Four-day celebration of Irish culture in Wisconsin a massive carnival of craic and ceoil

“Live and Legendary,” as the festival’s own tag line put it, the 37th Milwaukee Irish Fest was a massive success including an opening performance by Gaelic Storm, a showcase of talent from TradFest Temple Bar, renowned international chefs and much more over the four days of culture, craic and ceoil (fun and music).

Milwaukee Irish Fest is the world’s largest celebration of Celtic music and culture. The four-day festival showcases more than 100 acts on 17 stages at Henry W. Maier Festival Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront. The annual celebration of all things Irish is proudly presented by CelticMKE, a non-profit organization dedicated to igniting a love of Celtic culture in all people. With the help of more than 4,000 volunteers, CelticMKE and Milwaukee Irish Fest promote Celtic music, dance, drama, sports, culture, children’s activities and genealogy through the annual festival, as well as through year-round programming.

This year’s highlights included:

Big shows!

Milwaukee Irish Fest welcomed Dublin’s world-renowned TradFest Temple Bar for its very first engagement on U.S. soil.

Created in collaboration with the Dublin City Council, the TradFest Dublin Showcase featured artists who have previously appeared at TradFest Temple Bar. The show included talents such as Aoife Scott, Goitse, Frankie Gavin, The Maguires, Dermot & Flo, The Young Folk, Paddy Keenan and Cúig.

Other shows of note were the opening performance by Gaelic Storm and The Beatles – Celtic Style starring We Banjo 3, Skerryvore, and friends.


Northern Ireland author Tony Macaulay launched the American publication of his memoir, "Little House on the Peace Line," at Milwaukee Irish Fest. Macaulay also appeared in the Hedge School to discuss the work he and his wife do to facilitate reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

Food and drink

Failte Ireland Food Ambassador, chef Pádraic Óg Gallagher of Boxty House, Temple Bar, Dublin shared lively Irish stories, delicious food and recipes in the Celtic Kitchen.

New to the festival, Mulligan's Irish Pub offered guests award-winning Irish lamb stew, Reuben quesadillas and an Irish banger sandwich.

And two new whiskeys, the Yellow Spot and Green Spot, made their Milwaukee Irish Fest debut at The Jameson Lounge.

In addition to the newest food and drinks at the festival, there was, as always, classic Irish fare that really hit the spot. Festival-goers had the chance to sample traditional Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and a festival favorite, Gilles Jameson Frozen Custard.


Milwaukee Irish Fest welcomed 15 new acts in 2017, including contemporary talents like The Young Folk, Hermitage Green and Brave Giant.

Additional acts who played sets at the Fest included Celtica Pipes Rock, The East Pointers, The Fitzgerald's, and Open the Door for Three.

Several festival favorites also made a return in 2017, including Gaelic Storm, We Banjo 3, JigJam, Skerryvore, Dervish and The High Kings.

Arts, culture and more

The Cultural Village at Milwaukee Irish Fest featured Celtic art, history, genealogy and shopping. Visitors had the opportunity to meet authors at the Literary Corner, walk through exhibits showcasing Irish history, visit the Irish language area to learn simple Irish (Gaelic) phrases, talk with research consultants in the genealogy area or catch the new play, "Galway Girl," in the Theatre Pavilion.

Fun for the whole family

From young to old, the festival holds something for all!

Families could collect stamps for Pirate Paddy passports, catch daily parades, search for gold in the Leprechaun Village, and participate in highland games, crafts and mini-golf. Plus, festival-goers had the chance to check out daily family entertainment at the Children’s Stages, including performances by fan favorite, Scythian.


Milwaukee Irish Fest featured several sporting events to watch and try out, such as Tug-of-War competitions, Currach races held in the lagoon, Gaelic football and hurling. Many also offered demonstrations as a hands-on way to learn more about the Irish sports.

To learn more about the Milwaukee Irish Fest check out their website or follow the festival on Facebook.

IrishCentral are live at the epic finale of Milwaukee Irish Fest. Read more about the festival here

Posted by on Sunday, August 20, 2017