I recently had a conversation with Mike Feerick, the founder of the Irish Diaspora website Ireland Reaching Out. An Irish-based charity, it has 120,000 members worldwide, and provides a free service helping the Irish Diaspora aboard to connect with their parishes/local communities of origin in Ireland. Mike (like myself) was born abroad, but grew up in Ireland with a fascination about the Irish who emigrated–and also a keen interest in those who fought in the American Civil War.

Mike and I discussed a project which I wanted to share with readers, and to canvass potential interest in being involved. Ireland Reaching Out is hoping to set up a team of volunteers that will seek to identify the parishes of Irish origin for Irish veterans of the Civil War. It is hoped that it will provide a means of highlighting their participation, as well as promoting awareness of what they did among their relatives and descendants in Ireland. 

As Mike explains, by profiling Irish participants in the Civil War through the “Chronicles” section of the Ireland Reaching Out website, this free genealogical record can be built upon by volunteers in both America and Ireland – with the latter in a position to connect and profile veterans’ families and descendants on the island. For the full story to be told, the narrative from both countries has to be uncovered.

Ireland Reaching Out are proposing to create a steering committee for the project and are looking for volunteers. Ireland Reaching Out is an Irish government funded project with a full-time staff of five dedicated to developing programmes celebrating the lives of Irish people and those of Irish heritage abroad.If you think you might be interested in coming on board, please email info@irelandxo.com and they will be in contact.

I think this has the potential to be a really exciting project, and would be interested to hear reader’s thoughts. Please do contact Mike and his team if you think you would be interested in becoming involved– and feel free to share word of this far and wide!