Endowed Chair in Irish Language and Literature

For the Love of Irish

“For the love of Irish,” a phrase so simple and direct in its wording, and yet so expressive of what it means to be Irish. The millions of Irish who emigrated to the United States brought with them a love of their heritage which they united with a loyalty to America to redefine themselves as Irish American. This new identity exerted a profound influence on the political, cultural and social life of both countries. It inspired the struggle for workers’ rights and political change; it led to the creation of schools, hospitals, and social services; and it generated a host of distinct Irish cultural and fraternal organizations. It also found heroic expression in the sacrifices the Irish have made for the freedom of Ireland and for the protection of the United States.  This commitment to Irish culture and American values is the legacy that has been handed down to our generation.

The Irish of Montana strive to honor this legacy through the Friends of Irish Studies. The Friends work in partnership with the Irish Government, the Fulbright Commission, and with local community groups to support the Irish Studies program at the University of Montana. Irish Studies programs have evolved in recent years in America to teach a new generation about Irish culture and share the knowledge and richness of Irish heritage.

One of the most unique Irish Studies programs in the United States is at the University of Montana [UM].  Originating in the community and created in partnership with faculty, this program has grown to become the largest and most comprehensive of its kind west of the Mississippi. Since its inception in 2006, thousands of students have come to know and love Irish culture. Many have returned to Ireland where they have reconnected with their ancestral homeland and culture and brought from their experience a deeper understanding and appreciation of their dual Irish and American identity.

This program is facing a very uncertain future because of the financial difficulties at UM. This is another challenge that we face and will overcome with your help. We need to raise $1.5 million to endow a Chair in Irish Language and Literature. This endowment will guarantee the future of Irish Studies in Montana. We appeal to you to invest in this future, to ensure that our children and our children’s children will experience the beauty and richness of Irish culture. There are generations to come who will look back with immense gratitude on your generosity.

For further information or if you are interested in making a donation in honor of a person or in someone’s name, please contact the Director of Irish Studies, Dr. Traolach Ó Ríordáin, at Traolach.oriordain@mso.umt.edu or contact the Friends of Irish Studies at friendsofirishstudies@gmail.com.

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