Early Irish Web Stuff

As far as anyone knows, Peter Flynn in UCC was running the first web server in Ireland sometime in 1991 (as mentioned in the UCC article and the Irish Times article). Justin Mason in Iona followed sometime the spring/summer of 1993 (Justin reckons June 1993). Shortly after that James Casey set one up in maths.tcd.ie. About the same time Liam Relihan was active in Limerick and Mícheál Ó Foghlú came back to Galway from the NSC conference all fired up about the web. Can we date this more accurately?

The earliest weblogs for maths.tcd.ie that I can find have entries from 10 Aug 1993, but from them it seems that content already existed at this stage. This suggests that the WebTeam page is correct in suggesting that work probably started in July 1993. Searching in Google groups for old Usenet postings mentioning local servers produced the following dates and articles mentioning the web servers in question, which means they were probably on the go by the time the article was written. These are just the earliest I can find.

The link for curia.ucc.ie is interesting 'cos it lists 100 "registered" web servers in the world, and 43 others which have been found by following links. This is probably a relatively comprehensive list of servers for the beginning of July 1993. Justin has an updated version of that list from sometime in November 1993 which lists only UCC, Ieunet, maths.tcd, Iona and UL. Simon Boyle has a copy of a list of Irish Websites from November 1995.

I've also searched through the old home.mcom.com "What's New!" pages for .ie sites and picked up another few early mentions.

I've tried searching the Irish Times for "http", to identify early web references. This has produced a couple of useful articles. See at the end.

Some of the later changes are charted by people like Paddy Waldron and are archived on the Wayback machine. Mark Humphrys also produced notes on the 'net (particularly BITNET) in Ireland in the 80s. I also wrote a short description of my memories of how networking evolved about the time I started in TCD for the Irish TechArchives site.

Does anyone else remember Strawberry Pop-Tart Blow-Torches?

Early mentions in Google's Usenet archive

6 Aug 1991 (local): Post from Tim Berners-Lee inviting people to try alpha version of line mode browser - first mention of http?
1 Jul 1993 (local): Post from Tim Berners-Lee listing registered web servers.
30 Aug 1993 (local): Colman Reilly talking about a WWW based MUD client.
21 Sep 1993 (local): Iona's web site mentioned in Justin's sig.
7 Nov 1993 (local): DSG's web site mentioned in Sylvain Louboutin's sig.
16 Nov 1993 (local): Mentioned in a post by John Walsh as an existing Irish web server.
16 Nov 1993 (local): Barry Flanagan says IOL home page is currently just GNN home page.
24 Nov 1993 (local): Liam Relihan talking about his web pages for "The Prisoner" cult TV programme.
19 Jan 1994 (local): Broadcom get a mention in Ciaran Treanor's sig.
25 Feb 1994 (local): Colm Buckley points out where the real Trinity College is.
28 Apr 1994 (local): Jeff Inglis posting a compedium of sources in Ireland. Server may date from late 1993, as Paddy Waldron posts in May that the server has been running for almost six months. [DWM: Also see MCOM dates below. Paddy Waldron dates the setup of the webserver on pwaldron.bess.tcd.ie to 29 November 1993, and the renaming to www.bess.tcd.ie slightly later.]
29 Apr 1994 (local): Eurovision Song Contest web page hosted on Ieunet [DWM: Some early web pages from ieunet are given with the hostname granuaile.IEunet.ie - for example, here is an Irish Times link from 20 Sept 1994.]
4 Mar 1994 (local): CS Web page gets a mention in Justin Farrell's sig.
10 Mar 1994 (local): Computer Vision Group web server mentioned in a sig. [DM: I don't remember this one myself.]
10 May 1994 (local): UCD's Irish page is listed as a source of Irish Information.
15 May 1994 (local): Joe Desbonnet announces wombatix as a server with a west of Ireland focous.
1 June 1994 (local): For reference, the first MS web pages to show up. A few days earlier there are posts saying the name exists but the site isn't yet working.
2 September 1994: Dave Broderick announces that Bank of Ireland and WebNet have put the first Irish bank branch on the Interner (the Trinity branch of BoI).
14 Oct 1994 (local): Conor Nolan mentions a WinVN group on the www.mee. Conor remembers running a server in 1993 on SERWEB, then onto the EMWACS code (mid '94) on NT 3.*, before Microsoft started shipping a web server.
1 Nov 1994 (local): Keith Ahern job hunting and pointing out his multimedia CV.
17 Dec 1994 (local): Sean O Nuallain listed as a workshop chair and his web page will be on www.compapp.dcu.ie after December 23rd.
7 Jan 1995 (local): Maths in Maynooth shows up in a updated list of web (and other) servers.
12 Jan 1995 (local): People looking for the Star Trek unoffical content on www.eeng.dcu.ie get redirected to its new home. Clearly the content is already in place.
4 Jul 1995 (local): Irish-times.com mentioned as a source of information to those abroad by Mike Bates. Later Michael Carley points out The Irish Times on the web (local) is at irish-times.ie. Ireland.com is a later invention. [DWM: According to a poster in the Irish Times, they began publishing on the web about October 1994. An article in the Irish Times on 25 July 1994 mentions sample text available on IEunet. Simon's bookmarks indicate he visited Irish Times Corner in September 1994 on IEunet, and bookmarked irish-times.ie in May 1995. This is broadly consistent with this post on Usenet in October 1994 saying the Irish Times is available on IEunet and posts go back about a month. Dermot Hanley says original content was on IEunet moving to irish-times.ie in April 1995. Also see Conor Pope's article that suggests October 1994 for the IEunet content.]
31 Jul 1995 (local): Internet Eireann added to the Netlink Server list. [DWM: Alex and Simon are pretty certain this was up in 1994, and Internet Eireann was definitely advertising in the Irish Times in 1994.]
4 Sep 1995 (local): Dr Who FAQ mentions Dr Who web pages on Orca. [NRM: Orca was first connected around May 1995 with web pages following shortly thereafter.]
5 October 1995 (local): Read Ireland Bookstore's webpage is hosted on virtualimpact.ie, as mentioned in the sig. [DWM: Alex reckond Virtual Impact was running early in 1995.]
25 Dec 1995 (local): Mentioned in a message announcing a conference in DCU. Looks like the site is probably established at this stage.
9 May 1996 (local): Dave Murphy (Dr Jolt), posting to ie.test. Redbrick is mentioned in his sig.
10 October 1996 (local): John Feeley tells us the Irish Jobs web site now has two sections. [DWM: Ross reckons it was actually running in about February 1996.]
30 March 1998 (local): Chris Mitchell suggests that you should try google.stanford.edu if you like Rankdex. (Interestingly, old proxy logs show accesses the previous day.)
24 Apr 1998 (local): One of the projects on www.heanet.ie gets a mention.
12 October 1998 (local): Google.com advertise for an office manager.

Mentions in home.mcom.com's "What's New!"

30 Aug 1993: CURIA hosting a mail server.
3 Sep 1993: Orbix and SubGenius at Iona.
10 Oct 1993: Home pages and bus timetables at UL.
8 Dec 1993: Ireland Online.
10 Dec 1993: Afcondon windsurfing.
25 Jan 1994: Compapp provide a DCU homepage.
9 Feb 1994: Joint Declaration on Pace signed by Albert Reynolds and John Major.
13 Jun 1994: National Institute for Management Technology (NIMT) at Cork RTC.

Irish News Papers

Irish Times 1994-07-25
An article on "An Irish slice of cyberspace" gives a list of resources of interest to Irish audiences. This includes gopher, mailing lists, Usenet groups, ftp servers and web servers. It contains mentions of itdsrv1.ul.ie, wombatix.physics.ucd.ie, www.maths.tcd.ie, www.bess.tcd.ie, the Irish Times on www.ieunet.ie, www.iol.ie, curia.ucc.ie and also (an IP address in the library in UCG). UCD doesn't seem to have a website at this point, but does have a gopher server. Granuaile.ieunet.ie also gets a mention.
Irish Times 1994-09-12
The article "Caught in a Web" decsribes how the web works, gives a bit of history and mentions some local websites. There is also a map, which I think was hosted in UL, showing Irish websites. The sites marked are UU (Magee), Armargh Observataory, Broadcom, UCD DCU, TCD (Comp Sc, Maths, Distrib Sys, Stud Comp, Economics), IONA, IEunet, HEA, Telecom, Webnet - BOI, QUB - ICBL, IOL, UCG - Wombat, UL, UCC and NIMT. Addresses are not given for these, but I suspect they would be ??, star.arm.ac.uk, www.broadcom.ie, www.ucd.ie, www.compapp.dcu.ie, www.cs.tcd.ie, www.maths.tcd.ie, www.dsg.cs.tcd.ie, www.scrg.cs.tcd.ie, www.bess.tcd.ie, www.iona.ie, www.ieunet.ie, ??, www.hq2.telecom.ie, www.webnet.ie, something at ieunet.ie, ??, www.iol.ie, and wombatix.physics.ucg.ie.