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Montana Gael Irish Images

About Us

A Curragh Launched

from a Distant Island 

in Montana, USA

Why archive Irish images in Montana, USA?


Per capita and by historic origin, Butte, Montana, is the most Irish town in the United States of America -- a larger percentage of Butte residents claim Irish heritage than do those in Boston, New York, Baltimore, or San Francisco. 


A central part of the late 19th-century Irish Diaspora, Butte and other newsprung towns of Montana drew Irish miners, stockmen, farmers, merchants, and families from the time of the territory's founding in the 1860s. Butte has close links to the Beara Peninsula of West Cork; to Roscommon and Marcus Daly's hometown of Ballyjamesduff; and to greater Dublin and Galway with vibrant cultural ties to Irish trad music and dance as celebrated in Butte's famous An Rí Rá, held every August.


Why photographs? The Montana Gael project started with a collection of stereoviews and RPPCs by Montana-Irish writer/artist Noelle Sullivan in 2008. In the decade since, the archive has grown to 15,000+ images of Ireland and Irish people, with a small library of Irish photography books and maps also available for research.

Future plans include research residencies and a searchable digital images site.

What We Collect and Keep

Original Photographs

15,000+ Irish photographic images, including glass plate negatives, slides, albumen prints, platinotypes, stereoviews, RPPCs, snapshots and more.

Historic Documents & Maps

Letters, receipts, and historic documents from Ireland's past, along with a small collection of maps of Ireland ranging from the mid-17th century to the present.

Irish Art

Engravings, original paintings, and drawings from Irish history. Contemporary Irish art for research and sale with permission of artist.

Irish Ephemera

More than 5,000 Irish postcards listed on eBay, with other Irish paper ephemera such as tobacco labels, programs, lottery tickets, and flyers.

We Love Our Peers and Partners

We enjoy working with others who share our interests. 

Below are some of those whose projects we've aided and who have assisted with ours: 

Butte-Silver Bow Public Archive

John Cooper, Seattle, Washington USA

Friends of Irish Studies in the West 

Montana Gaelic Cultural Society

Montana Historical Society

Ken Mason, Beara Genealogy

Dervla Murphy Biography Project 

National Library of Ireland Photographic Archive

Old Ireland in Colour

PRONI - The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

Davoc Rynne, Miltown Malbay, Clare, Ireland

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