It was on December 15th, 2004, that a guy calling himself 'Young Irelander', influenced by the blogs Slugger O'Toole and A Tangled Web, took the plunge and set up his own blog - United Irelander. I must admit that I had alot of uncertainty and anxiety about blogging. I didn't have a clue about any of the technical stuff for one thing. The template scared the hell out of me to be honest! All I knew was that I had alot of things I wanted to get off my chest. I wasn't aware of too many Irish nationalist blogs about the place, certainly not any that reflected my own outlook on nationalism and the United Ireland question, and I wanted that situation to change. So, as a result, this blog was born and it's been alot of fun for me I have to say!
I've been looking through United Irelander's archives, particularly the early stuff that I produced, and I do feel I've come a long way since then. I believe the current posts are of a far better quality than the ones I was producing a year ago. It's surprising looking back because alot of the content I came up with seems quite raw. If you're interested, here are the posts I made on December 15th, 2004:
It's only a game...
What's your squirrel name?
What do you expect?
Ahern backs photographic evidence
The more the merrier
Homeward bound secretary
IRA decides to give?
What you can expect
Hero/Villain of the Day - 15.12.04
Wow, 10 posts! I guess I had the blogging itch right from the start!
For me, blogging has been quite an experience. There have been times when I've been enthralled by it as well as times when I've thought about packing it in. I've had some laughs on this blog as well as some very heated exchanges. I've managed to offend all kinds of people over the last year! Nationalists and unionists, conservatives and liberals. I've managed to offend my compatriots as well as people from across the globe. I've had frank exchanges with people, and exchanges with people named Frank. (Not my best I'll admit)
While I've been involved in heated exchanges with all sorts of people, I hold no animosity towards them. I like having my opinions tested and while at times I've probably come across as proud, stubborn or maybe even arrogant, believe it or not I do have great respect for the people who come here and engage with me.
Regarding the people who come here, I want to say thank you. When I first started this blog there were only a handful of people who visited. Some of the people who visited back then still visit occasionally. Gerry O'Sullivan, Stack, Paul, Howard, to name but a few. Back then, this blog seemed to revolve around my conversations with them yet, a year later, it's gotten to the stage where I can start a thread, come back hours later and find that conversations have taken place without me even being involved. That's very satisfying. This place is welcome to people of all persuasions. Whether you're a unionist or nationalist, whether you're apolitical, whether you're from Ireland or abroad, this place has people from all walks of life and that's satisfying too.
So here we are. Twelve months and 1502 posts later. I have lots and lots of fond memories. Getting visitors from far off countries, talking to people across oceans and continents, getting noticed by the Sunday Tribune, getting noticed by the BBC, getting noticed by The Guardian apparently (thanks Aileen!), the 'end' of 'Young Irelander', the introduction of the 'United Irelander', the squabbles, the jokes, the lows and the highs. It's been alot of fun for me and I hope it's been fun for you as well.
What of the future? Who knows. I really didn't think I'd be blogging this long but blogging is ridiculously addictive. It's like a drug. I find myself wondering if I really want to continue blogging into 2006 but then I think it would be a great shame to pack it in after going this long.
I shan't think about all that now though. Today is about celebrating making it this far - and without a single lawsuit, can you believe it?
Again, thanks for the memories everyone. God bless.