August 18-21, 2016

August 18-21, 2016

Cultural Village

Milwaukee Irish Fest Cultural Village

Immerse yourself in Irish art, literature, history, sports and theatre in the recently redesigned Cultural Village. Hear lectures at the Hedge School, hear the beautiful sounds of Ireland's national symbol at the Harp Stage, see international productions at the Theatre Pavillion, shop the artisans at the Moore Street Marke, meet your favorite authors at the Literary Corner, or stop at the Village Pub, where you can experience a diverse cross-section of music before you visit the rest of the festival.

Cultural Exhibits Pavilion

Take an Irish journey in culture and time at Milwaukee Irish Fest 2015!

  • Celebrate W.B. Yeats' 150th birthday.
  • Travel to the Puck Fair of Kilorglin, County Kerry, and help crown the King of the Puck Fair.
  • Enjoy Irish-themed quilts of Penny Barnes and Nikki Foley in an internationally developed show - These quilts were recently displayed in Ireland at the Blasket Centre, County Kerry!
  • Look at the continuing action of the Irish in World War One - 1915 and discover the Irish view of World War One in the words of Irish writers from the time.
  • Find out the roles of the Cumann na mBan and the Inghinidhe na hÉireann in both political and social actions in The Women of Ireland.
  • Learn about the events that led from 1915 to the Rising in 1916.
  • View the 1916-2016 Irish Postcards - Destruction of Dublin display, put together by the Ward Irish Music Archives.
  • Meet Niamh Hamill and John O'Connell from the Institute of Study Abroad Ireland.
  • Jim Shannon, MP, Westminster, representing Strangford, County Down, returns.
  • Dr. Tim Campbell and the St. Patrick Centre of Downpatrick, NI, and the Friends of St. Patrick Centre will let you know about the works of the groups and the Centre.
  • Meet representatives from the Shamrock Club, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center of Wisconsin, and the St. Andrew’s Society of Milwaukee.
  • Watch a variety of Irish and Irish-themed films in the Volta theatre.

Gaeltacht - Sponsored by Shamrock Club

Steeped in tradition, brimming with talent and sweetened with native speakers, the Gaeltacht line-up is sure to hit the spot. The Gaeltacht, or Irish speaking area, will showcase the Irish language and traditional Irish culture. You can learn simple Irish phrases or challenge yourself with some flirty chat-up lines! Don't miss the sean-nos, or "old style," dance lessons, or the amazing performances by Ireland's Oireachtas Winners. You can stop in any time and enjoy traditional Irish humor, song, dance and language. The Gaeltacht is where the Irish go to feel at home. Click here to see the full Gaeltacht schedule.

Harp Stage

The Harp Stage is the place to hear the music of the harp, the only musical instrument to be the symbol of a country. The mix of music marries the ancient to the modern, in an often electric manner, with some of the best harpers in the world. In 2015, we will feature Dennis Doyle, Kim Robertston, Shari Sarazin and Drowsy Maggies. Click here to see the full Harp Stage schedule.

Hedge School

The Hedge School will offer a series of lectures by leading authorities in Irish history, literature, language and culture. In 2015, lecturers include Mary Pat Kelly, Niamh Hamill, Jim Shannon, M.P., Dennis Doyle, Marguerite Helmers, Julianne Donlon Stanz and several others. Click here to see the full Hedge School schedule.

Theatre Pavillion

The Theatre Pavillion offers some of the best Irish plays written by Irish playwrights and performed by Irish (and honorary Irish) players. Be sure to join us this year as we rattle your funny bones and tug at your heartstrings! View the entire Theatre Pavillion schedule and play synopses by clicking here.

In 2015, the Theatre Pavillion returns with a few favorites. Appearing this year:

  • The original Milwaukee Irish Arts duo in Forgive Me, Father.
  • The capable, entertaining and delightful Milwaukee Irish Arts cast of Thirst.
  • The fabulous Chicago area trio Wildflower, who have become Festival favorites with their original short pieces.
  • The inimitable "show-of-shows," Sister B's Bingo Bonanza.

Two very modern plays by Irish playwrights highlighting challenging topics and issues of our times will also be presented:

  • Moment by Diedre Kinahan - Irish premier at Soulsice Arts Centre, County Meath, November 2009.
  • Little Gem by Elaine Murphy - Irish premier at Dublin Fringe Festival, 2008.

Literary Corner

Authors featured in 2015:

The Literary Corner is sponsored by The Little Read Book in Wauwatosa. Come in and meet the authors who will be selling and signing their books, and browse the many books offered for your reading pleasure. Irish Books and Music (IBAM) from Chicago and Rainbow Books for Children will be present. Entry forms for the Limerick Contest are also available here. Completed forms for the children's Leprechaun Contest may be dropped off at Rainbow Books.

Ward Irish Music Archives

The Ward Irish Music Archives will present an exciting new exhibition featuring a selection of 20th century travel and tourism posters, titled "Come Back to Erin." The photo contest will also be held in the Archives Gallery.

Irish Language Workshop (Ceardlann na Gaeilge)

New in 2015: Irish Language Lessons for Kids! Children ages 6-13 can join the fun and learn something new, free of charge! Irish language books, games, DVDs and CDs for adults and children are for sale, plus games to play and Irish speakers to help learners practice the language. Lou Harper Memorial Scholarship applications are available. Some translating possible. Failte Romhat!


Enjoy exhibits showcasing local history resources and Irish research findings. Discover your family surname history, find townlands and start your family tree on Work with our genealogists online, check out military records and Civil War resources, view our Faces of Ireland photo exhibit and see detailed maps of Ireland, Scotland and Canada. This year's featured genealogist is's Kyle J. Betit, recently featured on Who Do You Think You Are. You never know what you might find!

Moore Street Market

Meet the artists and enjoy shopping in Moore Street! Donegal is well represented by Donal Sweeney of Rathlin Knits, Tristan Donaghy of Studio Donegal, and knitwear designer Edel MacBride from Knitfield in Donegal. New this year and also from Donegal, is Suzanne Woods from Arroo Designs with her beautiful and unique textile accessories. Vincent McCarron from the Aran Islands makes and sells handmade baskets. Find beautiful shard jewelry by Liam Hughes, and handmade soaps by Justin of Nature and Nurture. Plus, taste authentic Irish recipes served up by Galway Bakers.

Volta Theatre

In 2015, the Volta Theatre will feature several films, including The Emerald Diamond, In the Footsteps of St. Patrick, A Terrible Beauty, Scellig and Bermuda - A Last Refuge, The Burren - A Place of Stone, and Torches of Erin.

Meehan Boat House

The Meehan Boat House displays Currach's for fest goers to see. We will be building a new boat during the 2015 Festival, so stop by during construction! Learn about the history of Currachs and sign up to join the Irish Currach Club of Milwaukee.

Waltons Music Shop

Looking for a bodhran, music books or other instruments? Waltons is back! Learn how to play the bodhran at the Celtic Groove School: Friday 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday 1 to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday noon to 8 p.m.

Cultural Village

"Casey at the Bat" Irish in Baseball Exhibit