Anne Anderson, the Irish Ambassador to the United States, was one of many honored guest speakers to make an appearance at the University of Montana’s annual American Conference of Irish Studies, held in October.

The conference, which just celebrated its 32nd year, was held during the weekend of Oct-22, with a full slate of activities “organized to commemorate the Easter Rising of 1916 and to celebrate the long and historic relationship between Ireland and Montana,” according to Traolach Ó Ríordáin, UM’s Irish Studies program director.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Her Exiled Children: Ireland and Irish America.”

Other guest speakers at the conference included Professor Ruan O’Donnell, chair of history at Ireland’s University of Limerick; Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, poet in residence at the University of Notre Dame; Breandan Feiritéar, former head of Radio na Gaelachtachta and documentary filmmaker; and Myles Dungan, independent scholar and Irish radio and television broadcaster. | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

In 2006, former Irish President Mary McAleese visited Montana and spoke of the enormous contribution the state has made to Ireland and the special place the state has in the hearts of Irish people.

According to a press release, the Ambassador Anderson’s first official visit to Montana was deliberately scheduled to coincide with the conference as a reminder of the high regard in which the Irish government and people hold their friends in Montana.

"We want to talk about how to further our ties in the education sector -- I think there's a great deal of potential to develop there. There are other areas that we have been speaking about and and I would hope that when the new governor is elected, that he will make an early visit to Ireland with a delegation -- a business delegation, an academic delegation -- that can discuss the possibility of further strengthening the business ties, the educational ties, cultural ties between Montana and Ireland,” Anderson told MTN News.

Read more: Why more schools in the United States should offer Irish studies