I'm the founding editor of the Kilcullen Diary, a daily updated news website for the village grown bigger of Kilcullen, Co Kildare, Ireland. Kilcullen's population is now in the region of 5,000, having jumped three-fold in the past 15 years or so. I'm the fourth generation of my family here, so I have a long-term perspective on the place, especially as I'm now well into my 70s.
I have been a professional journalist for 40 years, and a dabbler before than in our local community magazine, The Bridge, while I was still working in the family business of pub, restaurant, funeral undertaking and other sundry activities.
Over the four decades as a journalist I have worked mostly as a freelance, with local and national newspapers and magazines, as well as most of a decade in broadcast news with the national radio service back in the 80s. In addition to being a writer, I'm a photographer, magazine designer, and web publisher. I also publish with a colleague two motoring related magazines, and write on motoring matters for a number of regional newspapers in Ireland. I'm married to Vivienne, and we have four children and four grandchildren (the latter equally divided between Australia and the US, so we're heavily into global grandparenting).
Enough, even too much, about me. I started the Kilcullen Diary in January 2005 because I could, and because I wanted to return to the local journalism roots where I began. It also gives me an excuse to walk down the single street of my town and look at the notices in the window (as well as the licence to crash any party or gathering that might be going on). As it happened, I created a monster that has to be fed every day, and the Diary probably now takes up more of my time than my 'day job' of automotive and travel journalism. Even when I am on the other side of the world, or merely across the Atlantic, I am expected to keep the information going on a daily basis.
The Diary is affectionally and generally known by most people in the town as 'the blogspot' because I have from the beginning used the Blogger platform, adapting it and tweaking it as necessary to cope with whatever I wanted to grow the site with.
(In the meantime, I tried Wordpress for a couple of years on another, automotive, website which I operate, but found it far too complex, and essentially delicate, and eventually brought that site back to the Blogger platform too. But that's a different story.)
Who are my readers? Well, it sometimes seems like everyone in town. Given that we have such a large new population, I can be forgiven for not directly knowing most of them, but it does seem that they all know me. The photograph on the masthead probably helps ...
The story of the advertising is that the Diary was never envisaged as a monetised endeavour, but after a few years one business asked me if they could advertise? And slowly since, more rapidly in the last few years, there's been a build-up of advertising. I have never asked anyone for an ad, they have all come to me. Maybe I should think more commercially, but in my head this is still a hobby, an interest in the various things that make up the community in which I am ever more quickly becoming a somewhat oddball elder lemon.
And also in my head, at my age, it is what might well be one reason why I wake up every day with an enthusiasm. The other reason is the joy of actually waking up ...
Anyhow, what I actually have in the Diary is the extraordinary sense of being in the middle of what goes on in a community where I was born in, have lived my life in, and will eventually die in. All that and my 'day job' life which has, and still does, taken me to interesting parts of the world including Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America.
What's not to wake up for?