National Irish conference comes to Missoula

Conference explores "Her Exiled Children: Ireland and Irish America”

New & Notable

The American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS) brings its national conference, titled “Her Exiled Children: Ireland and Irish America,” to the Holiday Inn Downtown at the Park in Missoula Oct. 20-22. The 32nd annual gathering looks at the role the Irish in America played in Ireland’s struggle for freedom. The long list of scholars and guest speakers includes Irish Ambassador to the U.S. Anne Anderson, Gov. Steve Bullock and others.

Irish Ambassador to the U.S. Anne Anderson
Irish Ambassador to the U.S. Anne Anderson attends Missoula conference

“Her Exiled Children in America” was the term that Patrick Pearse, leader of the Easter Rising, applied to Irish Americans as he read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic in Dublin on Easter Monday, 1916. Pearse’s specific reference to the Irish of America acknowledged the critical role they played in the events that culminated in the rebellion he was about to launch and in the War of Independence that followed. The conference in Missoula is designed to raise awareness of the role the Irish of Montana played in the struggle for freedom and in the creation of an independent Irish Republic.

The event is hosted by Irish Studies at the University of Montana, in partnership with ACIS, the Friends of Irish Studies, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the Butte Silver Bow Archives.

Festivities begin Oct. 20 with a tour of Anaconda and Butte, led by Dave Emmons, UM history professor emeritus and author of The Butte Irish and Beyond the American Pale. The group will be received by members of Division of 1 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians at their hall in Anaconda, then travel to Butte for a reception at the Butte Silver Bow Archives, home to a rich repository of primary material relating to the history of the Irish in the west, and a tour of the city.

Ellen Crain and Aubrey Jaap from the Butte Silver Bow Archives open the conference Friday with a presentation of the exhibit, “Erin’s Exiled Children: Irish America and the Road to the Rising.” Developing the theme of the Easter Rising are independent scholar, Myles Dungan, with “How to Lose a Country in Sixteen Executions,” and a lecture by professor and historian Ruan O’Donnell of the University of Limerick, “Irish America and the 1916 Rising,” at the University Center Ballroom.

Saturday’s events focus on the historical relationship between Ireland and America in general, and the close connection between Ireland and Montana.

Teams come from the Northwest and Canada to compete in hurling, the most ancient of Irish games, at Loyola Sacred Heart Ram field.

Keynote talks include “Dragging it Home: Songs and Stories from Gaelic America” by Breandan Feiritéar, and a screening of his documentary on Butte, “Scéal ar Butte.” Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, poet in residence at Notre Dame, shares her poems and talks about her family and the memories they left of living and working in Montana.

The evening culminates with a banquet featuring Anderson, the Irish Ambassador to the U.S, and Gov. Bullock as guests of honor. Both will speak to the importance of the relationship between Ireland and Montana. A celebration of Irish music and dance, featuring Malarkey and others, wraps up festivities.

Call 243-6973 for details or register at