DUBLIN, Ireland – (April 1, 2010) – Ireland’s new Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Mary Hanafin, TD, announced today that the Irish government has purchased the Irish Fireside, the Internet’s most popular Irish travel and culture blog and podcast.
“With the growing popularity of blogs, podcasts, social media and the launch of Apple’s new iPad, we see the Irish Fireside as a key to Ireland’s tourism recovery,’ said Hanafin. “2009 was a very difficult for us, and the Irish Fireside Holiday Giveaway was one bright spot in a year of dismal news. I love the Cliffs of Moher bookmark I won.”
The €1.2 million acquisition takes place today, but fans won’t notice changes right away. The Irish Fireside’s Liam Hughes and Corey Taratuta will remain on the blog’s editorial team, but they will likely be replaced on the podcast by Niamh Quirke and Ryan Andrews, up-and-coming stars of the popular Irish television drama “Fair City.”
“We felt it was important to have real Irish voices on the show that would resonate with the Internet’s youthful audience” said Hanafin. “Especially after it was revealed that one of the hosts wasn’t even Irish. We can’t have that.”
The news has already drawn criticism from local tourism offices. Orla O’Connor, a tourism officer from Kilcommon, County Tipperary said, “Tourism officials told me they couldn’t afford to send me more hotel brochures, but they can spend a million euro on some Internet fad. It’s an outrage. Do you realize how many fliers I could get for that?”
When asked what he intends to do with money from the sale, Liam Hughes said, “I think I’ll stay at one of those fancy Irish castle hotels. I can finally afford to stay in one, and they’re offering a book two nights get one free.” Taratuta reportedly was on his way to Idaho to begin talks with the producers of the Engaging Ireland Podcast.