A Whirlwind Tour of Ireland’s Internet History

I had the pleasure of giving a talk at HEAnet’s National Conference 2019 last Friday on Ireland’s internet history as seen from INEX’s perspective. HEAnet is a founding member of INEX and one of our greatest supporters. They were the first to order a 10Gb port way back when they were new and shiny; and again the first to order a 100Gb port when they became available in 2015. Both of these were collaborative efforts allowing us each to get familiar with this new technology.

Ireland’s internet history – especially the dial-up era – has many fascinating stories. I was of school-going age when this all kicked off but there are some recent excellent projects covering the era and well worth a bedtime read.

  1. The History of the Irish Internetinternethistory.ie – by Niall Richard Murphy. As well as telling his own story, Niall sat down with luminaries of that era including INEX’s own Nick Hilliard and Barry Rhodes.
  2. The TechArchives project which collects stories about Ireland’s long and convoluted relationship with information technology and preserves them. This is done through personal testimonies and includes people such as Barry Flanagan who formed one of Ireland’s first dial-up ISPs from his garage in Galway and gave me my start in the ISP industry; and Barry Rhodes whose history with Ireland’s internet starts long before INEX.
  3. For INEX’s 20th anniversary, we undertook a project to record the history of the exchange which can be found here – it also includes some personal reflections from those involved in its early days.

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