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Irish College of Minnesota

Coláiste na nGaedheal Minnesota

Instructors

John Davenport in the EML

John Davenport

Dr. John Davenport founded (in 1977), and cataloged a significant portion of,  the materials constituting the Department of Special Collections in the O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library at the University of St. Thomas.  He served as Head of Special Collections 1977-2000 (and Acting Director of Libraries at St. Thomas, 1989-1991).  The DSC houses the "Celtic Collection," of roughly 14,000 volumes, assembled from donations made since 1917 by (among others) the Ancient Order of Hibernians of Minnesota, the family of antiquarian Peter O'Connor (a prominent San Francisco businessman), and St. Thomas President Fr. James P. Shannon, who arranged for the acquisition of  the scholarly library of Eamonn O'Toole, professor of Irish at Trinity College, Dublin, when the latter died in 1956.  The Department also features the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Collection of Irish Poetry which includes much of the output of the Dolmen Press, the Cuala Press, and the Raven Arts Press; and a collection of early-twentieth century nationalist poetry.  Davenport taught courses in modern Irish and British history at St. Thomas and North Central University (Minneapolis), until his retirement in 2017.

Black and white portrait of Lavinia Finnerty.

Lavinia Finnerty

A native speaker from the Connemara Gaeltacht, Lavinia graduated from the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG). Lavinia has many years’ experience in teaching Irish in both Ireland and internationally. In Ireland she taught Irish in the Galway Community College to high school students and night classes for adult learners. Lavinia has worked at Coláiste Chamuis, a summer immersion language school for high school students in Connemara and she has taught the preparation classes for the Cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge exam, a requirement for elementary teachers who wished to teach in Ireland but who obtained their education abroad. Lavinia has provided private tutoring in Irish classes to both high school and university students in Ireland and internationally in Australia where she taught adult learners and more recently in the Bay Area, California. Whilst in California she also prepared learners for the Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge, a European Pass for Irish/Certificate in Proficiency, and taught transition Irish classes to a wide range of students who were returning home to the Irish Education system. Now Lavinia has found herself here among us in the Twin Cities and is keen to share her passion for the Irish language.
Profile shot of 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.

Natalie Fowler, portrait outdoors

Natalie Fowler

Once a practicing attorney, Natalie is now an author, freelance editor, a paranormal investigator and…a psychic medium. Natalie is a staff editor and a regular contributor to FATE Magazine, the longest-running print paranormal magazine featuring stories of the strange and unknown. Her literary works are represented by Red Sofa Literary. Natalie is a member of Ghost Stories Ink, a paranormal investigative group that teaches classes and workshops about how to find inspiration from notoriously haunted surroundings. The group has investigated properties from New York to Los Angeles and several places in-between. Natalie, a self-proclaimed research geek, serves as the group’s historian.

Portrait of Jacqueline Hesse.

Jacqueline Hesse

Jacqueline Hesse has an M.F.A. from Hamline University in children's and young adult literature. Her articles on craft have appeared in The Writermagazine, The Society For Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCWBI) BulletinThe Storyteller's Inkpot and others. She has led masters’ level writing workshops at Hamline and writes ghost stories for Lerner/ Darby Creek. Her middle grade and young adult novels are represented by Pippin in NY. She worked as a reading, writing, and literature tutor for Minneapolis public schools and taught English as an adjunct professor at Normandale Community College. This class is the fifth class she will have taught at the Celtic Junction.

Black and white portrait of Tom Jeffers.

Tom Jeffers

Tom is a native of Dublin, where he attended preschool, primary school and secondary school all through Irish Gaelic. Tom holds a bachelor's degree in history and Irish Gaelic from University College Dublin and a Higher Diploma in Translation and Editing from Maynooth University. He came to Minnesota in 2008 as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the University of St. Thomas. Since then, he has moved between Ireland and Minnesota, teaching, translating and editing. He currently works as an in-house editor for a digital media company in Minneapolis.

Patrick O'Donnell speaking at an event.

Dr. Patrick O'Donnell

Dr. Patrick O’Donnell, editor/contributing writer, is a full-time English faculty member at Normandale Community College. The founder/director of the Saint Paul Irish Arts Week (since 2016), a comprehensive ten-day program in April/May funded by the Irish Fair of Minnesota, 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. Most recently, he is the Phoenix Theatre’s founder/director.

Thomas Redshaw in Ireland.

Thomas Dillon Redshaw

Thomas Dillon Redshaw retired from the St. Thomas faculty in 2012.  Redshaw received his MA in Anglo-Irish literature from University College, Dublin, and a doctorate in English from New York University. Redshaw is a fellow of the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast. Before becoming the first editor of New Hibernia Review, Redshaw had a long association with the journal Éire-Ireland . Redshaw’s research and publications have focused on mid-century and contemporary Irish poetry, especially John Montague.  He is currently writing a book on the history of the Liam Miller’s Dolmen Press, an Irish fine press founded in 1951.

Lynette Reini-Grandell

Lynette Reini-Grandell

Dr. Reini-Grandell received her PhD in English literature from the University of Minnesota and is the author of Approaching the Gate, winner of the 2015 Northeastern Minnesota Book Award for Poetry, and the forthcoming Wild Verge. She researches world mythology and oral poetry traditions and has studied folksong at the Sommelo Ethno Music Festival in Kuhmo, Finland. An alum of the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference and the Sewanee Writers Conference, she has received grants for her work from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Finlandia Foundation. She is a professor of English at Normandale Community College.

Dave and Suzanne Rhees holding fiddle and flute.

David and Suzanne Rhees

Bundle & Go is the duo of David and Suzanne Rhees, whose mission is to explore the roots and branches of Celtic traditional music. They play an eclectic mix of Irish dance tunes, slow listening pieces, and unusual songs, with a generous sprinkling of tunes from related traditions -- Cape Breton, Welsh, Scottish, French-Canadian, Métis, Appalachian and more. Their instruments are equally diverse: Suzanne plays Irish flute, whistles and button accordion, while Dave plays fiddle, banjo, guitar, harmonica, ukulele and feet. Suzanne has played with accordion master Paddy O'Brien's group, O'Rourke's Feast, and Dave is a veteran of the band Roisin Dubh. They both were members of Contradictions, a contradance band, the Québécois band La Traversée. They are the founders of the longest-running session in the Twin Cities, at Keegan's Irish Pub.

Fred Stenborg

Frederic Stenborg

Fred is a lifelong scholar and mystical thinker. He has been a choir singer for 25 years and a performer for 13. He yearns to learn of Druids, banshees, and ancient Celtic migrations. His grandmother, Rose, gave him a love of the thin places...