UM, Butte to Host ‘A Springtime of Irish Music and Song’

January 24, 2018

MISSOULA – This spring, the University of Montana will bring the most well-known custodians of Ireland’s music and song tradition to Montana for “A Springtime of Irish Music and Song.”

The concert series, hosted by UM’s Irish Studies program and the School of Music in partnership with Friends of Irish Studies and the Fulbright Commission of Ireland, features visitors from families who passed on musical traditions from generation to generation.

The first concert features young fiddle player and pianist Orla McCague from County Monaghan. Following McCague is button accordion player Danny O’Mahony from Ballyduff in County Kerry. The third concert features remarkable Uilleann piper Eoin Ó Riabhaigh from County Cork. Closing this series is the master of the whistle, bodhrán and sean-nós singing, Liam Ó Maonlaí. Ó Maonlaí also is the lead vocalist for the Irish rock band Hothouse Flowers.

All concerts run from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The complete schedule for “A Springtime of Irish Music and Song” follows:

  • Thursday, Feb. 8: McCague, fiddle, UM Recital Hall.
  • Friday, Feb. 9: McCague, fiddle, Montana Tech Library Auditorium in Butte.
  • Thursday, Feb. 22: O’Mahony, button accordion, UM Recital Hall.
  • Saturday, Feb. 24: O’Mahony, button accordion, Montana Tech Library Auditorium.
  • Friday, March 9: Ó Riabhaigh, Uilleann pipes, Montana Tech Library Auditorium.
  • Saturday, March 10: Ó Riabhaigh, Uilleann pipes, UM Recital Hall.
  • Friday, March 23: Ó Maonlaí, traditional and contemporary music, Montana Tech Library Auditorium.
  • Saturday, March 24: Ó Maonlaí, traditional and contemporary music, UM Recital Hall.

The concert series is part of the Irish Studies music course Traditional Music and Song of Ireland that McCague is teaching this spring. McCague is a champion Irish fiddler and a Fulbright Irish language teaching assistant at UM. Professor Patrick Williams of the School of Music designed the course to give students an authentic and applied experience of Irish music.

The visiting musicians will speak to students and the community about traditional music, their instruments and future direction of the tradition. The musicians also will visit local high schools to share their knowledge and passion for Irish music. Inclusion of the community in these workshops is central to Irish Studies’ long-term objective of building closer cultural ties between Montana and Ireland.

Tickets for each performance cost $15 for general admission, $13 for members of the Friends of Irish Studies and seniors, $5 for students or $45 for a season ticket to all four performances. They are available online at and at Rockin Rudy’s in Missoula or in Butte at Cavanaugh’s County Celtic and the Granite Mountain Bank.

For more information call Clair Leonard from the Friends of Irish Studies at 406-529-3528.


Contact: Traolach O’Riordain, UM director of Irish Studies, 406-243-6359,