The Voice of Irish Australia

The very first edition of The Irish Exile in December 1988. 

The very first edition of The Irish Exile in December 1988. 

For 30 years, the Irish Echo has been the voice of Irish Australia, telling stories of expat life and creating content that celebrates the shared heritage between the two countries.

The Echo, which began its life in print as The Irish Exile, was born out of the exodus of young Irish to Australia in the mid-1980s.

Billy Cantwell, from Navan, Co Meath and Seamus Maher, from Fethard, Co Tipperary, co-founded the newspaper in December 1988 after fleeing recession-hit Ireland in search of opportunity.

The 'Exile' immediately found an audience and distribution was extended from just Sydney to Melbourne, Brisbane and eventually, Perth.


In 1992, Billy Cantwell took over sole ownership of the newspaper and decided to change the masthead to The Irish Echo. 

Colour was added to the front cover for the first time and the April 1992 edition featured a message of goodwill from the President of Ireland, Mary Robinson.

The first edition of the renamed Irish Echo in April 1992.

The first edition of the renamed Irish Echo in April 1992.

In 1995, the newspaper went from a monthly to a fortnightly edition. 

Hungry for new content, the Echo began to seek out stories from beyond the Irish expat community, profiling prominent Australians of Irish heritage.

In December 1998, the newspaper celebrated ten years in print with a special commemorative edition and a gala dinner in Sydney.

The Echo was now well-established as the trusted source of news and information for the Irish in Australia.


The internet combined with cheaper and quicker travel options between Ireland and Australia began to make an impact on the emigrant experience. 

In 2001, we unveiled our new masthead and the Echo got a makeover. A website was launched.

As the Irish economy boomed, fewer young Irish were emigrating but this all changed in 2008 when the property market crashed creating an economic crisis. Emigration soared and tens of thousands of young Irish arrived in Australia.

In 2009, the newspaper celebrated its 20th anniversary with a full colour commemorative edition revealing, for the first time, the top 100 Irish Australians of all time.

The list was updated and republished in 2014 for the Echo's 25th anniversary.

looking to the future


As the Irish Echo approaches its 30th anniversary, the media is continuing to face unprecedented challenges.

In 2015, the Irish Echo print edition returned to a monthly frequency in an effort to secure its future.

Nevertheless, the important issues continued to be covered and the Echo built a massive social media following, particularly on Facebook.

Now we are once again looking to the future with a new website as well as a digital edition and archive.

With the community's support, we believe the Irish Echo can continue to be a media voice for the Irish in Australia.

Community journalism is important work. We are building what we believe to be a sustainable, 21st century business model.

You can help us achieve that by subscribing, donating or advertising.

Our Mission

  • To continue to provide an important communicative link between Ireland and Australia.
  • To be a trusted media voice for the Irish in Australia
  • To invest in community journalism to record the history of the Irish in Australia
Over the years, Australia has had a number of publications of specific interest to those of us with an Irish background. But none has achieved that national circulation of the Irish Echo.
— Former Governor General of Australia, Sir William Deane, December 1998