Bypassing the mass media
There is a long tradition of alternative political media in Northern Ireland. It ranges from pamphlets and leaflets through to parade banners, murals and graffiti. Since Internet technology became widely available in the late 1990s this tradition has been continued and extended online. Suspicion of the mass media and accusations of a liberal media bias are recurrent themes in unionist and loyalist discussion on the media and many of them have seized on the new technologies as a means to bypass the mass media. This guide is a first attempt to make some kind of assessment of the scale and character of online activity by Ulster loyalists and unionists. Up until now we have not even had a crude estimate of how many such sites there are.
Over 270 Ulster Loyalist and Unionist websites
Over fifty of the websites in this guide were defunct as of August 2004. By March 2005 eighty-nine of the 271 websites catalogued here were defunct. Many of these sites last only a matter of months and cataloguing defunct sites gives us a sense of the scale and character of online activity over time. Many more sites included in this guide are ghost sites. You can still access them but they have not been altered in years and are not being maintained. It seems only a matter of time before they are cleared off the servers that host them.
Where copies of some or all of the pages from defunct websites have been archived by the Internet Archive this guide provides a link to the archived copies. In many cases the Internet Archive has saved only the home page of a site, or a small selection of pages, and a large number of these pages have not been archived by anyone.
In at least two cases new owners of a defunct domain name are blocking the Internet Archive from making the archived websites which used to be at these domains available. These archives remain intact but the public can't currently access them. The Internet Archive is working to resolve the problem.
A long-term project
Some of the sites in this guide have been more fully catalogued, on the dates beside which an asterisk appears. For more information on the notation read About the Guide.
Suggestions for sites to be included in this guide are welcome, to be emailed to:
Author: Niall O Dochartaigh
First produced: August 2004
Updated: December 6, 2004; March 31, 2005; September 21, 2005.