All eyes on Ireland as 33,000 American-football fans

Education in Ireland gave a warm welcome to 2,500 US high school and college student athletes, cheer groups, marching bands and key college officials as they arrived in Dublin today (29 August, 2012) to take part in the Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT 2012). This event provides a great opportunity to promote Ireland’s third-level education institutes to US students. Enterprise Ireland manages Education in Ireland – the umbrella brand under which Irish higher education and English language schools are promoted overseas.  

GIFT 2012 has attracted 2,500 visitors from the United States to support their high school and college American-football teams as they compete in six games being held in Dublin and Meath on Friday (31 August, 2012). Participants come from some of best academic institutes in the US and Education in Ireland is ready to maximise the opportunity this presents to promote Irish third-level education to a highly relevant audience.

Welcoming the GIFT delegation, Marina Donohoe, Head of Education with Enterprise Ireland said:

“GIFT 2012 is the biggest overseas event of its kind in high school and college American-football history. It is a fantastic opportunity for us to market Ireland’s world class third-level education institutes to a large number of American students while they are here experiencing Ireland first hand. The message about studying in Ireland is also being carried to a much broader audience through the vast media attention GIFT is attracting.”

Global Football President Patrick Steenberge, a former quarterback with Notre Dame, added:  “I am impressed with the high quality of education being provided by Irish universities and colleges. The Education in Ireland mission fits very well with that of Global Football, and their inclusive style will be appreciated by our students, college officials and parents who are visiting Ireland this week. Education in Ireland is a wonderful partner for GIFT and they will have a welcome presence at all GIFT events."  

GIFT 2012 coincides with the Emerald Isle Classic game between Notre Dame and Navy which will take place at the Aviva Stadium on 1 September, 2012. This game alone is expected to attract 30,000 American visitors - the largest ever group of travelling fans for a stand-alone sporting event outside the US.

Ireland is well placed to attract undergraduate students from the US as all seven Irish universities have US Government approval for Federal Aid. This means that a US student in receipt of a US Government loan can use that loan to study at an Irish university.


For further information contact:

Paula Chase
Press Officer
Enterprise Ireland

Paula Chase
+353 1 7272842

Notes to Editor:

Education in Ireland is the umbrella brand for the promotion of Irish higher education and English Language Schools overseas. The initiative is managed by Enterprise Ireland with the support of the Department of Education and Skills and Irish higher education institutions.

Around 32,000 international students currently undertake third level education in Ireland.  The combined value of third level and English language international education in Ireland is estimated to be currently worth €900m to the Irish economy.

There are currently over 4,000 US students in Irish higher-education institutes. Attracted by the quality of the Irish education system and the fact that academic awards are internationally recognized and completely transferable, US students are also influenced by Ireland’s culture, the fact that Ireland is a friendly and safe place to study, and leading US/global companies are headquartered here. To find out more about Education in Ireland visit:

About Global Football: Under the guidance of President Patrick Steenberge, a former Notre Dame Quarterback and high school All-American at Erie Cathedral Prep, Global Football has produced football games in 19 nations during the past 16 years.  Working partners include American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Pop Warner, NFL, Super Bowl Host Committees, USA Football, Notre Dame, Penn State, CONADEIP Mexico, Tanzania Sports Council and dozens of NCAA Division III colleges as well as National Football Federations worldwide.

Celebration of American-football in Ireland, 30 Aug - 1 Sept, 2012:  Irish fans can look forward to a three-day celebration of America’s favourite sport. On Thursday evening there will be a parade from St. Stephen’s Green to Trinity College Dublin where a Pep Rally will take place featuring athletes, cheerleaders and college bands. On Friday night the Global Ireland Football Tournament 2012 will feature games between nine U.S. high schools and colleges, two Canadian high schools, and a United Kingdom all-star team. The games will kick off at 4pm and 7.30pm at Donnybrook Stadium and Parnell Park in Dublin, and Páirc Tailteann in Navan, County Meath. On Saturday the Emerald Isle Classic clash between Navy and Notre Dame will take place before a full-house at the Aviva Stadium.