Missoula’s annual celebration of Ireland’s patron saint begins Saturday, March 16, with a traditional Gaelic Mass, featuring Irish music, hymns and readings, 8 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier Church.
A parade down Higgins Ave. gets underway at noon (line up at 11 a.m.). Sample fine whiskeys from a 3,000-year tradition of distillation during the Irish whiskey tasting, 2 p.m. at The Rhino; free carousel rides are available 2-4 p.m. at A Carousel for Missoula; and a hurling tournament begins at 2 p.m. Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
The annual St. Patrick’s Day Banquet and Auction kicks off at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Parkside; proceeds benefit UM’s Irish Studies program.
“It’s not just a get-together,” says Traolach O’Riordain, director of Irish Studies at the University of Montana. “This culture has been part of Montana history for over 150 years. There’s no other place I can think of where you can go and have corned beef and cabbage and some drink, share the company of people who are part of the same ancestry and heritage, and make sure that history and culture is passed on to your children and grandchildren.”
In addition to a sit-down dinner, the benefit includes music by Malarkey, dancing, a performance by Irish Studies students and silent and live auctions. Tickets are $30 and available at the door or online.
The Friends of Irish Studies also sponsors a drawing for a trip for two to Ireland in June; winning ticket will be drawn March 31. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or find out where to buy raffle tickets online.
Funds raised from the banquet and raffle go toward music, dance, history, language lessons, and an oral history project.
International Festival on St. Patrick’s Day
On Sunday, March 17, UM’s Global Engagement Office and International Student Association host the International Festival in the University Center, highlighting the many global influences on campus and in the community. As in the past, this year’s festival will feature an international culture show, children’s world, ethnic food trucks and more surprises, including special St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Call 406-243-2288 for details.