Waterford IT initiative to research historic US link

A major new research project on Irish immigration to America was launched in Waterford Institute of Technology by Minister Leo Varadkar recently.

The Wexford-Savannah Axis is a collaboration between WIT, Georgia Southern University, the Georgia Historical Society and the John F Kennedy Trust.

It will examine how and why so many people from Wexford and the south-east of Ireland emigrated to Savannah Georgia in the 19th century, as well as the impact it had on the lives of Irish and Americans in both countries.

The initiative builds on other collaborative projects that both colleges have worked together on in recent years. Almost 200 students from Georgia also attended summer schools in Waterford.

“I am very excited by this project. There is huge potential to develop links between the South East of Ireland and Georgia,” Minister Varadkar said of the initiative, which he believes will improve tourism between Ireland and America.

He went on to say Ireland is “always pleased to welcome American visitors to Ireland and in this case it will be wonderful to welcome so many people from Savannah home.”

Head of the School of Humanities at WIT, Dr Richard Hayes, expressed how the college “are delighted by the support the Minister has shown for this project. It is an exciting project for WIT to be involved in”.

Chair of the JFK Trust, Noel Whelan is also excited about the new initiative. He said the Wexford-Savannah Axis will represent “another exciting development in the work of the JFK Trust”.

Nicole O’Connor

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