased to do that as I have an earnest belief in the objectives of the organization – to make contact with the diaspora of each parish in Ireland to invite them to visit the land of their ancestors. This is a bottom up initiative, that arose from the Global Irish Economic Forum that met in Dublin some years ago. The project, initially rolled out on a pilot basis in some Galway parishes has been supported by a grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies, who have been good friends of Ireland since Chuck Feeney made that first investment in 3rd level education in this country.
Now in its second year, the project has already been rolled out in many parishes with the ultimate goal of having a branch in each of 2,500 parishes across the length and breath of this island, connecting with the Irish diaspora and helping them trace their ancestors.
Today, this wonderful picture was posted on Facebook. It shows a family of 18 people standing in front of their ancestral family home in the County Cork village of Kildorrery. This house was the home of a great-grandfather and had been located by the local Reaching Out Group .
If you don’t know your parish of origin, knowing the county of origin will help. Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) aims to work parish-by-parish around the country to connect parishes here with Ireland’s global diaspora and help people of Irish ancestry trace their descendants. The organisation is also working with the Gathering 2013 initiative to boost the number of people visiting Ireland next year, and it was one of this year’s Arthur Guinness Fundwinners, receiving a €100,000 prize and business mentoring over the coming two years.
Here is the letter from Dolores :
Ireland Reaching Out – Unlock your past in Ireland!
If you are reading this, it could mean that either you or your ancestors are from Ireland. Have you ever wondered exactly where your people came from and what has made you who you are? Typically the Irish across the world try at some time in their lives to reconnect with their home land. The Ireland Reaching Out Programme is here to help in that discovery.
Ireland Reaching Out is a new voluntary initiative seeking to identify those who left Ireland, in order to trace them and their descendants worldwide. A team of volunteers is involved in the Irish Government-sponsored project, researching the names of Irish emigrants, contacting them or their descendants and inviting them to (re)connect with their ancestral parish.
Above all, Ireland XO builds on the paper trail of the records that may only get you so far, by providing that final link of local knowledge. We link you directly to people from the communities of your ancestors and use their knowledge to perhaps finally discover that elusive headstone, or the spot where the ancestral home once stood, or to even seek out some long-lost cousins.
By joining any parish community online you can seek direct genealogical research assistance from local people in the area who also volunteer to meet you should you make a return visit. You can join your parish on our website www.irelandxo.com or contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or ‘phone: +353 (0)91 842013.