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Generation YouTube: Irish vloggers on what it really takes to be an online star

When YouTube opened for business in 2005, it created a whole new career path for bright young people. Catherine Healy speaks to some of its Irish stars about making a living from video, and the challenge of being commercial, but staying real

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Positive example: Melanie Murphy. Photo by Mark Condren

Positive example: Melanie Murphy. Photo by Mark Condren

Going viral: Clare Cullen, aka Clisare, became a YouTube hit in 2012. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Going viral: Clare Cullen, aka Clisare, became a YouTube hit in 2012. Photo by Steve Humphreys

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Positive example: Melanie Murphy. Photo by Mark Condren

When she uploaded her first YouTube video in 2013, Melanie Murphy had no idea it would turn out to be the start of a new career. The Dubliner struggled with nerves at the time, sometimes breaking out in rashes before making college presentations. She began to film herself speaking to camera in the hope of improving her confidence - a boost needed if she was to go into lecturing, as was the plan. "I never thought it was something you could do as a job," she says. "I only really wanted to be a good teacher."

The channel from there became a space for Murphy to chat about her interests, and before long, she was raking in subscribers by the thousands. It was a breakthrough achieved largely thanks to a video about dealing with acne, which now has close to 1.8 million views. She decided to concentrate on YouTube for a few months after graduating, as ad revenue from the site was overtaking her back-to-education allowance. These days, with over 640,000 subscribers, Murphy is one of Ireland's leading YouTubers, attracting sponsorship from a range of international brands on top of an audience extending to Britain and the States.

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