As Facebook – just a baby at eight – hurtles towards one of the most momentous IPOs in tech industry history, it almost went unobserved today that the internet as we know it in Ireland, at least, is 20 years old today.
Ireland's first ISP Ireland On-Line was formed out of Barry Flanagan's house in Galway on 15 May 1992. Flanagan, as he outlines in his blog, had no working capital except his credit card and nine months worth of dreams.
He recalls: "The aim was as simple as the name suggests - I wanted to put Ireland online. To bring the World to Ireland, and Ireland to the World.
“The Internet was as yet unheard of except within the hallowed halls of academia, but I was convinced that this global network had the potential to transform this country, and would ultimately affect every aspect of our lives and businesses, and allow a new generation of Irish to remain in Ireland yet enjoy the benefits of a global economy and opportunity," Flanagan said.
He says the Ireland of 1992 was vastly different from the place it is in 2012. "Looking back 20 years later, I am amazed at how much of what I predicted and imagined has come to pass. We live in an Ireland today which, although beset by some short-term setbacks, has been transformed in terms of our ability to transcend our borders and small population. Our opportunities are global, and our reach infinite."
When Flanagan began Ireland On-line he had the honour of leading and shaping an entirely new industry. The only rule was: there were no rules.
So when were you hooked up? I remember the date we got it into our house, 14/09/2001 - Just after the World trade centre attacks