In 2010, frustrated at the lack of accessible data sets related to Ireland and the Irish economy, I created my own programmatic interface (a RESTful API) to Irish government data. The service scraped data from the Irish Central Statistics Office and other government websites, and made the data available as cleanly formatted JSON. I used the API and the Processing framework to create a series of graphics and animations representing Ireland and the Irish economy.
The process of building the API was incredibly informative, but ongoing maintenance proved to be incredibly difficult. IrishData.org was actively maintained for just over a year, before being mothballed.
To this day, programmatic access to vital Irish government data remains very difficult. Government department continue to publish vital reports and statistics as PDFs, which hampers 21st century journalism, and public oversight. The Irish state remains practically invisible to standard tools of inquiry widely used in the UK, US and elsewhere.