Fionnuala: an Irish Theatrical Production – Free Public Event

Award-winning Irish playwright and actor Donal O’Kelly will perform his play, Fionnuala, at the Hotel Alex Johnson in Rapid City, SD on October 17 as the keynote event of the American Conference for Irish Studies annual meeting. The play explores the consequences of the Shell Corrib drilling project in Ireland. It follows the character of Ambrose Keogh, a Shell employee who is magically confronted by the Irish mythical deity Fionnuala, who puts a spell on him. Bound to tell the truth about Shell’s operations, Ambrose meets his primary school classmate, Malachy Downes, an anti-pipeline activist, and echoes from the past resound. Approximately 1 hour in length.

The play will be followed by a roundtable discussion about Irish and American energy production and the preservation of indigenous lands and communities. Artists, scholars, and activists from South Dakota’s Native American communities will participate in the dialogue. The discussion will begin at 5:30 and will last approximately 1.5 hours.

Both events are free and open to the public. They are made possible by the generous support of the Allied Arts Fund, the Stanford Adelstein Grant, and the American Conference for Irish Studies. For more information, email

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Technology at ACIS-West

We will have a projector and laptop in each conference room. If you wish you show visual materials, please bring your materials on a flash drive. You may also connect your own laptop, but if you have a Mac, please bring your own VGA adapter (the projectors have VGA cables, which connect directly to PCs). Each room also has a sound system if you need audio. We will have some tech assistance from the hotel, but you are also encouraged to arrive early for your panel if you are using A/V in order to work out any technological issues.

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Conference Schedule

The 2015 conference schedule is now available for download here: acis-schedule-draft

Please send inquiries and report any errors to

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Alternate hotel for ACIS-West

The Hotel Alex Johnson is filling up quickly for our conference weekend. You can still call the hotel to ask if they have rooms available. The hotel will honor the group rate of $79/night for standard rooms only. This rate does not apply to suites.

Alternately, I have secured a group rate of $99/night at the Hotel Adoba a mere two blocks away. You need to book by September 24 to secure this rate. (Although it sounds higher, additional fees at Hotel Alex Johnson make this rate fairly comparable to the HAJ rate). The rate is for standard rooms and includes a full hot breakfast buffet. Please ask for the “Irish Studies” rate when you call. I think you will enjoy your stay at Hotel Adoba if you wind up there — it is a beautiful, newly refurbished hotel.

Please remember to register for the conference on this site (scroll down the home page). We look forward to meeting you all soon in Rapid City. As always, do not hesitate to direct questions to

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Preliminary Schedule for ACIS-West 2015

The preliminary schedule for ACIS-West is now available. Details are subject to change, but we do not anticipate any major revisions to the program. A full schedule, including panel information, is forthcoming.

To register for the conference and to learn more about travel and accommodations, return to and scroll down. Please direct inquiries to Sarah L. Townsend at


8:30-10 Panels 1A and 1B


10:10-11:40 Panels 2A and 2B


11:45-12:30 Featured Lecture, Myles Dungan, “Coercion and Conciliation on the Plains: The Life and Career of Thomas Fitzpatrick, Mountain Man and Indian Agent”


2:00-3:30 Panels 3A and 3B


3:40-5:10 Panels 4A and 4B


5:15 Plenary Lecture, David C. Lloyd, “Grace Under Fire: On Being Human in Time of Extremity”

6:15 Reception, featuring Myles Dungan’s “A Dodgy History of Ireland”


8:30-10 Panels 5A and 5B


10:10-11:40 Panels 6A and 6B


11:45-12:30 Featured Reading, Eamonn Wall


(12:30-2:00 Graduate Students Only: Lunch Panel, “Irish Studies and Graduate Professionalization,” Organized by Julia Obert)

2:00-3:30 Panels 7A and 7B

3:30-4:30 ACIS-West Business Meeting

4:30-5:30 Plenary Performance, Donal O’Kelly, Ailliliú Fionnuala

5:30-6:45 Roundtable Discussion, “Indigenous Communities and Environmental Harm: A Conversation about Irish and Native American Responses to Big Oil,” Featuring Donal O’Kelly, Charmaine White Face (Founder, Defenders of the Black Hills), Chas Jewett (Lakota activist), and Brian J. Twenter (University of South Dakota)

6:45 Reception and Award Ceremony

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Travel information for ACIS-West 2015

We look forward to welcoming you to Rapid City, “The Gateway to the Black Hills,” in October. All conference events will take place at the historic Hotel Alex Johnson, located at 523 6th St., Rapid City, SD 57701. Phone: 888-729-0708. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Rapid City amidst a variety of restaurants, shops, art and music venues, and nightlife. To register for the conference, return to and scroll down.

Rapid City can be reached by car or the Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP) (

Several car rental companies operate out of the airport if you wish to rent a vehicle. However, due to the conference venue’s central location, you will be very comfortable navigating by foot. Taxis and shuttles can bring you the short six miles from the airport to downtown Rapid City. In addition, the Hotel Alex Johnson provides free transportation for its overnight guests to and from the airport; for details, call the hotel front desk.

The Hotel Alex Johnson ( is offering ACIS-West conference participants a special group rate of $79/night for standard rooms plus taxes and fees (total price is closer to $97/night). The hotel has reserved a block of rooms for ACIS-West, so book early. Once the block of rooms has been reserved, the hotel will continue to honor the group rate, but availability is not guaranteed. To book a room at the group rate, call 888-729-0708. Unfortunately, you cannot book online if you wish to receive the special group rate. If you wish to stay elsewhere, many other hotels are located in or near downtown Rapid City.

We also invite you to take advantage of Rapid City’s many nearby attractions, including Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, the historic Black Hills 1880 Train, the city of Deadwood, the Badlands National Park, the Devil’s Tower, and more. Below are several links to help you begin exploring Rapid City and the greater Black Hills area. If you have further questions about travel and accommodations, please email Sarah Townsend at

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Registration for ACIS-W 2015 is Now Open!

Hello all,

Registration for October’s conference is now open. Rates are as follows. There is no additional charge for the banquet. As the banquet will be a buffet, featuring a range of options, you need not indicate your meal preferences.

Click on the appropriate button below to register via PayPal.

Faculty/Staff $150.00:

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Student $100.00:

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Guest (must accompany Faculty/Staff or Student registration) $50.00:

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(Note: after paying, you will receive a receipt from PayPal via e-mail. You can also print a receipt directly after registering.)

ACIS-Western Regional does not require a special membership fee; however, all conference participants must be members of the national ACIS organization.

If you have any questions about registration, or if you would like to register by sending a check, please contact Dr. Caleb Richardson at

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