EPIC's entrance. Image used under Creative Commons license.
Neville Isdell

Neville Isdell, the former chief executive of Coca-Cola Co., will be in Atlanta Nov. 1 to shed light on a project telling the story of the 70 million people around the world who claim Irish ancestry.

EPIC, The Irish Immigration Museum, is located in Dublin’s docklands district and features interactive exhibitions on the factors driving emigration and how the Irish people have influenced the world.

According to the Irish Times, Mr. Isdell invested millions of euros of his own money to found the museum after the government dropped the idea. EPIC opened in May 2016.

Mr. Isdell’s family was part of the Irish exodus. Born in Northern Ireland, Mr. Isdell moved at age 10 to Zambia, where he later joined the Coca-Cola Co. He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where he played rugby.

While Mr. Isdell has long maintained a home in Atlanta, he is often traveling the world for various business ventures.

The spark for this local event came from a chance meeting across the ocean at Ireland’s famed Cliffs of Moher.

There, Irish Chamber of Atlanta President Bill Duffy ran into Mr. Isdell’s driver outside a pub. When the driver heard Mr. Duffy was from Atlanta, he introduced the two men.

“It’s ironic that I’d never met him in Atlanta and he had never been to the Cliffs of Moher. It’s a small world,” Mr. Duffy, president of the Aspire Group, told Global Atlanta.

They met for breakfast at the OK Cafe in Atlanta and were joined by Kevin Conboy, the longtime former Irish chamber president. There they hashed out the idea for a happy-hour event where Mr. Isdell would tell the story of the museum.

Billed as a fully digital museum focused on multimedia, EPIC reportedly contains more than 300 individual emigrant stories and mentions famous Americans with some Irish ancestry, including actress Grace Kelly and former President Barack Obama. Mr. Isdell was on hand earlier this year when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Irish background was announced.

The event will kick off a burst of activity for the Irish Chamber and other organizations around Atlanta. Irish Fest Atlanta returns Nov. 3-4, and new Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall is visiting the following week.

The ambassador = give a lecture at Emory University on W.B. Yeats Nov. 6, speak at a World Affairs Council of Atlanta lunch Nov. 7, then take the podium at an Irish chamber breakfast Nov. 8.

Learn more about the EPIC Museum at http://epicchq.com.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...