Holy Hill, an area first settled in 1842 by Irish natives, has become a historic sacred landmark that draws in 300,000 pilgrims and visitors annually.

Visitors can tour the shrine chapel and the grounds, attend daily services, climb an observation deck and during the summer, eat at the Monastery Inn Cafeteria.

The shrine, located 30 miles northwest of Milwaukee now maintained by Discalced Carmelite friars, was dedicated to the Virgin Mary by the immigrants in 1842. They were the first to call it “Holy Hill” but they were forced to leave the area when they began to experience difficult times.

The area became government property until 1855, when the 40 acres at the top of Holy Hill were purchased by an Austria native, Father Paulhuber. In 1858, a cross made from an oak tree growing on the grounds of Holy Hill was put up and sanctified on top of the hill.

The cross can be seen today in the Marian Hallway of the Shrine and was originally 15 feet high and has the words "I am the life, who believes in Me shall be saved," in German, engraved on it.

Read more:

IrishCentral's top 20 secret Irish landmarks in New York - PHOTOS

Top ten hidden beauty spots in Ireland - SEE PHOTOS

Top ten greatest places in Ireland to visit

People of faith began to flock to the shrine in the 19th century, so much so that the shrine was put under the administration of a religious order, the Discalced Carmelites, in 1906.

In 1920, an Inn and Retreat Center were constructed to accommodate the visitors and over the course of the years the friars have acquired over 400 acres around the Shrine to maintain the areas meditative ambiance.  

The area has become a sacred historic site and it is a registered national landmark.


Irish Holy Shrine in Milwaukee attracts 300,000 pilgrims per year