Blacknight is 20: Driving the Irish Economy Forward - The Impact of Blacknight’s Two Decades of Enabling Digital Growth

Blacknight co-founders, Paul Kelly and Michele Neylon
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Blacknight co-founders, Paul Kelly and Michele Neylon

CARLOW - September 20th - Blacknight, Ireland’s largest web host and domain registrar, is celebrating 20  years of supporting Irish businesses online.  

Founded in Carlow in 2003 by CEO Michele Neylon and CTO Paul Kelly, Blacknight has grown from a single server operation to running its own data centre and launching broadband services across Ireland, while also building a reputation in global internet governance. Blacknight has grown to serve over 90,000 customers in Ireland and 170 countries. 

“The internet has changed Ireland for the better,” says Blacknight CEO Michele Neylon. “Back when we started, it was hard to get online - and speeds were a lightning fast 256k, if you were lucky. Building a website, let alone getting your own server, was something most people simply couldn’t do. Once we got going, we made it easier for Irish businesses and consumers to get online. Tech and services have evolved so quickly in Ireland, Blacknight has had to adapt quickly to a landscape so that we now offer broadband. Some of our customers now have fixed fibre internet speeds up to 2gbps.”  

The last 20 years have seen a sea change in the tech industry in Ireland. Along the way, Blacknight has provided the infrastructure for Irish businesses and individuals to get online. 

“With the advent of online streaming and remote work,” continues Neylon, “the internet has completely re-ordered the Irish economy and how people work day-to-day. A recent survey by Retail Excellence and .IE reported that a majority of Irish workers work from home at least one day a week. Blacknight has always been at the forefront of the work-from-home revolution, offering the services that Irish businesses and workers need.” 

Quality customer service is at the core of Blacknight’s offerings. When you call them, there’s always a familiar Irish voice at the end of the line, and trained engineers keep an eye on their infrastructure 24/7. 

As members of the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact, Blacknight has been working with other European data centre operators to ensure they are carbon neutral by 2050. When it recently renovated its offices, it installed the latest green energy saving tech and solar panels on their Carlow headquarters roof, ensuring that they generate enough power for most of its day-to-day office operations.  

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“I’m a huge green energy nerd,” says Kelly. “We obsessively watch our power generation levels. Happy to say, we’ve always exceeded our targets. The system will pay for itself in no time.” 

Blacknight participates in several important organisations responsible for internet governance. It is a member of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition, Eco, and works with ICANN on important industry issues. This international participation ensures Irish views have a seat at the table affecting policy on governance, privacy, security, piracy, and universal acceptance of domains and internationalised domain names.  

Looking ahead for the next 20 years, both Neylon and Kelly have similar visions for the future of the company.  

“I hope we continue to grow,” says Kelly. “I’d like to see us grow to having 200 to 300 employees one day, with bigger offices and a larger network and data centre footprint, while watching our energy usage and being as efficient as possible. I’d like to see us grow to millions of broadband customers, as well as increase our enterprise footprint.” 

“I think we’ll continue to grow as the internet develops in Ireland and becomes more and more integrated into our daily lives,” says Neylon. “Hopefully in 20 years I’ll be retired, but with the growth of the internet of things and how fast gadgets innovate, there will be plenty for Blacknight to do in the next 20 years, especially as devices need to become more conscious of the energy they consume. Think about 20 years ago - not everyone had an email address - what will be ‘email’ in 20 years? No one can say now, but Blacknight will be ready for it when it arrives.” 

About Blacknight

Blacknight ( are an Irish based, ICANN accredited domain registrar and hosting company. Recipients of several awards for their revolutionary use of social media, Blacknight are one of Europe’s most cutting edge Internet companies. Blacknight constantly seek to lead the way by introducing innovative solutions for its client base and provide dedicated servers and co-location as well as a comprehensive range of Microsoft Windows and Linux based hosting services and domain name registration services to business globally. IP transit services and other solutions for more demanding business and academic customers are offered a la carte. Fibre broadband services for both business and domestic users are also available throughout most of Ireland.

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