Ireland Reaching Out – A Different Kind of Genealogy Web Site

irelandxo-logoAre you of Irish Heritage? Would you like to find out more about where your ancestors came from and even connect with people still living in that place today? Ireland Reaching Out is the national diaspora programme and has been connecting people of Irish descent with their ancestral home since 2009.

Most genealogy web sites are designed for use by descendants who wish to learn more about their ancestor and their ancestors’ homelands. Ireland Reaching Out goes in both directions: it is used both by residents in Ireland to to find the descendants of Irish men and women who left the island over the years and by the Irish overseas descendants seeking information about their ancestors and heritage. Both groups benefit greatly.

Ireland Reaching Out is a non-profit organization financed largely by the Irish government. It has pioneered what it calls “reverse genealogy”. Rather than waiting for people to trace their Irish ancestry, it constructs family trees from root to branch, tracking down the descendants of those who left for America, Australia and other countries. Volunteers then invite them to visit the homeland. The hope is to eventually build a database of the Irish diaspora containing 30 or 40 million names.


Ireland Reaching Out, often abbreviated as Ireland XO, is designed as a place to share a unique heritage with over 70 million people worldwide. It is about a shared cultural identity that is celebrated for its art, music, storytelling and, above all, for the warmth of its people. The goal of Ireland XO is to try to identify the townland, parish and county where your ancestors lived. Ireland XO says that it is not a genealogical service. However, the volunteers on the site offer advice when they can. As a result, it has become a valuable web site for genealogists seeking information about Irish ancestry.

Quoting from the Ireland XO web site:

This genuine desire to connect is at the heart of Ireland Reaching Out. Our mission is to help people of Irish descent all over the world discover their place of origin and become a part of its global community. You may be surprised to learn that people still living in your ancestors’ birthplace are also curious to hear the stories, and meet the descendants, of the people that left their community so many years ago.

All over the island of Ireland, people are looking to reconnect with descendants of Irish emigrants who are living all over the world. Time and geography may have separated us, but we all share a common heritage – a bond that cannot be broken and one that can now be rekindled and kept alive through modern technology.

Ireland Reaching Out is a FREE service. Our volunteers would be delighted to help you find out more about your Irish heritage and connect you with the Ireland of today. So why not awaken your Irish spirit – either by posting a message on the Community message board or by connecting with your Irish place of origin directly on their parish page on this website.

The Ireland XO web site offers a wealth of services, including:

  • Genealogy advice
  • Online 1901 and 1911 Census records
  • Many Irish Church Records
  • Information about Ireland’s Global Diaspora
  • A Parish Finder to locate the origins of your ancestors
  • A Parish Survey that documents the emigrants who left your ancestors’ community and trace their living descendants all over the world today
  • Lists of of free online resources available on many different web sites
  • Active Message Boards
  • The Ireland XO Chronicles bring to life the heritage of a community by documenting the people, the buildings and the events that existed at any time in the history of the parish. (See the video at
  • Ireland XO People – Ireland XO has dedicated an individual space for every person that ever lived or was associated with a parish, so that they can be recorded and remembered. Their stories and connections are an integral part of the heritage of a parish and can be preserved and built upon for today’s generation and those of the future.
  • Ireland XO Buildings – Ireland XO invites people all over the world to record the location and name of every building in the parish that has had people associated with it in the past. This will include where individuals lived at any one time and with whom.
  • Ireland XO Timeline – Ireland XO enables events and happenings to be recorded at ANY time in the parish’s history, creating a real timeline of the parish and allowing the transcription and preservation of the big, and small news of the time – for all times.
  • And much more…

If you have Irish ancestry but have not yet used this huge online Ireland Reaching Out resource, you need to visit now! You also can learn a lot by reading the free Guide for Users to Using the IrelandXO available at


I have used this group to find relatives in Ireland in two different counties. I have found distant cousins in County Clare that I communicate with periodically. These new found relatives have helped me confirm some information I have found and help us connect each other via our family tree.

I am in the process of having them connect me to new possible relatives I found recently via the Catholic Church baptism records (I searched them on ancestry with the surname I am researching there – Mulqueeny – in County Clare – which I searched by mothers name only with no other names in the search. It pulled up several possible marriages of sisters of my 2nd great grandfather who married a Collins, O’Brien and Dundon in the O’Callahan Mills area. A person described to me as the Broadford area historian is now trying to connect me to individuals who still live in this area with these surnames.

They also helped me identify a possible connection of my Flood family in County Carlow.

All you have to do is post what you know in the Parish where your family is from. They will respond back with some possible relatives. It sometimes takes a few months so be patient. They network with individuals in the various areas who help make the connections to people they know with the same surnames.



Is there any reason why I have not been able to connect to IRE XO for several days now?


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