Welcome Home!

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.

Discovering the ancestral home – part of the service from Ireland Reaching Out . Photo from Ireland Reaching Out

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!

Dear Reader,

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: info@irelandxo.com or ‘phone: +353 (0)91 842013.

 Yours sincerely

 Dolores O’Shea

Ireland Reaching Out | 25 Dunkellin Street | Loughrea | Co Galway | Ireland
Tel: +353 (0) 85 1925466 | Email: doshea@irelandxo.com | Web: www.irelandxo.com


Atlantic Philanthropies 

Ireland Reaching  Out 

Recent Irish Television Programme 



Filed under Emigration from Ireland, Family History, Genealogy, Ireland, Irish Diaspora, Irish Heritage

10 responses to “Welcome Home!

  1. It’s a great initiative, and I hope it’s so successful that even I get to visit!

    Thanks for posting…

  2. While their heart is in the right place, and this effort is admirable, I do believe they will fall very short and leave lots disappointed. While I have already made my contact with my cousins, all the way back to 2000, I was the first of the Diaspora to register at Feakle parish and don’t expect to get any reply soon. This area (east county Clare) is much less populated than Ennis, and the family history leanings are just not there, even among my cousins who I keep in touch with.

    • Jane Halloran Ryan

      Hi James:

      I read your post and I’m hoping that I can be of some assistance. I am the parish administrator for Tulla parish and I have McNamara connections here in Tulla. If you want, I would be happy to assist you in looking further at your family history. We have become involved in the XO project in the last 8 months and we are hoping that other parishes in the area will get involved. You can contact me through the project at tulla@irelandxo.com. I look forward to hearing from you.


  3. Jim. I have noticed earlier comments from you in this regard and I do understand where you are coming from.This project is in its infancy – last year they had a pilot project comprising a number of parishes in south Galway. This year, other parishes have come on board. A glance at the map on the website will show that there is indeed a dearth of information from most parishes with huge tracts of Ireland totally uncovered. I know that you have done wonderful work in tracing your ancestors in the Feakle area of Clare. Feakle is a tiny place with a population of about a hundred people. This project depends on the engagement of local volunteers and in all probability it may work better when a number of parishes come together – Feakle, Scariff and Tulla for example. That you have registered your interest is a great first step and may attract other interested people. You are right to say that many Irish people do not embrace family history in a way that our diaspora does, but I do hope that the work that you have done to trace your family may be an inspiration to many. I hope that Feakle and surrounding areas may soon be ‘on the map’ and that this project is
    a huge success in years to come.
    Thank you for your comment which is much appreciated. Kind regards. Angela

  4. Dolores

    Dolores here from IrelandXO – it’s very interesting to read the comments and thank you for your feedback. This programme is a slow-burner, and it will indeed take years perhaps to reach out to all the 2,500+ parishes depending as we are on local voluntary effort. But as we say in Ireland “keep the faith” – momentum is growing every day evidenced by the volume of message postings. There have been some wonderful reconnections proving that the concept does work – now we need to scale it.

    • Dolores. Thank you for that . Yes I can see the potential and hopefully by joining up some of the dots it might take off exponentially. It would be good to highlight parishes where there is someone on the ground, even if the programme has not been rolled out. Do keep us posted and we will blog it here ! With every good wish , Angela

      • jpmtcc


        Thanks for this blog and thanks to Jane of Tulla Parish Ireland XO Reaching Out project.
        All the best,

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