#LimerickAndProud hashtag blows up worldwide following 'Forbes' article on Collison brothers

In one week, the hashtag generated more than 8.6m impressions on Twitter
#LimerickAndProud hashtag blows up worldwide following 'Forbes' article on Collison brothers

An aerial view of Limerick City.

The #LimerickAndProud hashtag, which trended on Twitter in the wake of a Forbes article about Stripe co-founders John and Patrick Collison, received over 8.6m impressions on the site earlier this month.

The hashtag began picking up speed on Friday, April 9, following the publication of an article in  Forbes on the Collison brothers and their early years in Limerick.

Among other things, the article described Limerick as "Stab City" and "the murder capital of Europe" and discussed how the two had managed to "escape" their hometown and succeed in the world of technology and financial services.

"A couple of years back, a gang feud turned Limerick into a warzone. Shootings, pipe bomb attacks, and stabbings happened nightly. Some bad neighborhoods (sic) are even walled off by a dirty, graffitied 10-foot-high concrete barrier, like the Berlin Wall," read one section of the article.

"It’s the kind of place, as my grandfather says, 'Where even the German Shepherds walk around in pairs.' Limerick is the last place you want your kids growing up."

Article removed

Forbes eventually removed the article from its website and released a statement saying it had not met its editorial standards.

The Stripe founders themselves weighed in on the piece, with John Collision labelling it "daft".

The #LimerickAndProud hashtag exploded online in the wake of the article — it was posted 3,620 times, achieving a massive 8,648,235 impressions. 

By Friday, April 16, it had reached 3,460,203 users all over the world.

Patrick and John Collison, co-founders of Stripe. File picture
Patrick and John Collison, co-founders of Stripe. File picture

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Michael Collins said it was "so heartening to see the groundswell of support for Limerick following the publication of the article". 

"We need to continue to speak about the positives that Limerick has to offer and ensure the true image of Limerick is portrayed. Thank you to everyone who has been involved and showed your support.”   

'Hugely positive sentiment'

Head of marketing and communications with Limerick City and County Council Laura Ryan said the levels of engagement with the post were "staggering" and there was a "hugely positive sentiment" for the city and county. 

"When you review the social media stats, you can see #LimerickAndProud active across North America, Brazil, Europe, South Africa, India, China, and Australia; the Limerick diaspora and those who love Limerick were very vocal in their support," she said.   

“We will capitalise on this goodwill sentiment and continue to promote and showcase the true Limerick spirit and creativity to locals, potential visitors and investors." 

Following a letter from the Mayor of Limerick and discussions with Limerick City and County Council, the editor of Forbes agreed to visit.

The publication has also agreed to host one of its influential ‘Top 30 under 30’ events for local entrepreneurs in the city.

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