Irish Studies program launched at American university

Irish President Mary McAleese announced a $40,000 ( Ђ 31,200) gift for a new Irish Studies program at the University of Montana, describing it as a thank you for the hospitality shown a century ago to the man who became Ireland's first president.

Douglas Hyde came to Montana seeking help in saving the Gaelic language from extinction under British rule. The language scholar found thriving pockets of the Gaelic language in immigrant communities and received emotional and financial support from the state, President Mary McAleese said in her speech Tuesday.

Calling the Hyde connection a "lovely synchronicity," McAleese announced the gift from her government at a ceremony that officially launched the Irish Studies program and opened a formal academic partnership with Ireland's University College Cork.

Courses in the University of Montana's Irish Studies program will include language, literature and history. Students will have the opportunity to study at the University College Cork.

On Wednesday, McAleese is scheduled to visit Butte, where she plans to give a speech and meet with Gov. Brian Schweitzer, reports the AP.


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