Sonja Molloy and her family are one of Ireland’s few families of video bloggers, or ‘vloggers’.
“I’m generally walking around talking to myself for our YouTube channel, ‘The Shuiligans’,” Sonja says.
“We are family vloggers. Basically, we film an event or our day-to-day life and upload it to YouTube, whether that’s daily or weekly.”
With a background in radio, Sonja was drawn to video after becoming a mother.
“After being a mother juggler for two or three years, I finally explored the platforms of blogging, but found the Irish blogging family to be huge. I was pulled towards vlogging which would utilise my radio skills of talking to myself and editing.”
Sonja said she enjoyed the challenge of setting up a vlog in a male-dominated environment.
“I quickly learned YouTube vlog channels were male-dominated, whilst women tend to lean towards makeup, baking and fashion. So not to be pigeonholed and I do love a challenge, ‘The Shuiligans’ was born.
“It’s a combination of our surname, Shuilleabhain, and ‘hooligans’, which I affectionately called our girls. At this stage, there was zero Irish presence on YouTube.”
‘The Shuiligans’ was launched on St Patrick’s Day, 2015, and focuses on family connect and travel around Ireland.
A lot of our content would firstly be family friendly, but I am hugely proud of our country so I do include a lot of touristy elements to the channel. We explore our county as much as possible, taking the girls to see something for the first time whilst also taking the camera with us
“When I started the channel, I definitely wanted to use it as a platform to showcase Ireland our way, the day-to-day life, for Americans that might never have an opportunity to visit Ireland.”
She said she was surprised to have made so many friends through YouTube.
“Four and a half years ago when researching YouTube, I remember thinking how alone I would be doing Youtube, that I wouldn’t have a support network of my peers around me. But I can say without hesitation that my closest friends, those that I speak to on a daily basis, are YouTubers around the world are as far away as Bali, Perth, Alaska, Utah.”
Sonja said online platforms could do more to support the creators, however.
“It’s hard to set goals but not reach them, you do need support from the likes of Google, Instagram and Facebook giants which, in most recent years, have stopped doing creator days, etc. I now find myself networking on a more local level.”