MISSOULA – The University of Montana’s Irish Studies program and Friends of Irish Studies will host several events during March in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
Events taking place Saturday, March 17, include:
- St. Patrick’s Mass: 8 a.m., St. Francis Xavier Church, located at 420 W. Pine St. Pastor Joseph Carver will preside. The service will include Irish hymns, prayers and readings. A reception will follow in Reidy Hall.
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade: 11 a.m. lineup; noon departure. The parade will depart from Spruce Street and Higgins Avenue and travel over the river to Beckwith Avenue. The grand marshal of the parade is Chris Behan. Entry forms are available at the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce and must be submitted by Thursday, March 15.
- St. Patrick’s Day Irish whiskey tasting: 2-6 p.m., Rhino Bar. Sample eight whiskeys from Ireland’s 3,000-year-old tradition of distillation. The cost per person is $35.
- Carousel rides: 2-4 p.m. Free rides for kids at A Carousel for Missoula. This event is sponsored by the Phil Maloney Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
- Great Irish Gathering, banquet and auction: 6 p.m., Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown. Join old friends and make new ones during a social night of food and drink, music and dance. Proceeds from the event support the Irish Studies program and promote Irish culture in the community. The evening is sponsored by Friends of Irish Studies. Tickets to the dinner cost $30 and are available at the door or at http://www.friendsofirishstudies.com.
- Irish Man and Woman of the Year: At the banquet and auction, the Irish Man and Woman of the Year will be honored for their contributions to their communities and heritage. This year’s recipients are John and Jodi Monahan. John is president of Friends of Irish Studies. During his term, the organization has grown to become the largest donor to UM’s Irish Studies program. The group currently is fundraising to endow a chair in Irish language and literature at UM. Jodi expresses her love of all things Irish through her artwork.
Also in March, the ongoing concert series “A Springtime of Irish Music and Song” continues in both Butte and Missoula.
On Friday, March 23, Liam Ó Maonlaí, master of the whistle, bodhrán and sean-nós singing, will play the Montana Tech Library Auditorium. On Saturday, March 24, he will play UM’s Recital Hall. Both concerts run from 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Tickets for each performance cost $15 for general admission, $13 for members of the Friends of Irish Studies and seniors and $5 for students. They are available online at http://hs.umt.edu/friends-irish-studies/stories/spring-music.php and at Rockin Rudy’s in Missoula or in Butte at Cavanaugh’s County Celtic and the Granite Mountain Bank.