March brings taste of the Irish to Missoula

Friends of Irish Studies offer music, dancing, lecture, parade and banquet

New & Notable

In the early 1900s Irish America was described as a place in the United States that rested on five great cities: Boston, New York, Chicago, Butte and San Francisco. Butte and Anaconda were known nationally and internationally, and seen in Ireland as strongholds of Irish culture and the source of tremendous financial and political support for the cause of Irish freedom.

Montana today is still at the forefront of Irish culture in the U.S. and is home to one of the largest Irish studies programs in the country, the oldest continuously active division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians west of the Mississippi (in Anaconda), and the two-time Collegiate National Hurling Champions, the Montana Grizzlies.

In honor of that legacy, the Friends of Irish Studies in partnership with the Irish Studies Program at UM, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Missoula Irish Dance invite the community to celebrate all things Irish during the month of St. Patrick.

Festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. March 2 with a night of Irish music and song at the UM Music Recital Hall featuring Dominic Mac Giolla Bhríde from County Donegal. Born and raised in the Irish-speaking district of Gweedore, he was weaned on Irish music and song, and excelled on the accordion and uilleann pipes. He has released four CDs and performed all over Ireland and Europe; his melodic and expressive voice earned him the prestigious Corn Uí Riada in 2009. Tickets are $5-$15 and are available at the door or online at

The Friends of Irish Studies also sponsors a talk on the historic relationship between Ireland and America by Dr. David Fleming from the University of Limerick, Ireland, at 6:30 p.m. March 11 at the Kettlehouse Brewery, Northside.

Festivities continue Saturday, March 12, with the celebration of a St. Patrick’s Day Mass, 8 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier Church. The annual parade begins at noon (participants should gather at 11 a.m.); afternoon events include an Irish Whiskey Tasting, 2 p.m. at the Rhino Bar; and a free hurling game, 2:30 p.m. (location TBA).

The Great Irish Gathering, Banquet and Auction begins at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Parkside. Tickets are $30; proceeds go to the Irish Studies Program and help promote Irish culture.

Also on tap is the St. Patrick’s Feast Day dinner and celebration featuring pipers, singers and dancers, 5 p.m. March 17 at St. Anthony’s Community Life Center.

Upcoming events also include:

  • The Magic of Ireland Tour with Traolach O’Riordain, director of Irish Studies at UM, June 19-28.
  • The Irish Language Immersion Course in Butte, July 23-30.

Visit for details.