New tourism initiative bears fruit from the Peach State

The Minister of State for Tourism & Sport, Brendan Griffin, attended Mount Juliet Estate for the launch of an exciting new tourism initiative between Georgia, USA and Ireland spearheaded by incoming golf & heritage operators, Club Choice Ireland. The initiative is three years in the making and will see a delegation of forty Georgia Southern University Alumni make an eight-day tour of Ireland’s East & South East regions. Their tour will be a combination of heritage, cultural research and golf.

“Ireland is currently seeing record numbers of people visiting the island. This is not happening by accident or by luck. It’s happening thanks to the alignment of both State- and industry-led efforts, working towards a common goal.  Initiatives like this collaboration between Club Choice Ireland and Georgia Southern University complement the work being done by our tourism agencies to deliver on Government tourism policy objectives. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to help launch this project and look forward to welcoming the Alumni to Ireland” Minister Brendan Griffin.


Starting in 2014, Georgia Southern University’s Honors Program and the Center for Irish Research and Teaching have sponsored students to participate in summer research programs to investigate the Wexford-Savannah connections. They have made noteworthy discoveries and presented to hundreds of people in Savannah and in Wexford. It was this programme which was the catalyst for Wexford based Golf Tour Operator, Club Choice Ireland, to approach the University’s Alumni department to look at creating a tour to Ireland which would allow their past students connect with the research of their current students.


Speaking at the launch of the tour was Club Choice Ireland managing director, Tiernan Byrne; “It will be our pleasure to welcome the Georgia Southern University Alumni on what we hope will be a truly unique and memorable experience. Developing this tour itinerary was particularly exciting given the many friends we have at Georgia Southern and how, as a Wexford based business ourselves, we’ve seen first-hand the wonderful work of CIRT & the GSU Honors Program.”


The Center for Irish Research and Teaching (CIRT) flies the flag for Ireland and advances Irish America in the 320,000-student University System of Georgia. An academic and outreach unit of Georgia Southern University, CIRT is proud to call historic Savannah, Georgia, its home. Productively blending native-Irish and Scots-Irish narratives since its founding in 1733, Savannah is undoubtedly the most Irish city in the Southeastern United States. CIRT researches and teaches the Irish past of Savannah in particular and Georgia in general. It also links Georgia to present-day, future-directed Ireland through such means as two study-in-Ireland programs and a TradeBridge® initiative with the Savannah Economic Development Authority/World Trade Center Savannah.


“The Georgia Southern University Alumni Association is excited about our first alumni tour to the wonderful country of Ireland. Partnering with the Georgia Southern Center for Irish Research and Teaching, the tour will join Georgia Southern students studying abroad and explore the Wexford-Savannah Axis. Establishing lifelong relationships with alumni, students and friends is at the core of our mission.” Wendell Tompkins Jr, Senior Director of Alumni Relations at Georgia Southern University

Pictured at the launch was from left Larry Byrne, Club Choice Ireland; Matt Sandercock, Director of Golf at Mount Juliet Estate; Minister of State for Tourism, Brendan Griffin; Tiernan Byrne, Club Choice Ireland.