MISSOULA – For the Irish, the month of March is the time to celebrate achievements, traditions and the Irish legacy.
The Irish Studies Program at UM in partnership with the Friends of Irish Studies, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Missoula Irish Dance School and the community at large invite the public – especially Irish and lovers of all things Irish – to join in the celebration of a people and their culture.
The festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, with a night of Irish music and song at UM’s Music Recital Hall. The guest performer is Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde from County Donegal. Born and raised in the Irish-speaking district of Gweedore, he was weaned on Irish music and song. He excelled on the accordion and uilleann pipes and caught the attention of local singers for his melodic and expressive voice. The beauty and power of this voice was nationally recognized in 2009 when he won the prestigious “Corn Uí Riada” award.
This is his first trip to the western United States. His performance in Missoula will include the accordion, uilleann pipes and traditional song. Tickets cost $15 for general admission, $10 seniors and Friends of Irish Studies members, and $5 for students. Tickets are available at the door or online at http://www.friendsofirishstudies.com/.
The Friends of Irish Studies also will sponsor a talk on the historic relationship between Ireland and America. The speaker is David Fleming from Ireland’s University of Limerick, who is teaching at UM this spring as a Fulbright visiting professor in Irish history. The talk will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 11, at the Kettlehouse Brewery Northside. Admission is free. The talk is part of the Friends’ plan to have the Irish Studies Program establish a stronger and more robust presence in the community.
St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will take place Saturday, March 12. The schedule follows:
- 8 a.m.: Mass at St. Francis Xavier church, 420 W. Pine St.
- 11 a.m.: Line up for the parade, Higgins Avenue
- Noon: Parade begins, Higgins Avenue
- 2 p.m.: Irish whiskey tasting at The Rhino, 158 Ryman St.
- 2:30 p.m.: Hurling game at Loyola Sacred Heart’s Rollin Field. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
- 6 p.m.: Great Irish Gathering, Banquet and Auction at the Holiday Inn Downtown at the Park. Tickets cost $30 and may be purchased at the door or online at http://www.friendsofirishstudies.com/.
The Great Irish Gathering will be an evening of Irish music, song and dance. It also is a great social event, giving many people the opportunity to meet up with old friends and to renew old acquaintances. All proceeds will support UM’s Irish Studies Program and promoting Irish culture in the community. All are invited to attend.
On Sunday, March 13, there will be a workshop on Irish traditional dance at Imagine Nation Brewery. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. The workshop begins at noon and runs until 3:30 p.m.
On Thursday, March 17, the St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner will be hosted at St. Anthony’s Parish Life Center at 217 Tremont St. The event begins at 6 p.m., and there will be Irish music, dance and singing as part of the celebration. Tickets cost $15 each or $25 for couples. For more information, call 406-543-3129.
For those interested in a firsthand Ireland experience, the Friends lead a small group on an intimate tour of the country every year. The trip is limited to 20 people to ensure the group can get to all those out-of-the-way places most tours can’t visit. It is led by UM Director of Irish Studies Traolach Ó Ríordáin. For more information visit http://www.friendsofirishstudies.com/.