The Wexford representatives concluded their official Friday engagements in Savannah by attending a reception co-hosted by David Stanton, TD, Ireland’s Minister of State for Equality, Immigration, and Integration; Shane Stephens, Ireland’s Consul General for the Southeastern US; and Andrew Staunton, the UK’s Consul General for the Southeastern US. The reception’s theme was America’s role in the peace process on the island of Ireland. The event also highlighted Scots-Irish contributions to the City of Savannah and the State of Georgia.
Minister Stanton contributed an op-ed to the March 15, 2019, issue of the Savannah Morning News. The piece recognizes the Wexford-Savannah Axis research project and the Trade Bridge initiative, and it also states that “an exciting new chapter in the relationship between Ireland and Georgia Southern University will soon be unveiled.” You can read the op-ed HERE.
Saturday, March 16, 2019
As St. Patrick’s Day 2019 fell on a Sunday, Savannah held its Parade the day before. The Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee accorded VIP status to the Chair of Wexford County Council, Keith Doyle, and the Mayor and First Lady of Wexford Town, Tony and Gemma Dempsey. At 8:00 am on Saturday, March 16, 2019, the Wexford guests attended Mass for the Feast of St. Patrick at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, along with Brian Kemp, Governor of the State of Georgia, and Buddy Carter, US Representative for the First District of Georgia. Then, the Parade Committee provided them with an open-top Mercedes, displaying “Co. Wexford, Ireland” signage, in which they participated in the Parade, moving through several of Savannah’s historic squares and along such thoroughfares as Abercorn Street and Bay Street.
Sunday, March 17, 2019
During the afternoon of St. Patrick’s Day, Keith Doyle, Tony and Gemma Dempsey, and Tony Larkin were joined by Éamonn Murphy, Chair of the Wexford Enterprise Center, and his wife, Clare Murphy. The Wexford visitors enjoyed a tour of selected grave sites in Savannah’s Catholic Cemetery associated with County Wexford. One of their guides was Monsignor William Oliver O’Neill, Vicar General Emeritus of the Diocese of Savannah, who attended St. Peter’s Seminary in Wexford Town.
Monday, March 18, 2019
Prior to the Georgia Southern University - Ireland Announcement Event (read the invitation HERE), the Wexford visitors attended a Savannah lunch in honor of County Wexford, hosted by Shane Stephens, Consul General of Ireland for the Southeastern United States. Beginning at 3:00 pm, the Announcement Event attracted over 200 people. To conclude their Savannah trip, the Wexfordians were the honored dinner guests of of Shelley C. Nickel in her capacity as President of Georgia Southern University.
In remarks at the meal, Nickel underscored that student research has been central to the revitalization of links between Wexford-Southeast Ireland and Savannah-Coastal Georgia. In reporting on the Announcement Event, the Georgia Historical Society (founded in 1839) also invoked student participation (read the piece HERE).
A current phase in the research is the development of Savannah material for inclusion in the visitor experience at the Dunbrody Center in New Ross, County Wexford. This project featured in both the print and online March 14, 2019, editions of the Savannah Morning News. You can read the online content HERE. It is based on an official press release from Georgia Southern University, which you can read HERE.
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