August 15-18, 2019

August 15-18, 2019

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Cultural Village

2018 Highlights:


Cultural Pavilion

  • The Bogside Artists: In 1993, Tom Kelly, his brother William and their friend Kevin Hasson, from the city of Derry, began to paint murals, recording the history of the city durnig The Troubles that started in 1969. William passed about a year ago, but Tom Kelly and Kevin Hasson will be in Milwaukee with a dislpay about their art.
  • The Irish Horse: There are many breeds of Irish horses, and we will be exploring their common ancestor, the Irish Hobby Horse. From this breed, now extinct, came the Kerry Mine Pony, the Connemara Pony and the Irish Draught Horse. Learn more about these and other breeds in the pavilion.
  • Shergar - The Most Amazing Horse: One of the most exciting and amazing horses ever was Shergar. Born and bred in Ireland, he was owned by Aga Khan. He was considered to be the fastest horse in the world. Then he was kidnapped and disppeared. 
  • The Irish American Hall of Fame: The IAHOF returns to the festival with new inductees for 2018
  • Blessed Solanus Casey: Solanus Casey was a Capuchin priest who was ordained in Milwaukee. He is the first American male to be considered for sainthood, and was beatified in his longtime home of Detroit in November 2017.
  • The Irish Wake House: The Wake House was so popular last year, we will reprise it for 2018. Learn the customs and the games associated with this pre-Christian tradition of passing over to the next life.
  • Five Irish Americans Walked into a Milwaukee Hotel and Came Out with the American League: The Killea Brothers, from Milwaukee, Charles Comiskey, who lived in Milwaukee and Connie Mack, who managed the minor-league Milwaukee Brewers, and baseball innovator Ted Sullivan were joined by Western Leage owner Ban Johnson at the Republican Hotel in Milwaukee in 1900 to found baseball's American League.
  • The Irish in World War One: Almost ten percent of the Irish population was engaged in the war effort in WWI, in service to the British crown. 1918 marks the 100th anniversary of the last chapter of the war for the Irish.
  • The Americans in The Great War: Many Irish-Americans fought for the USA in Europe. Discover why and the ramifications of their actions.
  • Irish Archaeology: Queens University Belfast archaeologists Eileen Murphy and Colm Donnelly return with a new display on the archaeology of Ireland.
  • The Uilleann Pipes: Ireland's Heritage Instrument. In December 2017, the uilleann pipes were recognized by Unesco as an important symbol of Ireland's heritage. The musical instrument has been added to the organization's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Pipe maker and piper Tim Britton will have a display on the pipes and will have a demonstration area where you can see how the pipes were made and played. 
  • The Irish in Latin America: This acclaimed display developed by the Irish government has traveled across the America, both North and South. It highlights the Irish who had an impact on the history and culture of so many different lands, from Argentina to Bolivia to Mexico. 
  • The Irish Stone Wall: Dominic Keogh is a stone mason from Ireland. He will 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.
  • The Volta FIlm Theatre will showcase a variety of stories this year. Anam na Amhráin is a series that was produced by the Cartoon Saloon for TG4, and features a series of 12 animated songs in new interpretations, such as Bróg, Tá Dhá Ghabhairín Bhuí Agam and Óro Sé do Bheatha Abhaile. All songs are produced by Iarla O’Lionard and Kieran Lynch. Another Cartoon Saloon film, the Irish language Song of the Sea, will also be shown. They will be a part of the Bliann na Gaeilge celebration at the festival.  The TG4 movie, Poc na Gael, talks of the historic connections of hurling and hockey, and its founding in Nova Scotia. Additional films include: The Ballad of the Irish Horse; Ireland Celtic Myths and Splendors; The Secret of the Kells and Shergar. Films that are a part of the Nova Scotia showcase include: Going' Down the Road and Shattered City - The Halifax Explosion.

  • Celtic Myths: A display by Elise Picard

Theatre Pavilion

The Theatre Pavillion offers some of the best Irish plays written by Irish playwrights and performed by Irish (and honorary Irish) players. This year's pavilion will feature two plays performed by Milwaukee Irish Arts - The Good Father and A Couple of Blaguards. The UWM Celtic Studies program will present poetry, prose and songs of Women in Ireland and author Sile Post will provide a dramatic reading of her novel, Come Away - to Your Own Ones. Click here to read play synopses and program reading synopses.

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 lectures and panels covering a variety of cultural topics from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening. 

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

2018 Featured Authors: 

  • John McAllister from Northern Ireland has written The Station Sergeant about police officer John Barlow, a wonderful character whom John has expanded in Barlow by the Book and Barlow Laid Bare.
  • Rex Owens will be returning with the second and third books of his trilogy. Out of Darkness further explores the world of Ian Murphy, protagonist of Owens' first book Murphy's Troubles. College professor Murphy travels a world of relationships new and old, family, love and the IRA. The trilogy concludes the saga of Ian Murphy with Dead Reckoning
  • New to the literary corner this year will be Sinead Tyrone with her first novel, Walking Through the Mist. Young Aidan O'Connell is on tour with his band, Macready's Bridge, when tragedy strikes and must return home to Derry and deal with the new chaos in his life. In her second book, Crossing the Lough Between, Tyrone follows the other band mates through multiple challenges that test their relationships and the band's ultimate survival. 
  • Returning with the second installment of his memoir of growing up in a remote corner of county Donegal is John Sexton. An Irish Yank's Son will no doubt sell out as quickly as The Big Yank did in 2017. Sexton prooved to be a Literary Corner favorite. 
  • Established author but new to the Literary corner, Carlene O'Connor, will join us this year. Her first book, Murder in an Irish Village, has appeared on distinguished literary bestseller lists such as USA Today, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. O'Connor has followed Irish Village with Murder at an Irish Wedding and Murder in an Irish Churchyard; all three will delight lovers of mysteries set in Ireland. 
  • A former college associate professor, Sile (Sheila) Post, has crafted a winning novel based on her passion for conservation and for exploring her own Gaelic roots in Prince Edward Island, Vermont, Chicago and Ireland. Beautifully written, her novel Your Own Ones, finds heroine Aine O'Connor exploring her own roots on the Dingle Peninsula and becoming immersed in the struggle to preserve the wild Atlantic salmon while facing new relationships. 

*Credit/Debit cards accepted (Master Card, Visa, American Express & Discover)

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.

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 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. This year, Niall Comer, president of Conradh na Gaeilge (The Gaelic League) in Ireland, will attend Irish Fest. In addition to presenting certificates of achievement to volunteers from the Midwest who promote the study of Irish (Gaeltacht tent: 1 PM, Sunday), Mr. Comer will give a lecture at the Hedge School (2 PM, Sunday) and host informational discussions about the Irish Language in the Workshop tent (days/time TBD).


We welcome you to stop in for a quick peek or an in depth consultation about your Irish roots.  Dwight Radford of Salt lake City returns as our guest expert genealogist, and 30 other genealogy buffs from all over Wisconsin are ready to help you get started or get unstuck in your genealogy research.  New this year in the popular surname area are walkup kiosks featuring John Grenham’s portal to a wealth of information about Irish names and places and 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 all about the place. Our DNA area is expanding along with interest in this hot topic.  There will be displays showing the Irish language roots of both surnames and places, and other displays and handouts about steps and resources for Irish genealogy. 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 Irish American Entertainment Hall of History is the 2018 featured exhibit for the Ward Irish Music Archives. The exhibit features over 150 Irish Americans who have had a significant impact on the American entertainment industry. From vaudeville, radio, television, and film stars to recording artists and entertainers such as Bing Cosby, Jackie Gleason, Eddie Foy, Merv Griffin and Conan O'Brien, tour-goers will experience an unprecedented collection.

Ward Irish Music Archives Irish American Hall of History Exhibit


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
  • Jameson
  • 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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