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Festival Workshops and Lecture Series

An Ri Ra is please to offer multiple workshops and lecture series this year! Please check out this year's offerings below. 

Dancing with the Stars: Irish Dance Workshop
with Trinity Academy of Irish dance

Friday, August 12 th various times at Saint Mary's Church (across from the Mine Yard)

Join the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance for "Dancing with the Stars" workshop. All workshops will start with warm-ups, tips and techniques to enhance your skills and will end with great steps to add to your repertoire. Workshops will be held at St. Mary’s Church (across the street from the Original Mine Yard festival area). Check in at church foyer 10 minutes prior to workshop. Each workshop is $15 please bring cash or check, payable to MGCS. Choose the workshop at the same level as your Irish dance class.

Please complete this form prior to arriving at the workshop! 

From Darkness into Light: The Celtic Year in Ancient Ireland
Cathie Ryan

Friday, August 12 th at 10:00a.m. at Butte Brewing Company

In this workshop, Cathie will look at how Ireland’s ancient calendar was punctuated by sacred fire festivals as well as significant Solar and Lunar events. In the dark half of the year, the festival of Samhain began the year anew and led the way into Beltainne, Imbolc and Lughnasadh - each an important marker of transitions in the farming year and even more important to the well-being of the community. We will look at the folk customs associated with these festivals, how we still celebrate some of them today (Halloween and May Day to name a few), and the way the Celts revered the Sun and the Moon and their own tribe.

A few songs might be sung for good measure!

CathieRyan AnRiRa.jpeg
A Tribute to Granny
Rory Makem

Friday, August 12 th at 11:00a.m. at Butte Brewing Company

Sarah Makem, a lifelong resident of Keady in Northern Ireland born in 1900, was a traditional Irish singer married to an Irish fiddler. Her children and grandchildren continued in the family business, all becoming musicians, including her grandson, Rory. Sarah was well-known and beloved throughout Ireland and her song library was unmatched. Sarah recorded the song “As I Roved Out” in 1950 and it was used as the signature tune for a BBC radio program for several years. She passed away in 1983. Long overdue, Sarah was inducted into the RTE Radio 1 Folk Awards Hall of Fame in 2021.

Rory Makem, best known for his time he toured with The Makem Brothers and the Makem and Spain Brothers, has spent over 32 years on the road entertaining venues of all sizes with his musical talent. Join Sarah’s grandson, Rory, as he shares and continues the legacy of Sarah, a legendary source singer, with songs, history, and humor.

Fire and Brimstone - “Fireside” Chat
with Michael Punke and Aubrey Jaap

Friday, August 12 th at 12:00p.m. at Butte Brewing Company

Join Michael Punke, New York Times bestselling author, and Aubrey Jaap, Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives Director, for a fireside chat about Punke’s Fire and Brimstone, the remarkable story of the worst hard-rock mining disaster in American history. In conversational style, Jaap will talk with Punke about his reasoning for writing Fire and Brimstone, his research process, and other discoveries he made along the way.


Fire and Brimstone recounts the remarkable stories the North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917, of both the men below ground and their families above, focusing on two groups of miners who made the incredible decision to entomb themselves to escape the gas. While the disaster is compelling in its own right, Fire and Brimstone also tells a far broader story striking in its contemporary relevance. Butte, Montana, on the eve of the North Butte disaster, was a volatile jumble of antiwar protest, an abusive corporate master, seething labor unrest, divisive ethnic tension, and radicalism both left and right. It was a powder keg lacking only a spark, and the mine fire would ignite strikes, murder, ethnic and political witch hunts, occupation by federal troops, and ultimately a battle over presidential power.

Michael will sign autographs of his book after the workshop; his book will also be available for purchase at Isle of Books, How Novel, Second Edition Books, and the Corner Bookstore

Julie Bushmaker and Mark Wholihan
Friday, August 12 th from 8:00am - 4:00p.m. at Butte Archives

A disproportionate share of Irish immigrants answered Marcus Daly’s promise of underground mining jobs in Butte, Montana from 1880-1920. This Irish diaspora came from a relatively small area in West County Cork called the Beara. Common surnames in Butte and Montana, Sullivan, Harrington, Shea, McCarthy, Murphy, Lynch, Barry, Keane, Houlihan and Hanley came by the thousands to mine the rich copper ore and provide jobs as servants, clerks and work in the boarding houses. Join us to learn more about the mining history of Ireland, Beara, America and Butte. We will help you find your ancestors through the rich paper and computer resources at the Butte Silver Bow Archives on Friday, August 12, 2022 from 8-9am followed by a special presentation from 9-10 am on “The Beara to Butte Family DNA Project”. The Butte Silver Bow Archive staff, Butte Genealogy Society members and a DNA expert will be available to guide your free research from 10 am – 4pm following the presentations.

Irish Songwriting Workshop
Ashley Davis

Saturday, August 13 th at 10:00a.m.-12:00p.m. at the Clark Chateau

Join Ashley Davis for a Saturday morning workshop focusing on traditional Irish songs and techniques. In this workshop, Ashley will work with the group on how to get the best sound out of your voice while having fun learning new songs together in a a relaxed setting. Ashley holds an MA in Traditional Irish Singing from the University of Limerick, and a BA from Belmont University in Nashville. Besides a large catalog of Irish and Irish American songs, Ashley’s expertise lies in breaking down vocally what it means to have a traditional sound, and how to technically produce that song. Spectators are also welcome!

To learn more about Ashley click here. 

Beginning Irish Language Workshop
Traolach O’Riordain and Chris Hardesty

Saturday, August 13 th at 10:00a.m.-12:00p.m. at the Butte Archives
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