A very happy new year’s eve to all the readers and sharers of An Sionnach Fionn from me, your humble Fenian author, and here’s hoping that you have a great start to 2016. While the last twelve months have been a bit of a trial in Teach an tSionnaigh, between reoccurring illnesses and dramatic changes in my not-so 9-to-5 job, I’m glad to note that I managed to keep my commitment to ASF at (almost) the same levels as 2014. There’s been days when banging away at the blogging keyboard has been the only thing that has kept me from dealing out a few slaps to co-workers and strangers alike. That and walking the madra up and down the odd hill or two.
On a brighter note the number of visitors to An Sionnach Fionn since May of 2011 has now passed the one million mark. Ok, a teeny-weeny grain of sand on the Irish web-beach but it’s good to know that some people like my writing enough to come back for the odd visit or observation – or critical comment-bomb (Messrs. Circenis and Cronin, I’m thinking of you). Unfortunately Facebook’s insistence that I am a product not a person has pretty much killed my traffic from that source, however referrals from elsewhere within the social media sphere have slightly lessened the impact. The lesson for web-publishers is clear: you permit Facebook, or any other third-party, to control access to your readers and potential readers at your peril.
In other news, I can now tell you that ASF has been invited by the Library of Trinity College Dublin, in co-operation with the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, and the British Library, London, to be one of the submissions in a joint-project to establish a “…web-archive to preserve websites that can contribute to an understanding of the Easter Rising, 1916.” With all the formalities and permissions out of the way hopefully the process of caching the relevant pages of An Sionnach Fionn for the online data-archive will be completed in the coming months.
Aside from a few mentions around the Irish news and current affairs scene (by turns good, bad and indifferent), ASF was nominated to the Blog Awards Ireland for the third year in a row. The 2015 candidate for best blog post was my description of the battle in the besieged townlands of Pettigo and Belleek between the Irish Republican Army and the British Occupation Forces in 1922, the largest single confrontation in Ireland since the Easter Rising several years earlier. Unfortunately we were pipped at the post in the final run-off (pun intended).
So, a big thank you to everyone who has made all of the above possible. Readers, commentators and sharers alike, not just here on the website itself but also on ASF’s Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. A special thank you to the contacts and anonymous email droppers who have continued to pass on the insider details, scandal and gossip that has helped shape the stories featured here. The extra effort – and risk – is much appreciated. I should also, as always, apologise to the many, many, many people who have messaged me or left observations on various platforms across 2015 and who I have replied to late or, worse, not at all. Tá áiféala orm.
Though it would be unfair to single out one person in particular for praise I will give a hat-tip and a bow to a certain lady from the fine state of Oklahoma who has supported this buzzing mosquito since it first took flight. Go raibh míle maith agat, a Sheároin.
Meanwhile, Joan Burton goes for a swim!