Instructors / TeagascĂłirĂ­

Julia Carey, CJAC instructor

Julia Carey

Julia Carey is a Guildhall School graduate who began her career in theater and television in the United Kingdom. Her television work in the UK included notable series such as Wings, A Bunch of Fives, Enemy at the Door, Within These Walls, and General Hospital. In the 1980s, she served as the Artistic Director for the highly acclaimed Twin Cities Theatre Exchange.

Throughout her career, Julia has also been involved in teaching at various universities in the USA, including the University of Minnesota and New York University. Currently, she holds the position of Fellow at the University of Surrey in the UK. Julia's international involvement extends to producing, directing, and coaching acting, showcasing her enduring commitment to the performing arts.

Instructor Matt Doyle

Matt Doyle

After more than fifty years in communications in both religious and secular venues, he is turning to his avocation. As a collector of literature by Catholic writers (largely Irish), he has a deep appreciation for the connection between the word and The Word. He holds an MA in Pastoral Theology, is a lifelong Catholic, and the grandson of four Irish immigrants.
Instructor Dean Farrell

Dean Farrell

Dean Farrell is from Dublin, Ireland, and holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from University College
Dublin. He has taught Irish in Dublin, at St Thomas University in Fredericton, Canada, and at various
workshops across Canada. He has presented his research at conferences in Ireland, Europe, and North
America. Dean has recently published an article in the Antigonish Review and has some more scholarly
articles forthcoming. He is currently a Ph.D. student in his second year at Concordia University, in
Montreal Canada, where he has received Concordia’s International Award of Excellence and an Irish
Studies Graduate Award. His research focus is Irish language literature.
Instructor Carrie Finnigan

Carrie Finnigan

Carrie Finnigan uses a playful approach in painting, printmaking and drawing of abstracted representations of human figures and nature. Growing up in close proximity to forests and water, she developed an affinity with the outdoors and was fascinated by the human - natural environment conflict. This youthful interest was formally developed in a B.A. in Fine Art and a B.S. in Art Education. She delved into artistic practice, honing her preference for using color and line to express emotion.  In each of her works a portion is purposefully left undone to “let the light in.”  This engages the imagination of the viewer, providing an opportunity for pause, realization, and a reflection of self.

Instructor Steven Griffith

Steven Griffith

Steven Griffith taught in the theatre and dance department at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter,
Minnesota for 27 years. For many of those years, Steve was chair of the department. While at Gustavus,
he taught courses in Irish theatre and history, theatre design, stagecraft, and arts management. Steve
has designed for over 150 theatre productions. He lived in Dublin in the early 1990s while doing
research on the Abbey Theatre. Steve has led 10 college study abroad tours to Ireland and visited the
island many more times. He has a BA and MFA in theatre, and a Ph.D. in higher education policy. From
2006 to 2016 Steve served as Senior Vice President and Academic Dean at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa.
CJAC instructor Brian Kelley

Brian Kelley

Brian Kelley is a seasoned design instructor with more than 17 years of designing and building creative career exploration programs for youth in the Twin Cities and more than 30 years in the design/build trades. He has established an entrepreneurship curriculum for youth to explore running a small business and has been able to host camps focused on entrepreneurship. Through working with organizations throughout the Twin Cities as well as both the Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul he has been able to provide opportunities for youth to learn about design from a vantage point of a designer of color. His work also spans to a long time partnership with Dr. Abimbola Asojo, FAIA through a Design summer camp held each year with the University of Minnesota. A partnership with the LEGO(R) Store in the Mall of America has hosted a display of architectural models created by youth. He is committed to seeing youth develop an understanding of the opportunities in the design/build trades as well as entrepreneurship.
Instructor Jane Kennedy

Jane Kennedy

Jane Kennedy is an Irish historian who hails from St. Paul. She has taught a variety of history courses at Celtic Junction on topics that include Irish emigration during the famine of 1879, Irish “convicts” who were banished to Australia, and Irish famines in art. Jane’s November course is titled, “Fire in Their Bellies – and Little Else,” about Irish women hunger strikers. She enjoys sharing her research and has given presentations locally, nationally, and in Ireland (via videoconferencing). Jane’s Irish family resided in Co. Mayo and fled the famine in the late nineteenth century. Jane relishes meeting other descendants who left the country in search of a home in the U.S.
Gemma Lambe is a CJAC teacher in Irish

Gemma Lambe

Gemma Lambe hails from Dublin, Ireland, and holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from University College Dublin in Modern Irish Language and Linguistics. Since completing her studies, she has taught both Irish and English in Dublin, Montreal, and at several Irish language workshops in Ontario and Quebec. In 2019, Gemma was awarded a scholarship from the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF) which led her to Canada to teach Irish language and Culture in the Department of Irish Studies at Concordia University in Montreal. She is also the co-founder of the informal Irish language learners meet-up Caifé Gaelach in association with The Department of Irish Studies, Concordia University.

Instructor Tim Madigan

Tim Madigan

Tim Madigan has taught for several years with the Cannon Valley Elder Collegium in Northfield and was an adjunct instructor at MSU Mankato Urban Studies Institute. His professional career was in the city management field and secondary education. He has had a lifelong interest in Irish history.

Instructor Jeanine Malec

Jeanine Malec

Jeanine Malec has been an active participant in the Twin Cities art community for over 20 years. She works under the moniker Nest & Tessellate to create contemporary folk art informed by Norwegian, Irish and Croatian roots. Her practice explores material culture and pattern languages derived from the intersection of folklore and landscape. She attended the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul, holds an MFA in Ecological Architecture from Vesper College and currently teaches knotwork at Celtic Junction and Norway House.

Gathering evidence from around the Midwest and beyond; Jeanine hopes to draw parallels between diverse sources, identify shared meanings and with help from collaborators, develop new visual lexicons reflective of current cultural needs. Engaging with ancestral art forms, reimagining traditional folk charms and building relationships within community around these interests, the goal of this work is to create a magical folk art for our time.

Instructor Mary McCormick

Mary McCormick

Mary McCormick teaches the Irish Novel at Celtic Junction, including past classes on novels by Colum McCann, Edna O’Brien, Maria Edgeworth, and Sally Rooney. She writes articles on these novels for the CJAC Arts Review.  She has lived in England and toured Ireland three times, and has taken writing classes for the past ten years.  Mary spent her career in international business law, including as Asia Pacific Counsel for Honeywell, Inc. and as International Counsel for Cray Research, Inc.  She was an international arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.  She taught International Contracts at the University of Minnesota Law School, and Legal Aspects of International Business at Metropolitan State University. 

Sheila Mullen holding a camera

Shelagh Mullen

Shelagh Geraghty Mullen is passionate about Ireland, everything about it. She has traveled to that glorious country numerous times, her last trip being for a culinary program at the Dublin Cookery School. Upon her return, she now fancies herself the Irish Chef of Minnesota. Shelagh holds cooking classes in her home kitchen and teaches private/corporate events and cooking demonstrations at Irish Fair Minnesota. Shelagh’s goal is to debunk the myths about Irish food. It is not all fish n’ chips or boiled meals (although still a common occurrence). The surrounding sea, the lush, green land, and a long growing season provide products in abundance. There has been a real Renaissance in Irish food and cooking, and Shelagh wants to share it all with you.

Patrick O'Donnell, Director of Education

Dr. Patrick O'Donnell

Dr. Patrick O’Donnell, editor/contributing writer, is a full-time English faculty member at Normandale Community College. The founder of the Saint Paul Irish Arts Week (since 2016), a comprehensive ten-day program in April/May, he is primarily Director of Education at Celtic Junction Arts Center where he coordinates classes and also teaches American, British, and Irish Gothic tales, Irish-American short stories, Irish literature, literary history, and mythology. He co-edited the eighteen-author anthology, The Harp and the Loon: Literary Bridges between Ireland and Minnesota.

Instructor Otto Paier

Otto Anthony Paier Jr.

A native of Massachusetts, Otto has a life-long interest in architecture. His childhood hero was Frank Lloyd Wright and his favorite childhood toy was his large collection of American Bricks building blocks. After obtaining a degree in Architectural Engineering from Wentworth College in Boston, he then attended the University of Miami where he enrolled in “every architectural history course offered by the university” and received his professional degree in architecture (BArch). Otto then went on to earn an MA in Educational Leadership from Barry University.

In addition to researching architectural history, traveling, gardening, and painting, Otto's other passion is genealogy. Otto is pleased to be able to share his passion for Architectural History with others at the Irish College of Minnesota.

Black and white image of Ryan Quinn, a CJAC instructor

Ryan Quinn

Ryan Quinn is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, holding a Bachelor's degree in English Literature and Cultural Studies. While currently working in the field of logistics, Ryan enjoys his studies as an independent scholar into realms of literature such as fantasy, folklore, and myth, paying particular attention to how these stories remain relevant today. Coming from an Irish family background he is interested in the influence Irish and other Celtic stories have had on modern literature. This will be his first teaching opportunity, and he hopes to continue on this path by attending graduate school in the near future.