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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 19 December, 2018
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10 times the @Ireland Twitter account was a force for good

It’s had its ups and downs.

THE @IRELAND TWITTER handle is an account run by a different curator every week, with the aim to show just how diverse the country is.

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It’s never short of controversy or interesting conversations, so we’re remembering some of the moments it proved itself to be a fine asset on Irish Twitter.

1. When Orla Christian took the reigns and spoke about caring for her son Michael who was born with a rare form of hydrocephalus

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Orla spoke of Michael’s day-to-day routine, spread disability awareness while offering insight into what it’s like to be a carer in Ireland.

It was truly an insightful and educational week on the account, with many mums in the same situation thanking Orla.

Keep up with Michael’s journey at @MichaelsSteps.

2. When the HomeToVote movement took over around the Marriage Equality Referendum

@Ireland was just a haven of feel-good stories with emigrants coming back to vote. A range of voices took over for the week leading up to the referendum.

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The ‘Get the Boat to Vote’ crowd was especially heartwarming.

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There was even discussion that some might stay…

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3. Sure enough, almost one year after the vote, the Ireland curator was one of those who never left

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4. That time the Foróige volunteers took over back in July

Members of the youth development organisation got behind the account to speak about what it means to them to be part of the community.

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Members and volunteers Dave, Nicole, Catriona, and Nathan all gave a different perspective on the youth group, and allowed others to share their experiences being involved.

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We got a lovely insight to their work and they also provided a platform for others to share their memories.

5. Tom Hickey speaking openly about his facial disfigurement and what it’s like growing up in Ireland

Last November, former journalist Tom Hickey was in charge of the account for a week.

He spoke about his facial disfigurement after an accident when he was a child, and how his wife’s love gave him confidence.

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It was truly eye-opening to a lot of people.

He wrote on his blog about the experience, and how it gave him the chance to connect with others in the same situation.

That was nice, but better was connecting with a young English girl with facial disfigurement who was looking to talk to someone. Being able to steer her in the right direction was very gratifying. Others also opened up about their own or family members’ disfigurements, and that gave me a real thrill.

6. When Clara Rose spoke about identity and race in Ireland, as well as the importance of positivity and self-expression

Clara talked to followers about ‘otherness’ and how they can all create their own identity.

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She started a seriously big conversation about where people feel they belong in Ireland, and inspired a lot too.

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7. When Shaykh-Umar Al-Qadri, a Muslim clerk here in Ireland, shared his experiences of being Muslim in the country

He spoke of how Muslims are treated in Ireland, and cleared up many false accusations or assumptions about their teachings.

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While some of his views caused some hot contest, his insight into Muslims in Ireland and willingness to listen to other voices made him one of the more memorable curators.

8. When @CuteCatriona spoke about being a sex worker

Throughout her week, Catriona spoke about the stigma attached to sex work, the different legal models, anti-trafficking initiatives, and what step she thinks Ireland should take.

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A healthy debate was struck up, and people really responded to it.

9. Youssef Sarhan‘s enviable story of running off for some space

When Youssef took over the account, he decided he needed to get out of Ireland for a while because he was feeling ‘stuck’, so packed his bag and went to the airport with no ticket.

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The ensuing thread is one of @Ireland’s most memorable, mainly because it inspired so many to do the same–in any small way they could.

The whole thread is here, and it’s worth a read if you’re feeling ‘stuck’ yourself.

10. Finally, the supportive response to the abuse this week’s curator, Michelle Marie, has been receiving

Marie is a black British woman who describes herself as a mother, blogger, and plus-size model. She settled in Ireland but is originally from Oxford.

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It didn’t take long before the abuse about her size and skin colour from a few select troll accounts came in.

But it was the support of the majority of users that really was lovely to see.

with thanks to @DarraghDoyle

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