A trade mission to the U.S. of both the Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland chambers of commerce exceeded expectations, especially on the Atlanta leg of the tour, which also included Chicago and New York, said Frank Hewitt, CEO of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Ireland Chamber joined forces for the first time ever to bring a delegation of some 20 businesses to the U.S. Oct. 7-16.

“We have been overwhelmed by the level of business interest,” Mr. Hewitt said of the chambers’ experience in Atlanta during a dinner hosted for the joint delegations by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. “There is no doubt that we will return and no doubt that we will find ways to do business.”

According to Gina Quin, CEO of the Dublin chamber, the delegation met with some 100 metro companies.

The joint mission is an example of how former adversarial segments of the island of Ireland are now collaborating for mutual benefit, said James Gaffey, executive committee chairman for the Southeast chapter of the Ireland Chamber of Commerce in the United States Inc., which helped organize the event.

While the Republic of Ireland’s technology-based economy grew by 53 percent in the 1990s, the economy of Northern Ireland, which is still economically tied to Britain, did not see as much growth, he told GlobalAtlanta before the conference.

“Economic success is a huge part of sustaining relations among all communities in Ireland,” Ms. Quin said, addressing the issue of collaboration between the chambers.

Alan Hingston, director of trade of Invest Northern Ireland, the British government’s economic development agency in Northern Ireland, said the success of the venture is a good omen for future relations with Atlanta. Invest Northern Island collaborated with the Northern Ireland chamber to bring companies on the mission

Mr. Hingston said he would like to organize an Atlanta delegation to visit Ireland within the next year.

For more information, contact Mr. Gaffey at (770) 621-2503 or jfgaffey@bellsouth.net.

For more information on the Dublin chamber, go to www.dublinchamber.ie, for Invest Northern Ireland go to www.investni.com and for the Northern Ireland chamber go to www.nicci.co.uk.