This June we mark 25 years of the internet in Ireland. Webfactory can proudly call itself a true pioneer in the internet’s history in Ireland.
Back 1992, in the mists of time, Simon Walsh, MD of Webfactory, was working as Head of Campus Information Systems in UCD. One year previously UCD had connected to the internet, swiftly following on the heels of Trinity College Dublin.
Simon, ever curious, started playing around with this new thing and discovered he liked it. So he built a Content Management System, as you do. Shortly after everyone in UCD was using it to tell each other useful, important things. Remember, this was before cats, goats, and Facebook were invented.
Then he met up with a guy called Eamon. Eamon wanted to build an online channel for the Irish diaspora. So they worked at night to build Paddynet. Its chat rooms and boards took off and it all culminated in a live online event on Paddy’s Day in 1997. That day Paddynet broadcast 3 simultaneous gigs live in Dublin, NY and Paris. Donal Lunny even did a 3-way jam over the internet while we all furiously tried to dial in on our Gateway modems.
They built Paddynet via their new web company, Webfactory which they had set up in 1994. It took off and soon Webfactory was doing a lot of work for pretty big companies: Guinness, Smurfit Business School, EMI, British Commonwealth and Ogilvy & Mather. There was something in this website business.
Webfactory has continued to grow and build beautiful, useful things for Irish businesses. We’re still at it today. We’ve also gathered together a pretty amazing team of people from all countries and walks of life. Some of our staff joined us over 20 years ago, some only last week.
Today we raise our collective phones, mice, and keyboards and think for a moment about what we did with our time pre-1991 and say hip hip hooray for the internet!