Discover the joys of your Irish ancestry in a weekly letter

17th December 2014
By Bryan T. Smyth

Every Sunday morning thousands of people of Irish descent are excited to
open their email to receive a Letter from Ireland.

Mike Collins, author of this weekly Letter from Ireland said, “In March
2013 I started posting pictures of my travels around Ireland with my wife
Carina, on my Facebook page. We received many comments and questions from
people curious about their Irish roots so by May of that year we had
established the “Letter from Ireland”. Every Sunday morning I sit down and
write a letter from our home in Cork. I write in an informal conversational
style about the Irish weather, surnames and family trees, counties and our
history and culture. Due to the volume of amazing emails sent in response
by our readers I now set aside every Monday and Tuesday to reply to them

“Initially the letter was emailed to a small number of people, now it goes
to over 8,200 around the world who share a connection with Ireland, many of
whom have never visited here but have a tangible bond with our heritage,
attitudes and values. The majority of our readers live in the United
States. However we also reach out to people of Irish descent in the UK,
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and we have lots of Irish
interest too”.

Mike went on to say, “Many recipients want to explore their family tree,
where their Irish surname originated and where their relatives lived in
Ireland. This matters significantly to them and many also say “it’s a shame
our family lost the ‘O’ in our surname when we came to the United States”.
So I research the facts and stories behind popular Irish surnames which is
an incredible journey for me and the reader as we share personal stories
about our ancestors and cousins”.

When a new reader signs up for the weekly Letter from Ireland they are
asked to supply the Irish surnames in their family tree and the county
their ancestors emigrated from. To date Mike and Carina have compiled a
database of over 10,000 Irish surnames. 17% of their readers whose surnames
are in this database erroneously believe they are from the Cork region.
Whilst their family members emigrated from the town of Cobh, Co Cork,
formerly known as Queenstown they mistakenly believe this is where they
come from. But as it turns out they came from all over Ireland to board the
liners in Cobh.

Mike and Carina Collins firmly believe people really want to establish a
tangible connection with Ireland. As they discover the world of their Irish
ancestors, the need to visit becomes inescapable and some are now planning
their holidays in Ireland in 2015. An example of this is an extended family
of 16 members from Canada who will visit to further investigate their
family tree and have been in touch with Mike about plans to meet up during
their trip.

Earlier this year Mike took his reader’s favourite Letters from Ireland and
published A Letter from Ireland – Irish surnames, counties, culture and
travel which is available to purchase in paperback or for kindle users on

Building on the success of the book, Volume 2 was recently published and is
now for sale on Amazon. It can be bought in both Kindle and paperback

To sign up for a copy of the weekly “Letter from Ireland” log on to

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