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Cheers! .Irish drinks to St Patrick's Day

Don't worry you don't have to actually be Irish for this either

The new internet extension .irish has been launched on annual boozefest celebration of Irish culture, St Patrick's Day.

The registry owners are clearly hoping that people will register their own green piece of the internet before the third Guinness kicks in.

And the brewer may be one of the first to take part, since the only people able to register for a domain on the day will be trademark holders, thanks to the 60-day "sunrise" period.

The .irish registry is one very few of the 1,000+ new top-level domains that aims to provide an online voice to a specific culture (rather than, say, profession or interest). It is aimed not just at Ireland's citizens but any buyer who identifies themselves as being Irish - a fitting philosophy for St Patrick's Day.

A .irish domain will not be the cheapest - to register during the sunrise period will cost €129.99 ($137), although that is likely to come down when the registry is opened to general availability on 25 June.

One person who will be registering .irish domains is Michele Neylon, CEO of Ireland's largest registrar, Blacknight. "I've already put in requests for several .irish domains," he told us. "And we are going to be pushing the registry pretty heavily". Neylon has even set up a website with its own domain for sole purpose of selling .irish domains:

Neylon points out that getting hold of domains under Ireland's ".ie" registry is a pain. "There are all sorts of rules and restrictions for getting a .ie domain; it's not straightforward for individuals or companies." One of them is that you actually live in Ireland, whereas .irish happily embraces the broader Irish community.

Neylon spoke to El Reg from the South by Southwest show in Austin. Texas, saying: "I've been here a few days and people hear my accent and say 'you're Irish - I'm Irish too!' So there's a whole second and third generation of people that love Irish culture. That's what I think this gTLD is trying to tap into."

As to its likely success in a market that has seen disappointing sales in the past six months, Neylon is circumspect. "Well, it's a new gTLD so all bets are off. The really interesting thing will be the actual content that people put on dot-irish domains."

One thing we would expect to see on .irish domains soon? Pictures of people drinking green drinks on St Paddy's. Sláinte. ®

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