August 13-16, 2020

August 13-16, 2020

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Cultural Village

2019 Highlights


Cultural Pavilion

  • Galway Historic Maps exhibition: These maps are part of the Royal Irish Academy's Irish Historic Towns Atlas series. Author Paul Walsh and Jennifer Moore from the RIA will be available to offer further insight
  • Maps of Connemara: On loan from the National University of Ireland, Galway, an exhibition of hand-drawn maps and folklore by artist and author Tim Robinson
  • Joan Finnegan: Joan Finnegan, an Irish painter will showcase her artwork
  • Irish Archaeology: Queens University Belfast archaeologists return with a new display on the archaeology of Ireland.
  • Irish Stone Carving: Dominic Keogh is a stone mason from Ireland. He will return to demonstrate stone carving and how to create an Irish stone wall.
  • Meet representatives from the Shamrock Club, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Friends of St. Patrick Centre of Downpatrick, NI, the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center of Wisconsin, and the St. Andrew’s Society of Milwaukee.

Theatre Pavilion

The Theatre Pavillion offers some of the best Irish plays written by Irish playwrights and performed by Irish (and honorary Irish) players. 

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. 

Hedge School

The Hedge School offers a series of informal lectures covering a variety of Irish cultural topics, such as Irish and Irish American literature, food, culture, history, archaeology, geography, and music. On Saturday, we welcome Ciaran Cannon, Teachta Dala, who will discuss new initiatives to connect the Irish diaspora to Ireland. Further presentations feature Kim Robertson, who will share her extensive knowledge of the mythology surrounding the Irish harp and Wade Mahon (UWSP), who will present a virtual tour of eighteenth-century Dublin. With the American Geographical Society Library (UWM), we will also be launching a new book published by the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, on Renaissance Galway; author Paul Walsh will join us for a talk and book signing on Sunday.

Click here to view schedule and descriptions

Moore Street Market

The Moore Street Market concentrates on Irish/Celtic artisans. Come and meet the artists and shop your way through the market. It is located on the South end of the festival grounds in our Cultural Village, just south of the South gate. 

Poetry Contest

Milwaukee Irish Fest offers two poetry prizes annually; each award is $100. Winnders will be announced at Irish Fest during the poetry events on Sunday afternoon, August 19, in the Hedge School in the Cultural Village on the south end of the grounds. After the lectures are completed in the Hedge School, the area is opened to the Poetry contest and the Poetry jam. Click here for instructions on how to submit poems to the festival. 

Literary Corner

This year's featured authors include: Paul Timm, who wrote a novel about the sinking of the Lady Elgin in 1860 called, Lost Lady: The Lady Elgin Tragedy; Clare O'Donohue with her two latest novels, Beyond the Pale and Breaking the Dance, which are a part of her new series; Author Roger Higgins, who wrote a fictional adventure series following an Irish emigrant, Billy Gogan; Sarah Carlson with her novel All the Walls of Belfast, which navigates the intricacies of relationships between a family in Northern Ireland; Carl Baehr, with his verison of the history of the Irish in Milwaukee; Terence O'Leary, who will bring his novels of Irish immigrant stories and family; and Margaret Hickey, with her book about the evolution of food culture all over Ireland.

Click here to view the schedule and descriptions

Meehan Boat House

The Meehan Boat House displays Currach's for fest-goers to see. Learn about the history of Currachs and sign up to join the Irish Currach Club of Milwaukee. This year's exhibit will feature the famous Galway Hooker sailboats, brought to you by the Milwaukee Currach Club and the Galway City Museum. There will be a model of the hooker built by Peter Mulkerrin (master boat builder), as well as a large scale display of the hooker sails.

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! 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!


The Irish Language Workshop 

The Irish Language Workshop provides resources and materials for anyone interested in the Irish Language (Gaeilge). Grammars, dictionaries, DVDs, books and CDs for learning Irish are available. Also in stock are novels, poetry, biographies, memories, children's books and miscellaneous literature, much of it in Gaeilge with some bilingual and English editions. Dr. Brian O Conchubhair and Dr. Tara MacLeod, professors from Notre Dame University will speak in this year's Gaeltacht tent.



We welcome you to stop in for a quick peek or an in depth consultation about your Irish roots.  Our featured genealogist will be Fiona Fitzsimons from Trinity College, director of the Family History Centre at EPIC in Dublin. Also available for consultation will be guests from Boston and Minnesota Irish Genealogy societies here to present information on the upcoming 2020 Celtic Connections Irish genealogy conference in Chicago. Together with many local genealogists, we are ready to assist you in your genealogy research whether you are just getting started or are stymied by a ‘brick wall;..

If you prefer to explore Irish records on your own, discover resources beyond what you have found on  Last year’s very popular walkup kiosks will again feature John Grenham’s portal to a wealth of information about Irish names and places, as well as access to records at FindMyPast.   Type in your surname to learn where that name is found in Ireland and more. Or enter your ancestral home to learn about that area and its records. If you are lucky enough to know both a name and a place, see the Irish paper trail that person left behind – anything from a dog license to a baptismal record!   

Don’t miss our free door prize offerings from DNA tests to research hours to subscriptions (JohnGrenham,com,, and FindMyPast). Our DNA area is expanding along with interest in this hot topic. The Civil War contingent will again offer help with military records. The Irish immigrant portrait gallery returns, along with the children’s area where you can get your Paddy passport stamped and create a tree for a photo op. As you leave, be sure to stop at “What’s Next” to plan your next steps: scan a website link or take home information about the many resources and organizations, local and Irish, available to help you in your genealogical journey. 


Ward Irish Music Archives

The History of Irish Rock Music exhibit examines through displays and artifacts the development of rock music in Ireland.



Cultural Village

"Casey at the Bat" Irish in Baseball Exhibit

  • Aer Lingus Milwaukee Irish Fest Sponsor
  • Arena Americas at Milwaukee Irish Fest
  • Catholic Financial Life
  • CiderBoys Milwaukee Irish Fest Sponsor
  • Epic Creative Milwaukee Irish Fest Sponsor
  • Five Farms Irish Cream
  • Habush Habush Rottier
  • Jameson
  • Fill Your Heart with Ireland - Milwaukee Irish Fest Sponsor
  • Lakefront Brewery
  • Miller Lite
  • Northwoods Web Solutions
  • Potowatomi
  • Sprecher



  • Center: 1532 N. Wauwatosa Ave, Milwaukee
  • Festival Grounds: Henry Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee
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