Ireland Reaching Out is an amazing project, creating an online, virtual community for the 70 million people of Irish descent worldwide.
Irish volunteers at local parish level are literally reaching out to the Irish Diaspora via the internet and inviting them to reengage with the ancestral homes of their forefathers.
Strong, deep ties link the people of Ireland and America. For centuries the Irish crossed the Atlantic, seeking to start a new life. Years later many of their descendants return to Ireland in search of ancestral threads, hoping to reweave their family story. Their greatest dream is to reconnect with the people, parish and culture their forefathers left behind.
For many retracing their roots is a daunting task. Searching for information in a strange land is simply intimidating. For years the responsibility of reconnecting with long-lost relatives fell heavily upon the shoulders of the near 70 million people worldwide of Irish descent.
But all this has changed with Ireland Reaching Out. Their volunteers now actively seek to reunite all people of Irish descent through a system of reverse genealogy. Rather than waiting for people of Irish heritage to search for their Irish connections, Reaching Out volunteers at a parish level actively seek to find and trace descendents of those who left in years gone by.
Their admirable and formidable goal is to trace and record all the people who left a parish and to network and interface with their living descendents worldwide through the power of the internet.
Their motto is:
Ní neart go cur le chéile
There’s no strength without unity
I personally experienced the power of their work a few months ago. A volunteer working for the parish where my father grew up in Co. Cork found this little blog of mine and contacted me, wondering if I am whom she thought I might be. She knows my family well. It was lovely to exchange e-mails and connect to my roots. The internet is changing the world and the people of Ireland Reaching Out are harnessing its power.
So, if you know where your ancestors hailed from in Ireland, check out the parishes which have registered with this project by clicking here. Over 2500 parishes are currently participating. Who knows you may be able to trace your roots to where it all began.
This weekend the second annual Week of Welcomes celebration is concluding in Southeast Galway. The friends, relatives and descendants of Irish emigrants from the area were invited to participate in a week of special events designed to help them explore their past, and reconnect with the people from their forefathers’ villages and parishes. I hope all of the participants enjoyed a wonderful week of unforgettable experiences, forged new friendships, strengthened family bonds and created memories to last a lifetime and beyond.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom