Montana is a huge but sparsely populated western state. It is about six times the size of Ireland, yet is home to less than one million people of which 30% claim Irish ancestry. The majority of this figure identifies Butte as their family's entry point into Montana and this shared historical fact has created a sense of oneness among them. Today, however, many of those who trace their origins back to the mining city live in other population centres throughout the state. Because of the geographical size of Montana, these cities and towns are separated by great distances that have had the effect of frustrating efforts to maintain the close links and strong relationships within the Irish community. In 2008, Jerry Sullivan and Carrie Kiely of Butte along with Erin and Traolach Ó Ríordáin in Missoula decided to launch the IrishMontana website to help the Irish of Montana to stay in closer touch, to advertise the goings-on and activities of their community, and to build stronger ties within the state and with the greater Irish community of America.