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Ireland Semester Schedule of Events


Far & Away: Reflections on Art & Conflict in Ireland 

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday

August 14-30, 2023

(Reception from 4-6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, 2023)  

MSSU Spiva Art Gallery  

Admission: free


The Department of Art & Design offered a course in Summer 2023 that explored Irish artistic expression and its role in framing, waging, and remembering the many political conflicts that define the history and culture of the island. Central to the course was an 11-day visit to various sites in the east of Ireland, including both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Tours focusing on the Great Hunger, the 1916 Rebellion, and The Troubles were complemented by drives through the countryside, visits to The Giant’s Causeway (a UNESCO World Heritage site), the Wicklow Mountains, and Newgrange (a passage tomb that predates Stonehenge).

“Far & Away: Reflections on Art & Conflict in Ireland” features a diverse range of artwork by participating students and faculty. Many works use the Irish lens to explore social and political conflict in a broader sense. Others build on a rich tradition of storytelling that combines cultural symbolism, history, and the natural environment. In some cases, the artists take inspiration from their travels in Ireland to reflect on personal experiences. Through engaging with paintings, sculptures, photographs, interactive mixed media works, fiber arts, and other media, viewers are invited to learn about and reflect on Ireland’s culture and history, to consider the universal nature of many human struggles, and to explore the common connections between the diverse artistic approaches of the exhibition.

Exhibiting artists: Lucas Berling, Andrew Cashion, Cindy Claudio, Kara Evansco, Whitney B. Fair, DesiRay Laidler, Abby McCaffrey, Kyle McKenzie, Barbara Stapleton, and Emaline Stapleto


Artists' Talk - Far & Away: Reflections on Art & Conflict in Ireland

12 p.m. Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall 

Zoom Link: Artists' Talk

Admission: free


In conjunction with the “Far & Away” exhibition by MSSU students and faculty in Spiva Art Gallery (Aug. 14-30), this talk will provide further perspective on the artists’ diverse creative responses to their travels in Ireland. There will be a brief overview of the historic roles of Irish artists in addressing and defining conflicts. Some of the artworks from the exhibition will be discussed to help explain common themes shared among the artists and to provide meaningful context for further viewing. Many of the artists will be available to discuss their work and answer questions following the presentation.


Ireland Trivia Night 

6 p.m. Wednesday, August 30, 2023

BSC Student Lounge (across from bookstore)

Sponsored by Student Success Center


Bring your friends and test your knowledge of Ireland! T-shirts and snacks provided; prizes for the top three teams. Open to all currently enrolled students.


From New grange to the Aviva: A History of Ireland in 20 Objects 

9:30 a.m. Thursday, August 31, 2023

Phelps Theater in Billingsly Student Center

Zoom Link: From New Grange to the Aviva

Admission: free


For this presentation, Eamonn Wall will select 20 of the most iconic Irish images, from 5,000 years ago to the present, to tell the story of Ireland. Each image will be presented on screen and be followed by a story. The presentation will begin at the famous passage grave in Newgrange, County Meath, and end at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, where the Irish rugby and soccer teams play in international competitions. Along the way, we will meet historical and religious figures, writers, artists, pirates, and saints and rogues. We will look at a variety of environments – ancient and modern – and there will be plenty of opportunities for the audience to participate. Questions and comments will be most welcome.


My Aunts at Twilight Poker

11 a.m. Thursday, August 31, 2023

Phelps Theater in Billingsly Student Center

Zoom Link: My Aunts at Twilight Poker

Admission: free


Eamonn Wall reads some of the rich, narrative poems that provide many-sided explorations of Irish and Diasporic life – with particular focus on his hometown of Enniscorthy, County Wexford, and on St. Louis, where he had lived for the past two decades. A focal point of the collection is Annie Murphy-Flood, the author’s grandmother, who arrived in Enniscorthy as a newly married young woman in the early 20th century to open a business and start a family. Her life, practice, and the example she set form the moral force that guides this collection. The book is also a homage to the lives of those who have been written out of history, and a personal response to a town that has changed but endured.

Eamonn Wall is a native of County Wexford, Ireland and the author of three prose books: From Oven Lane to Sun Prairie: In Search of Irish America (Arlen House/Syracuse UP, 2019); Writing the Irish West: Ecologies and Traditions (Notre Dame, 2011); and From the Sin-é Café to the Black Hills: Notes on the New Irish (Wisconsin, 2000). His collections of original poetry include My Aunts at Twilight Poker (2023) and Junction City: New and Selected Poems 1990-2015 (2015), both published by Salmon Poetry. He is a past-president of the American Conference for Irish Studies and a professor of global studies and English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he holds the Smurfit-Stone Corporation Professorship in Irish Studies.



Tasting the Cuisine of Ireland

4:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Mayes Dining Hall 

Admission: $13 plus tax

Sponsored by Fresh Ideas


Join us for a full Irish meal prepared by Saul Paniagua, the MSSU Fresh Ideas executive chef. The menu includes Irish stew, Irish pub salad, bangers and mash, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, colcannon mash, braised cabbage, glazed root vegetables, boxty (potato cakes), Irish apple cake, bread pudding with whiskey sauce, and Irish soda bread.

Afterwards, join us for a showing of the Irish film Sing Street at 7 p.m. in Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall.


Finding Inspiration: Dublin Photographs & Paintings 1963/2020

6 p.m. Thursday, September 7, 2023

Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall

Zoom Link: Dublin Photographs & Paintings

(Reception at 7 p.m. Thursday in MSSU Spiva Art Gallery)

Exhibition runs from Sept. 5 - Oct. 11 in MSSU Spiva Art Gallery

Admission: free


In 2020, during the lockdown of COVID, Alen MacWeeney’s partner, Pesya Altman, posted black and white photographs he’d taken in Dublin in 1963 onto a Facebook page called Dublin, Down Memory Lane. “The results she received from the Dubliners was an astonishing mix of vital recollections of childhood, places, families, marriage, politics, religion, and poverty,” MacWeeney said. “The minefield of comments to the photographs created both an entertaining and gripping stream of opinions, and opened a window into Dublin life in 1963, reflected in the mirror of 2020. Pesya logged hundreds of comments received to the photographs in the following months, and was inspired to create her own series of colorful drawings and paintings which incorporated themes and characters from the black and white photographs.” Lilliput Press published My Dublin 1963 – My Dubliners 2020.

Alen MacWeeney’s photographs have appeared internationally in magazines and books, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, GQ, and others. His books include Ireland Stone Walls and Fabled Land; Bloomsbury Reflections; Charleston: A Bloomsbury House and Garden; The Home of the Surrealists; Spaces for Silence; Irish Travellers, Tinkers No More; Once Upon a Time in Tallaght; and Under the Influence. His photographs are in the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and others. He lives in New York City and Sag Harbor on Long Island, with yearly travels to Ireland.


Artists' Lives: Two Histories, Two Worlds, Apart and Together

11 a.m. Friday, September 8, 2023

Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall

Zoom Link: Two Histories, Two Worlds, Apart and Together

Admission: free



From widely divergent places and backgrounds, Pesya Altman, a painter and teacher from an orthodox family in Israel, and Alen MacWeeney, a photographer from a Catholic family in Ireland, met in New York a year or shortly before the COVID pandemic reached the U.S., and shared their artistic drives to create a book together, My Dublin 1963 - My Dubliners 2020 that is a mirror of the pandemic. They will each describe their individual artistic pathways of their lives, with additional slides and video projection. 


The Story of Gaelic Games in Ireland: Blood, Sweat, and Tears

9:30 a.m. Tuesday, September 12, 2023 (Zoom presentation)

Corely Auditorium in Webster Hall 

Zoom Link: The Story of Gaelic Games in Ireland

Admission: free


In the fight for Irish freedom from the shackles of English rule, lasting from the 12th century to the end of the War of Independence in 1921, two native sports were played in most parts of Ireland. Gaelic football and hurling were “the games of the people” and, along with the hard-fought struggle for the preservation of the Irish language, they have stood the test of time.

Jim Carney is a native of Milltown, North Galway, West of Ireland. In a 55-year career in print journalism and broadcasting, he worked for The Tuam Herald, The Connacht Tribune, The Evening Herald, The Irish Independent, and RTE (Ireland’s national public service media). In 1979, he was the first presenter of the RTE-TV flagship sports program, “The Sunday Game.” Carney published the book Seán Purcell and Frank Stockwell – From a Childhood Friendship to Gaelic Football Fame and Glory in June 2023. 


The Celtic Tiger: Ireland's Economic Miracle

10 a.m. Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall

Zoom Link: The Celtic Tiger

Admission: free


Although many of the largest U.S. tech firms today hold their European headquarters in Ireland, this was not always the case. Ireland’s economy went from being one of the poorest in the European Union during the 1980s to an economic success from the mid-1990s and 2000s. Such rapid economic growth fueled by foreign direct investment led many to dub Ireland the Celtic Tiger. In 2008 the boom was dampened by the global financial crisis and ensuing European debt crisis. However, Ireland has recently experienced astonishing growth. Dr. Dominic Buccieri will discuss the interplay between globalization, the financial system, and European integration that has led to Ireland’s economic success.

Dr. Dominic Buccieri is an assistant professor in the Plaster School of Business at Missouri Southern State University. He teaches in the areas of marketing and international business and has led multiple student study abroad trips within Europe. His research in the areas of international entrepreneurship and marketing strategy has appeared in Industrial Marketing Management, International Business Review, International Small Business Journal, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Strategic Marketing, and others. Prior to joining MSSU, Buccieri spent 18 years in sales and business development roles with extensive experience in B2B and B2C models. From 2004-2013 he led the creation of a business unit and overseas market expansion.


Gaelic Games

Gaelic football: 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023 (campus oval)

Hurling: 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023 (campus oval)

Rowing: 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023 (Beimdiek Recreation Center)

Registration: just show up and play!


Traditional Irish sports are dominated by Gaelic football and hurling. When Irish people go to a sporting event, one of every two is attending a Gaelic football or hurling match. Gaelic football is the most popular sport in Ireland. It is a mixture of soccer, rugby, basketball, American football, and many other sports. There are 15 players on each team. The ball is round, slightly smaller than a soccer ball. It is kicked, caught, hand-passed, and punched.

Hurling is oldest and fastest field sport in the world. It combines elements from hockey, lacrosse, golf, and many other sports. Hurling is played with a stick, called a hurley, and a small leather ball called a sliotar. The game demands a high level of skill. Camogie is the female version of hurling.

Rowing is an Olympic sport. It allows people the opportunity to be part of a team while participating in a fiercely competitive non-contact sport. This makes it very attractive to all ages, genders, and particularly to parents who are concerned about their children being injured while playing contact sports. Rowing is also an activity that can be enjoyed as a leisure pursuit.


A Taste of Ireland

7-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023

Just A Taste, 105 S. Main, Webb City

Open to the public, but must be at least 21 years old to attend.

General admission: $25 (includes one glass of Guinness and performance)

VIP admission: $50 (includes whiskey tasting at 6:30 and performance)




Join us for a captivating evening of Irish culture and music at our “A Taste of Ireland” event. Immerse yourself in the enchanting melodies performed by three exceptionally talented classical Irish musicians, who will whisk you away to the emerald landscapes of Ireland. Indulge your taste buds in an exclusive VIP whiskey tasting, where you’ll have the opportunity to savor a selection of the finest Irish whiskies. Expert guides will lead you through the nuances and flavors, allowing you to appreciate the craftsmanship behind each sip. Come and join us for an unforgettable evening celebrating the rich heritage and vibrant spirit of Ireland.

Eimear Arkins is an award-winning singer and fiddle player from County Clare, Ireland with 11 solo Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (World Irish Music Championships) titles to her credit. She has performed throughout the U.S. and Ireland with acclaimed bands like Cherish the Ladies, Téada, and The Paul Brock Band. She has toured extensively with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in Ireland, Britain, North America, and Canada. Her debut CD, What’s Next?, was released in summer 2019 to great acclaim and she was named “Best Newcomer” by LiveIreland 2019.

Eileen Gannon, a St. Louis native, is one of the top Irish harp players in the world. She has won numerous accolades including the highly coveted Senior Harp title at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. She has a bachelor’s degree in music performance from Saint Louis University and a master’s degree in ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick. She launched her debut solo CD, The Glory Days Are Over, to great acclaim in the summer of 2017.

Nicolas Brown, born in Illinois and raised in Ontario, first started playing Irish music when he was in his late teens. In the years since he first picked up a tin whistle at the Fergus Highland Games, he has not only become a proficient musician and sought-after music teacher; he has also developed a vast knowledge of the history of Irish music, old musicians, tune origins, Irish music in America, and much more. Nicolas has performed, taught, and given workshops at venues, festivals, and tionóil throughout Canada and the United States.


“Darlin’ Girl from Clare”: A Celtic Concert

11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 15, 2023

Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall

Zoom Link: "Darlin' Girl from Clare"

Admission: free


Musical history buffs have long debated who was the original “Darlin’ Girl from Clare” epitomized in the delightful Irish song written by the legendary William Percy French (1854-1920). But there is now a talented young woman from the tiny village of Ruan, County Clare, who has bragging rights as a latter-day “Darlin’ Girl from Clare.” Eimear Arkins is rocketing in to Irish traditional musical stardom with her fiddling, singing in Irish and English, dancing, storytelling, and lilting. Eimer, Irish harpist Eileen Gannon, and Nicolas Brown on the tin whistle will provide some traditional Irish folk music. (See performer bios from Sept. 14 “A Taste of Ireland” event.)


The History and Making of the Book of Kells

10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 18, 2023

Phelps Theater in Billingsly Student Center

Zoom Link: The History and Making of the Book of Kells

Admission: free


The Gospel manuscript known as the Book of Kells (Trinity College Dublin MS 58) is renowned for its lavish decoration and artistry. Currently bound in four volumes, two remain on display at Trinity College in Dublin. In this lecture, medieval scholar Dr. Rebecca Mouser discusses the background of the manuscript, contextualizing it in the history of the 9th century and expanding on the details of manuscript production in the early Middle Ages.

Rebecca Mouser is an associate professor of English at Missouri Southern State University. She received her Ph.D. in medieval literature from the University of Missouri and specializes primarily in Old English literature, oral tradition, and 14th-century romance. While at MSSU, she has taught early British literature, linguistics, and writing. Her own scholarly work has appeared in journals such as Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching. Her current research focuses on manuscript culture in England in the Middle Ages and its material connection to oral tradition.


Statesmen, Soldiers, and Immigrants: The Irish in Latin America

12 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023

Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall

Zoom Link: The Irish in Latin America

Admission: free


Although Latin America’s Hispanic and Indigenous legacies are well known, immigration from various European countries has played a large role throughout the region, as it has in North America. Though the number of Irish in Latin America may have been fewer than in the United States, they nevertheless played a key role at multiple levels of society: as entrants to the Spanish aristocracy, as soldiers of fortune, as nation-makers, and as immigrants looking for a better life. Dr. Bill Fischer will give an overview of how Irish people have impacted Latin American history in both the colonial and modern periods, including some surprising interactions with the United States.

Dr. Bill Fischer is an associate professor of history at Missouri Southern State University. He has been teaching courses on Colonial and Modern Latin America, Western Civilization, U.S. History, and World History at MSSU since 2015. His research on the history of Amazonian Ecuador has recently been published in The Latin Americanist. He earned a Ph.D. in Modern Latin American History from the University of Florida in 2015, having conducted dissertation research in Ecuador with the support of a Fulbright Award. Prior to that, he lived as a volunteer English teacher in Ecuador after graduating as a history major from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, in 2005.


Oral Health in Ireland

10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 22, 2023

Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall

Zoom link: Oral Health in Ireland 

Admission: free


Dr. Brian O’Connell is Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Professor of Restorative Dentistry in the School of Dental Science, Trinity College Dublin.

Dr. O’Connell studied dentistry at the National University of Ireland and completed postgraduate training in Prosthodontics at the Eastman Dental Center, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Rochester, New York. He continued his postdoctoral work on the development of salivary gland gene transfer at NIDCR, NIH.

At Trinity College Dr. O’Connell was a founder-investigator of the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering, where he worked on the development of bone scaffolds for tissue engineering. This led to research in medical devices and an interest in the application of clinical research.

In 2012 Dr. O’Connell became an investigator in the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing and led the oral health module which is ongoing. As a result of his research, Dr. O’Connell has a particular interest in the progress of oral health policy in Ireland and internationally.

He is immediate Past-President of IADR, President-Elect of the Association for Dental Education in Europe, and a member of the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe.


Molly Brown and the Irish in the West

9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023

Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall (Zoom presentation)

Zoom Link: Molly Brown and the Irish in the West

Admission: free


Born just after the Civil War and succumbing to a brain tumor during the Great Depression, Margaret “Molly” Brown’s lifetime was defined by large-scale change. Most noted for her heroism in the aftermath of the Titanic disaster, her story began in Hannibal, Missouri, as the daughter of Irish immigrants. She moved to the Irish enclave of Leadville, Colorado, at the peak of the silver mining boom, then to Denver after her husband’s fortuitous gold strike. Each successive environment shaped Brown’s ability to give voice to the miners, women, and immigrants seeking agency within such exploitative and inequitable ecosystems as mining camps and boom/bust western cities. Margaret Brown’s remarkable life serves as an entry point to the stories of all the Irish who found themselves building a life in the west.

Andrea Malcomb is director of Historic Denver’s Molly Brown House Museum. Under her leadership, the museum has elevated its public history impact through programs and interpretation that superimpose feminized narratives of historical events onto contemporary place-based activities, prompting audiences to explore a new, woman-centered dynamic between past and present. She sits on the board of the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites and is in a second term on the Historic House Museums Committee of the American Association for State and Local History. Malcomb also sits on the board of Irish Network CO and volunteers with the League of Women Voters. She enjoys watching TikTok videos with her 14-year-old son, doing DIY projects with her partner, and championing for women’s rights.


Pot O’ Gold Trivia Night

4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023

Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall

Admission: free

Sponsored by Campus Activities Board


Regardless of your heritage, everyone loves to celebrate Irish traditions! But did you know some of your favorite green traditions aren’t Irish at all? In Pot O’ Gold Trivia, we’ll see how much you know about Ireland’s patron saint and the traditions surrounding some of your favorite holidays. Grab your “Kiss me, I’m Irish” T-shirts and let’s see if you can outsmart a leprechaun.

Every Pot O’ Gold Trivia Game is hosted by a professional comedian which makes the show even more exciting, interactive, and FUN! Every game includes $200 in CASH PRIZES! Guaranteed!

Do you have the luck of the Irish!?


Book Club: Bog Child

6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023

Bookhouse Cinema, 715 E. Broadway Admission: free

Pick up a copy of the book in Webster Hall 337 or Kuhn Hall 203 while supplies last (students only).


Siobhan Dowd’s groundbreaking novel, Bog Child (2008), is set in 1981 Ireland on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland during the heart of The Troubles. It follows a young man as he struggles to navigate both the border between childhood and adulthood, and the border between two torn Irelands during the 1981 Hunger Strike. This charming, witty, and inspiring novel covers everything from time travel, bog bodies, political turmoil, and the evils of finals as it explores themes like family, finding one’s place, disability, trust, and self-sacrifice.

Siobhan Dowd was an award-winning Irish writer and activist. Her YA novel Bog Child won the Carnegie Medal, was named Bisto Children's Book of the Year by Children’s Books Ireland, and made the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize shortlist.

The Ireland Semester book club is hosted by Missouri Southern’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society.


From the Great Irish Famine to Ship Fever: How a Devastating Potato Pathogen Led to Blight-Flight into the Arms of Deadly Disease at Sea

10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 29, 2023

Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall

Zoom Link: From the Great Irish Famine to Ship Fever

Admission: free


The Great Hunger of Ireland has been discussed by many, but what is lesser known is the story of how the flight of a people led to another threat on the macabre coffin ships. As the Irish tried to find a land where they would be met with a better agricultural environment, epidemic typhus stepped in as the new scourge of the people. The bacterium Rickettsia prowazekii takes center stage as the new pathogen of ill-will in this story of how the smallest microbe can cause the greatest upset in traversing the waters of history.

Dr. Rachel Bechtold is an assistant professor of biology and environmental health and safety at Missouri Southern State University. Her teaching experience involves coursework in epidemiology, environmental health and safety, and disease vector control. Her research has been published in Natural Sciences Education, the Journal of Agricultural Education, and in Microbiology Resource Announcements. She earned her Ph.D. in environmental dynamics from the University of Arkansas in 2021. Prior to this, she was a co-editor for the Journal of Agricultural Education. Active in volunteering, she has served as a Rotary Ambassador to Japan, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon, and was active in community development through the AmeriCorps program.


The Murphys: Ireland’s Most Notorious Serial Murderers

11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2, 2023

Anderson Justice Center Auditorium

Zoom Link: The Murphys

Admission: free


Serial murder is one of the most rare and evil of all human phenomena. Even more scarce are serial murderers who share their control and power over victims with one or more accomplices – team serial murderers. With one of the lowest rates of homicide in the world, Ireland has a dearth of serial murder occurrences. A now infamous case of this horrific human anomaly shocked and terrorized the Irish countryside in the summer of 1976. Dr. Mike Hulderman will give an overview of the murderous exploits of the “Murphys,” Gardaí investigative efforts and arrests of

these serial rapists and murderers, and most importantly, a remembrance of the victims and their families.

Dr. Mike Hulderman is a professor of criminal justice at Missouri Southern State University. He teaches the course, “Serial Murderers,” to both undergraduate and graduate students at the university. During the Spring 2023 semester, he taught the course from a global perspective, with an emphasis on serial murder investigations by Spain’s Policía Nacional, to international students at the Instituto Franklin-Universidad de Acalá in Madrid. He earned his doctorate from Oklahoma State University in 2003, where he conducted his dissertation research on police decision-making. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from MSSU and Northeastern State University, respectively.


Emerald Isle Concert

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023

Taylor Performing Arts Center

Zoom Link: Emerald Isle Concert

Admission: free


Dr. Brandon E. Robinson, director of bands at MSSU, leads the MSSU Concert Band in a concert featuring “Kirkpatrick Fanfare” by Andrew Boysen Jr., “Irish Tune from County Derry” (commonly referred to as “Danny Boy”) by Percy Grainger, “Irish Suite” by Leroy Anderson, “Hands Across the Sea” by John Philip Souse, and “The Rusty Bucket” by Carol Brittin Chambers.


Literary Troubles: Stories of Gender and Nation

1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023

Phelps Theater in Billingsly Student Center

Zoom Link: Literary Troubles

Admission: free


The primary question raised by this discussion is: How does Irish literature represent The Troubles in relation to gender and nation-making? How do the authors create the national house? How does the family unit – specifically the daughter-father relationship – allow space for us to re-imagine the role of young women in the post-colonial nation? Our exploration of these questions will take us further into a myriad of rich discussions relating to Ireland’s Troubles and constructions of gender and the nation.

Dr. Jody Jensen is an assistant professor of English and the assistant director of honors at Missouri Southern State University. She earned her Ph.D. in postcolonial theory and literatures from the University of North Dakota. Her research and teaching interests focus on world literatures, post-colonial theory, and literatures of exile and diaspora. 


Book Club: Brooklyn

6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023

Bookhouse Cinema, 715 E. Broadway

Admission: free


Colm Tóbín’s sixth novel Brooklyn (2009) is set in Ireland and Brooklyn in the early 1950s. It follows Eilis Lacey who, like so many Irish at the time, leaves her family and life in small-town Ireland to escape the dismal Irish post-war economy and seek work and new possibilities elsewhere. In Brooklyn, Eilis finds a job in a department store on Fulton Street, night classes at Brooklyn College, and love at a parish dance. She also encounters changing demographics and social mores. As she is settling into her new life and imagining a future with Tony and his big Italian family, news from Ireland calls her home and threatens to upend her life yet again.

Colm Tóbín is noted as “his generation’s most gifted writer of love’s complicated, contradictory power” by the Los Angeles Times. Brooklyn is a quiet novel about an ordinary woman, but “Tóibín's gift is to demonstrate how extraordinary the mundane can be” (Sam Jordison, The Guardian).

The Ireland Semester book club is hosted by Missouri Southern’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society.


Typhoid Mary: Public Health Versus Civil Liberties – The Questionable Pursuit of an Irish-Born Cook and the Beginning of Investigative Epidemiology

10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 27, 2023

Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall

Zoom Link: Typhoid Mary

Admission: free


Mary Mallon was an Irish-born American cook assumed to have infected dozens to hundreds of people with typhoid fever, of which some cases ended in death. Known to the media as Typhoid Mary, she became the first recorded case of an asymptomatic carrier of the pathogen Salmonella typhi. Despite warnings from a tenacious health instructor, she persisted in working as a cook and continued to spread the pathogen to wealthy families. Public health concerns and the ethics of pursuit and quarantine are still contended topics regarding her life story. Notably, she was twice forcibly quarantined by authorities (escaped once!) but eventually was kept isolated in her final 30 years of life, much to her dismay and protest.

Dr. Rachel Bechtold is an assistant professor of biology and environmental health and safety at Missouri Southern State University. Her teaching experience involves coursework in epidemiology, environmental health and safety, and disease vector control. Her research has been published in Natural Sciences Education, the Journal of Agricultural Education, and in Microbiology Resource Announcements. She earned her Ph.D. in environmental dynamics from the University of Arkansas in 2021. Prior to this, she was a co-editor for the Journal of Agricultural Education. Active in volunteering, she has served as a Rotary Ambassador to Japan, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon, and was active in community development through the AmeriCorps program. 


Ireland: A Country of Economic Success, Opportunity and Challenges

11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023 (Zoom presentation)

Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall

Teams Link: A Country of Economic Success, Opportunity and Challenges

Admission: free


Ireland is a small country on the periphery of Europe that punches above its weight in boasting a $1 trillion economic relationship with the United States. The country is one of the most pro-European and pro-American nations in the world and is buoyed by recording the fastest-growing economy in Europe over the last few years. The success of U.S. FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in Ireland is well told, but the story of Irish investment in the United States is exceeding all expectations. Surprisingly, Ireland is the ninth-largest source of inward FDI in the United States today! Finola Cunningham will provide a picture of the two-way trade and investment relationship from where she sits at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin.

Finola Cunningham is the senior commercial representative at the U.S. Commercial Service, United States Embassy in Dublin. The U.S. Commercial Service is an agency within the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Cunningham leads the Embassy’s trade and investment program that promotes American exports into Ireland and Europe, Irish foreign direct investment into the United States, and protects the business interests of U.S. companies in Ireland.

Cunningham is the recipient of numerous government and industry awards and holds a first-class honors master’s degree in international business from the Smurfit School of Business in Dublin and is a graduate of the Marketing Institute of Ireland.


Reading Ireland: An Evening of Irish Literature

6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023

Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall

Zoom Link: Reading Ireland

Admission: free


This evening of readings will highlight the richness of the Irish literary tradition, from ancient texts and oral tradition to the contemporary “new golden age of Irish fiction” (Max Liu, The Booker Prizes). Enjoy selections of prose, poetry, and drama presented by students and friends of the Missouri Southern chapter of the English honor society Sigma Tau Delta. Colm Tóibín, Laureate for Irish Fiction 2022-2024, writes in the introduction to The Art of Reading Book Club 2023, “Although reading is mainly done in silence and when alone, it includes a sense of community, an idea of sharing.” Share with us the pleasure of “Reading Ireland.”

Readings are in English. The illustration, Midnight at the National Library (2020), is by Annie West, designed for the National Library of Ireland.


“Ending The Troubles”: A Simulation About the Struggle to Mend a Divided Society

11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023

Spiva Library Room 413

Zoom Link: "Ending the Troubles"

Admission: free


Students in three MSSU courses this fall are participating in an exciting inter-disciplinary simulation designed to help them better understand the complex forces behind The Troubles in Northern Ireland. English, history, and honors students will spend the first half of the semester learning about the circumstances and resulting trauma that divided Northern Irish society. They will then come together in November to represent the position of different interest groups who gathered in Belfast in 1997 and 1998 to negotiate an end to the conflict.

You are invited to observe one of the final sessions of this simulation, where the chairs of the peace conference will present a draft of the final agreement. As spectators, you will watch as the different political factions respond to the proposed treaty. Be prepared to see impassioned debates about what it means to be “Irish,” protesters marching against British involvement on the island, and pleas from victims or their loved ones who lived through decades of fear and violence.

Will they come up with the same terms as those of the actual Good Friday Agreement? Will they negotiate a firmer settlement, and thus avoid some of the pitfalls we’ve witnessed in recent years since Brexit? Will they be able to reach an agreement at all, or will the peace negotiations fail? Join us to find out!


Why Export to Ireland?

10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023

Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall

Zoom Link: Why Export to England?

Admission: free


In 2020, Missouri businesses exported over $185 million worth of goods and services to Ireland, ranking Ireland the 13th largest export partner ( With a strong relationship between the United States and the European Union, Ireland is a country worth exploring for businesses looking to start or expand exports. Additionally, Missouri shares two Sister Cities with Ireland, and there more than 730,000 Missourians of Irish ancestry (American Community Survey, 2019). Learn more about the many opportunities and assistance available for any business interested in exploring international trade with Ireland.

The presenter is Brandon McDaniel, international trade specialist with the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s International Trade Office in St. Louis. Prior to that, he worked as a contract international security specialist in corporate, executive, and high threat international security operations. McDaniel is a military veteran who served the United States Marine Corps from 2005-15 in various international capacities. He attended the University of Missouri and possesses a B.S.B.A. in international business and economics and a B.A. in international studies with a Chinese minor. He interned as a market research analyst at the MU International Trade Center. He enjoys assisting Missouri companies in international trade and is fascinated by the economics of international trade.


An Evening with Colm Tóibín

7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023

(Book signings at 6:30 and immediately following)

Taylor Performing Arts Center

Zoom Link: An Evening with Colm Toibin

Admission: free


Irish novelist Colm Tóibín, author of Brooklyn, the story of a young Irish immigrant in Brooklyn in the 1950s, visits MSSU for a memorable evening. At least 15 classes and a book club at MSSU are reading Brooklyn during the Fall 2023 semester, in order to learn more about Irish culture, immigration to America in the 1950s, writing techniques, and a novel as an object of study and analysis. Even if you haven’t read Brooklyn, you can still come and enjoy Tóibín’s talk and his “warm and gregarious personality.” If you’d like to read it with a group, you are invited to join the Sigma Tau Delta book club (see entry for Oct. 26).

USA Today called the 2009 book, “One of those magically quiet novels that sneak up on readers and capture their imaginations.” Brooklyn was given the Costa Novel Award, while The Observer named it one of “The 10 best historical novels.” In 2019, the book was ranked 51st on The Guardian’s list of the 100 best books of the 21st century. Brooklyn was made into an Oscar-nominated film in 2015; it is being shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 in Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall at MSSU.

Colm Tóibín was born to a political family in Enniscorthy, a town south of Dublin, in 1955. In 1972, he enrolled in University College Dublin, majoring in history and literature and planning to become a civil servant. But, on a whim, he moved to Barcelona in 1975. Three years later, he tired of Barcelona and returned to Ireland. He began writing for In Dublin, the city’s equivalent of the Village Voice. Tóibín quickly became a good reporter, known for his tenacity and his stylish prose. Four years later, when he was 27, he was appointed the editor of Magill, a national political monthly. Soon after he started at Magill, Tóibín began using spare moments to experiment with fiction. He immediately saw that it was the right form for him. “In all our DNA, there’s one form that belongs to us,” he said, adding, “The novel is the only form where you can really work with what someone is thinking, and what they’re saying, and show the distance between those two things. And, in the Ireland I inhabited, that was a crucial part of my life.”

Colm Tóibín (pronounced “cuh-lem toe-bean”) is many things – not only a novelist, but also a short story writer, essayist, journalist, critic, playwright, and poet. He is the author of 10 novels, to date. His literary conversation with the world explores a number of significant themes: the nature of Irish society, living in exile, the legacy of Catholicism, the process of creativity, and the preservation of personal identity, especially when confronted by loss. Tóibín is the Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He lives in Ireland and the United States.


A Conversation with Irish Consul General Robert Hull

12 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023

Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall

Zoom Link

Admission: free

Consul-General-Robert-Hull.jpgRobert Hull, the Consul General of Ireland, will deliver a talk focusing on the three major anniversaries Ireland has been observing this year: 100 years since it joined the League of Nations, the 50th anniversary of its accession to what is now the European Union, and the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. This will be followed by Q&A, in which he will field wider questions.

Robert Hull was appointed as the Consul General of Ireland to the southern central United States in January 2022. Based in Austin, Texas, he leads Ireland’s team covering Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Hull joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2008 and has served in the Embassy of Ireland in Tanzania, the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and in Ireland’s Representative Office in Timor-Leste. He was also seconded for three years from 2013-2016 to the European External Action Service, serving in the Delegation of the European Union to the Multilateral Organizations in Vienna.

Prior to taking up his post in Austin, Hull served in the Department’s Political and Reconciliation Section, in the Ireland, U.K., and Americas Division. His role focused on engagement work in Northern Ireland. He has also previously held positions in the Department’s Political Division and Press Office.

Robert is from Belfast, and holds a Master of Arts (Hons.) in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and Africa Studies, University of London, and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in History from the University of Durham.


Book Club: Small Things Like These

6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023

Bookhouse Cinema, 715 E. Broadway

Admission: free

Pick up a copy of the book in Webster Hall 337 or Kuhn Hall 203 while supplies last (students only).


Small Things Like These, published in 2021, is an award-winning historical fiction novel by Claire Keegan, an Irish author known for her iconic short stories. Set in a small Irish town in 1985, the story follows Bill Furlong, a coal merchant, during the bustling weeks leading up to Christmas. While delivering to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery that compels him to confront his past and the silent complicity of a church-controlled town.

The book has received critical acclaim, with reviewers praising its moral storytelling, Keegan's powerful prose, and the depth of the characters. According to the Washington Post, “From the elements of this simple existence in an inconsequential town, Keegan has carved out a profoundly moving and universal story.... Small Things Like These reminds us that the real miracle in any season is courage.” This story won the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction in 2022 and was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Booker Prize.

Join Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society, as they bring this semester’s themed book clubs to a close with a wintery tale of bravery, love, and family.


“Always, Christmas brought out the best and the worst in people.”

― Claire Keegan, Small Things Like These