From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Type of site
Classified discussion boards
Available inEnglish, Irish; some subforums for other languages
OwnerDistilled Media
Created byJohn Breslin
RevenueAdvertising, subscriptions, commercial forums, group coupons
Registrationoptional; required to post
Launched1998 (rebranded 2000)
Current statusOnline is a large Internet forum in Ireland.

As of January 2020, the site had more than 360,000 members, 3,200,000 threads and 64 million posts.[1] A wide variety of topics from entertainment (e.g. music, radio television, films) to jobs to politics to bereavement and to personal relationships are widely discussed, mostly from an Irish perspective. It also has sections ("forums") for games and puzzles. Participation in the forums requires free registration.


In 1998, John "Cloud" Breslin created a single forum to enable discussion amongst Irish users of the id Software game Quake,[2] while he was a postgraduate student at the National University of Ireland, Galway. This forum was part of the Irish Games Network's site, and utilized "Matt's WWWBoard" software. The site gained in popularity until the size of its threads exceeded the capacity of the software. Breslin came into contact with Tom Murphy, who had been administrating a Quake-related forum called Quakapalooza, utilizing Murphy's ASP software. Some non-gaming related forums were added to the service, and the retitled "Cloud Boards" began using the Ultimate Bulletin Board software.[3] Murphy proposed a more general (not just Quake-related) forum, dedicated to general Irish issues in 1999, and considered the name to be a more useful and desired domain.

In 2000, Cloud Boards was then rebranded for a more general audience. Limitations in what organizations could register prevented private individuals from registering vanity or custom domains. Breslin had previously been unsuccessful in registering the domain with the Irish domain registry. Murphy entered a bet with Breslin that he could successfully register a domain for a rebranded web forum. Murphy renamed his company Spin Solutions to Boards for a day in order to trick the system, registered the paperwork with the Irish domain registrar for, and was granted the domain.[4]

In 2003, achieved one million posts to its forums.[5]

In 2007, the Ltd. company acquired the rights to and other domains from Breslin.[6]

In 2008, hired its first full-time developer.[2] For the 10th anniversary of's first post, the complete data set of its discussions with semantic markup (see SIOC) was made available to researchers, and a competition looking for interesting creations based on this data was launched.[7] Later that year in August, saw its first shareholding investment from Daft Media Ltd.[8]


The site is majority owned by Distilled Media Ltd[9][10] with a minority stake held by some of the original company founders, who delegate administrative and editorial control over the site to hundreds of unpaid moderators.[11][12]

Currently, Tom Murphy is operating as acting managing director after the departure of the previous managing director, Gerry Shanahan, in February 2009.[5] There are over 1,350 forums, public and private.

It is operated by Limited, an Irish Commercial Company, more specifically in the same headquarters of (DAFT MEDIA LIMITED), in Golden Lane, Dublin 8, both of which are owned by the Distilled Media Group.[13] Limited is considered a small company, since its balance sheet total does not exceed 4.4million euro, and is registered as a commercial company involved in "computer and related activities."[14] Ltd was set up on Mon the 24th of Jan 2000 in Dublin 8. started life as a forum for the computer game, Quake, in 1998. It was registered as a company two years later.[15] In 2008, it was considered one of the largest indigenous Irish websites.[15] However, its latest accounts show it had accumulated losses of €445,000 and rising, dropping more than €100,000 in those 12 months alone. It also had a hole of €65,000 in its balance sheet, a full four years after Daft got involved.[16]

A new forum can be proposed by anyone, but requires a certain amount of support from other members. Most users do not pay any usage fees, although subscription is offered with benefits such as custom avatars and a change of username, amongst other features.


The site expanded into a number of other countries including (United Kingdom), (United States), (Japan), (China), and (New Zealand), but all have since closed. Sites associated with classified advertising ( and group coupons ( have also been established.


On January 21, 2010, at 11:20 GMT, director Tom Murphy took the site offline after an attack on the forum's database.[17] The attack originated from a source outside Ireland.[18][19] A portion of the database, including usernames, encrypted passwords and email addresses were accessed.[18][19] The site advised all users who used the same password on other websites to change it there too.[17]

A DDoS attack in January 2016 disabled for a few days. Starting on 17 January, the sustained attack brought the site down on 18 January; the site resumed service on 20 January.[20][21] Other major Irish sites also experienced attacks in the same timeframe.[22]

Awards[edit] was awarded a Zeddy Award [23] in 2001. (The Zeddy Awards have since been discontinued.) It also won a Golden Spider Award in the same year.[24]

For his contribution to Irish society, Tom Murphy was awarded a Net Visionary Award by the Irish Internet Association in 2004 in the "Social Contribution" category.[4]

John Breslin was awarded Net Visionary Awards by the Irish Internet Association in 2005 [25] and 2006.[26] won two awards in the Irish Web Awards 2008, "Best Website in Ireland" and "Best Discussion Forum". It also won "Best Social Networking and Community Website" in the Golden Spider Awards 2008.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About us". Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b Boran, Marie (14 February 2008). "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (PDF). Irish Independent. Retrieved 11 June 2008.[dead link]
  3. ^ Mulley, Damien (5 December 2005). "A New Net Visioned He - Interview with John Breslin". Retrieved 11 June 2008.
  4. ^ a b Stewart, David (11 February 2005). "The Friday Interview: Tom Murphy,". Archived from the original on 22 February 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2008.
  5. ^ a b Lillington, Karlin (2003). " knows how to get people talking" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 December 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2008.
  6. ^ Gordon, Smith (8 February 2007). " acquires Boards Group in expansion play". Archived from the original on 16 March 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2008.
  7. ^ Boran, Marie (29 July 2008). "Making Use of a Decade of Online Irish Banter". Archived from the original on 5 August 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2008.
  8. ^ " Insights - Irish Property Blog, Advice and News". Daft Insights.
  9. ^ "Daft Media buys stake". RTÉ News. 15 August 2008.
  10. ^ "Daft's pre-tax up 25pc despite writedowns -".
  11. ^ " - Now Ye're Talkin'". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  12. ^ Boran, Marie (18 February 2002). "John Breslin". Archived from the original on 5 May 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2008.
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Boardsie Limited".
  15. ^ a b " acquires Boards Group in expansion play". Archived from the original on 16 March 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2008.
  16. ^ "New chief for". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  17. ^ a b Pamela Newenham (21 January 2010). "Hackers Attack Site". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  18. ^ a b " Attacked by Hackers". RTÉ. 21 January 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  19. ^ a b "Internet forum database 'hacked'". BBC. 22 January 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  20. ^ "Discussion forum back online after cyber attack". The Irish Times.
  21. ^ "Site news Why couldn't I access the site? -". Archived from the original on 24 January 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  22. ^ Hunt, Gordon (26 January 2016). "What is going on with DDoS attacks in Ireland?".
  23. ^ (31 August 2001). "2001 Zeddy Winners (Archive of Announcement)" (PDF). Retrieved 11 June 2008.[dead link]
  24. ^ "Homes and jobs sites strike gold at Spider Awards" (PDF). Irish Times. 6 September 2001.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ (17 November 2005). "L-R: IIA Chairman Colm Lyon, Category Award winner John Breslin of with Category Sponsor David Curtin of IE Domain Registry". Archived from the original on 18 November 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2008.
  26. ^ (16 November 2006). "IIA Chairman Colm Lyon, Online Trader winner John Breslin ( and Category Sponsor Stephen McDonagh of Realex Payments". Archived from the original on 18 November 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2008.

External links[edit]