This weekend 2,500 US high school and college student athletes, cheer groups, marching bands and key college administrators received a warm welcome from Education in Ireland staff as they arrived in Dublin Airport today (Wednesday 29 August) to take part in the Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT 2012).

An initiative of the Irish Government, Education in Ireland is responsible for promoting Irish higher education internationally and works closely with High Schools throughout the US providing information on studying in Ireland.

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.

2,500 visitors from the United States have travelled to Ireland to support their high school and college American-football teams as they compete in six regular season games being held in Dublin and County Meath on Friday (31st August).

Welcoming the GIFT delegation, Marina Donohoe, Head of Education in 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 showcase Ireland’s world class third-level education institutes to a large number of American students while they are here experiencing Ireland first hand. Education in Ireland staff and US Student Ambassadors will be present at all GIFT events and look forward to talking to our US visitors about studying in Ireland and cheering on the teams.”

Global Football President Patrick Steenberge, a former quarterback with Notre Dame, added:  “I am impressed with the high quality of education and campus facilities offered by Irish universities and colleges. I am thrilled to say that my daughter has been accepted on a Master’s Programme in Physiotherapy at University College Dublin and will be swimming at the top level for the University. 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 1st September. 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.

Facts about studying in Ireland:
•    All of Ireland’s universities are ranked in the top 3% in the world
•    Irish universities are fully approved by the US Government for Federal Aid
•    Ireland is ranked ahead of all other English speaking countries and most European  countries for international student satisfaction
•    Ireland is one of the top 20 research nations in the world
•    Ireland is the 9th most popular destination for US students who study abroad


Cheerleaders take part in the Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT) parade through Dublin city centre. The parade is a part of the celebration of American Football in Ireland culminating with