Connecting Irish emigrants and loved ones with high-speed broadband

Connecting Irish emigrants and loved ones with high-speed broadband

Florist Dorothy Margey is discovering how high-speed broadband can help her and her customers share the love across the world.

One in six Irish-born people now live abroad – totalling almost 800,000. But as Irish workers continue to emigrate – albeit at a declining rate – their connection to home remains strong. A recent study found that three-quarters of Irish emigrants claim to suffer from homesickness. Both personally and professionally, it’s something Dorothy Margey, owner of Aanee’s Flowers in Letterkenny, Donegal, deals with on a daily basis. However, through the availability of high-speed broadband, Dorothy can connect with her own family while enabling customers to reach out to theirs.

A typical ‘bricks and clicks’ business – encompassing a shop and website – Aanee’s Flowers serves both local and international customers. The latter, says Dorothy, make up a considerable portion of customers as Irish emigrants seek to mark occasions back home that they are missing out on. “We get a lot of calls on Skype through the website,” says Dorothy. “I get orders from all over the world like Canada and Australia, New Zealand, Japan – and from all over Ireland.”

While her customers are scattered across the globe, high-speed broadband allows Dorothy to cut down on her travelling. “To order my supplies, before I got the broadband, I would have to travel to Dublin maybe three times a year and the same to Lisburn and Belfast,” she says. “Now I can email my suppliers and it comes up on the iPad. You can see what you want and order it online.”

Dorothy says that the sight of her with an iPad prompts the occasional jovial remark from customers. She laughs: “Sometimes young men come into the shop and they say: ‘What are you doing? Is that an iPad? You’re all hi-tech, aren’t you?’ I just say, well, you see, anything you can do I can do better.”

In fact, Dorothy is as tech-savvy as “I Google a lot, I go on Facebook and I do my banking,” she says. “If I was asked for some kind of flowers that were unusual, I would look them up. If you need anything you can just Google it and away you go.”

Her grasp on technology, along with access to open eir’s fibre broadband, helps Dorothy connect with two Irish emigrants very close to her heart – her sons – and forget the large distances that separate them. “High-speed broadband has brought me into my sons’ homes in Melbourne and Canada,” she says. “It’s just wonderful. I think I’m in the room with them; I forget myself. I think it’s the greatest thing and the most magical thing that ever happened – and for my age group it’s super magic.”