President Obama's Irish Cousin Leads Funding Drive To Help Descendants Find Their Roots In Ireland

Ireland is reaching out to connect everyone of Irish ancestry with their ancestral home in Ireland. Henry Healy, President Obama's Irish cousin is leading a campaign to train people in Ireland to do local research and find out where you come from - and he needs your help.

Online PR News – 23-April-2013 – Galway, Ireland – When people of Irish heritage arrive in Ireland searching for their roots, Ireland XO wants to make sure there is someone there to meet them, to welcome them, to give advice, and if possible, show them around their ancestral home and introduce them to living Irish relatives.

To do this, Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) is hoping to hire a national training manager for one year. While the organisation has done well to get government support to build itself up to an organisation of nearly 20 staff, and 2,000 volunteers across Ireland, it has struggled to raise funds for a training officer.

Last month, a US-based Ireland XO volunteer suggested that a crowd-sourced funding campaign should be organised.

Full details can be found at the link below" target="_blank" class="highlight_link">

About Ireland XO

Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) is a multi-award-winning national programme based on a simple idea; instead of waiting for Irish descendants and their global counterparts to come back to Ireland to trace their roots, we go the other way. Working through voluntary effort at a townland and parish level, local Irish communities identify who left, tracing them and their descendants worldwide inviting them to become part of an extended “virtual” community with their place of origin. In this way, the entire Irish Diaspora of 70 million can be systematically reunified through reverse genealogy.

The Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) programme won the special award at the national “Pride of Place” Awards in Nov 2011 and in February 2012, was voted the “Best Community” initiative nationally by the Local Authorities Members Awards (LAMA). The project was founded in South-East Galway by tech entrepreneur Mike Feerick in 2009 and has been funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Heritage Council, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Ireland Funds, Galway County Council, Galway Rural Development (GRD), and Irish-American sources. Sponsors include Google, Guinness, An Post, and the National Library. In Dec 2011, the project launched a global partnership with the GAA, agreeing to link newly identified members of the Irish Diaspora to the network of nearly 500 GAA clubs worldwide. Well-known broadcasters and economists David McWilliams and George Lee have been prominent supports of Ireland XO pointing out the extraordinary economic potential of the programme, which rises well beyond the immediate and obvious tourism opportunity.

The Ireland Reaching Out programme aims to connect over a million people through the programme by the end of 2013. The Ireland XO programme is working in close partnership with the Gathering 2013 initiative which is preparing to invite an additional 340,000 visitors to Ireland through the end of 2013, and also with local county council and LEADER groups. Shannon Development, the economic development agency for the Mid-West is leading the adoption of Ireland XO in 376 parishes in its area with the assistance of local authority and LEADER organizations, as is the Western Development Commission (WDC) with approx. 200 parishes. Any Parishes across Ireland who are not yet involved in Ireland XO or the Gathering 2013 initiative are encouraged to contact the Ireland XO Headquarters in Loughrea, Co Galway. Anyone with an interest in their community, its history, tourism, business or genealogy, is encouraged to get involved and learn more about the programme. While Ireland XO parish volunteers are reaching out around the world, the website provides a landing point in Ireland for people abroad who have some detail about where their emigrant ancestors hail from in Ireland. By joining any parish community online, they can seek direct genealogical research assistance from local people in the area who also volunteer to meet them on their return.

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