Milwaukee Irish Fest 2023 Guide

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Irish immigrants began arriving in Milwaukee in the mid 1850s, just a step ahead of the German immigrants. Most of the Irish immigrants settled in the Third Ward. By 1848, the Irish made up 15% of the city’s population, which was their highest point.

Milwaukee Irish Fest is the largest celebration of Celtic culture and music in the world. This four day event will be held in the lovely Henry Maier Festival Park on August 17, 18, 19 and 20, 2023. It has been held on the third weekend in August since 1981. Celebrate all things Irish along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan.

Entertainment

There will be more than 100 acts performing on 16 stages. You’ll see international, national, regional and local musical talent. Some of the performers include

  • The Drowsy Lads
  • Gaelic Storm
  • Cassie & Maggie
  • Hermitage Green
  • Lisa Canny
  • Wallis Bird
  • Byrne Brothers
  • Finbar MacCarthy
  • The Scattering
  • Scythian
  • Grosse Isle
  • Mega Trad
  • The Finns
  • The Friel Sisters
  • Roisin O
  • Shane Hennessy
  • Derek Warfield & The Young Wolfe Tones
  • Green Sails
  • Pay The Devil
  • The Leahy Family
  • Curtis Crossroads
  • Atlantic Wave
  • Fox & Branch
  • Glencastle Irish Dancers
  • Polly Barrett
  • The Harry Girls
  • Rory Modlinski
  • Skerryvore
  • Boxing Banjo
  • Doolin’
  • Tallymoore
  • 3 Pints Gone
  • Blackthorne
  • Cat and Hare

Food Vendors

Milwaukee Irish Fest features more than 35 food stations throughout the park grounds with food booths, food carts and food tents. While Irish cuisine and Irish inspired food is featured at the fest, you can also find tacos, burgers, pizza and more.

This year’s food vendors include

  • Smokin’ Jack’s BBQ – New vendor
  • Mo’s Irish Pub
  • Jimbo’s
  • Lemon Chill
  • McBob’s Grill
  • Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
  • Tipperary Tea Room
  • Badger Corn Roasters
  • Catalano Lemonade
  • Fazio’s Popcorn Wagons
  • Country Time Kettle Korn & Lemonade
  • Saz’s
  • Catalano’s Fruit Stand
  • Little Sweetie’s Wagon
  • Old Country Style Nuts
  • Hawaiian Shaved Ice
  • Root Beer Barrel Trailer
  • Gingerz Sportz Pub
  • Winston’s Irish Sausage
  • Miso Katie’s Diner
  • Nashville North/El Hefe – New vendor
  • Sil’s Mini Donuts & Coffee
  • Cedar Crest Ice Cream
  • Mulligan’s Irish Pub
  • Ward’s Express
  • Mother Machree’s Strudel
  • Ward’s House of Prime
  • Nute’s Cafe – New vendor
  • Water Street Brewery
  • Ultimate Confections

There will be vegetarian and gluten free options available for purchase.

Irish Food

If you’re looking for great Irish food, you’ve come to the right place! You should try

  • Shepherd’s Pie
  • Shamrock Cookies
  • Bridies
  • Sausage Rolls
  • Corned Beef & Cabbage
  • Bangers
  • Scones
  • Stuffed Baked Potatoes
  • Guinness Cheesecake
  • Reuben Shalaylee Roll
  • Soda Bread
  • Morning Buns
  • Irish Lamb Stew
  • Corned Beef Hash

Callan Celtic Kitchen will have Irish cuisine demonstrations by internationally renowned Chef Tom Flavin.

If you’d like to learn more about Irish cooking, try these cookbooks. Use the links to see how you can save money on each one.

Irish Fest Beverages

The Irish Fest will also have beverage vendors, including

  • Five Farms Irish Cream
  • Lakefront Brewery
  • Water Street Brewery
  • Jameson Whiskey
  • Molson Coors Brewing Company
  • CiderBoys Hard Cider

The Literary Corner

The Literary Corner will welcome back Carlene O’Connor, the popular author of the Irish Village Series. She’ll have several books in a new series and a novel, No Stranger Here, that’s set in Donegal.

No Strangers Here: A Riveting Irish Thriller (A County Kerry Eddie Price will also be at the Literary Corner, introducing his books to Milwaukee plus his most recent historical novel, Rebels Abroad, which begins in Northern Ireland.

Rebels Abroad Local author, Rod Vick, has a new novel based on Celtic Mythology, The Book of Invasions. He’ll also have his Irish Dance books.

The Book of Invasions Ann McGlinn will be there with her absorbing novel, Ride On, See You.

Ride On, See You Monica Dougherty will be at the Literary Corner with her Rose’s Ring, another book in the ancestor search.

Rose's Ring: Inheritors of Silence and Secrets Margot McMahon will be there with her If Trees Could Talk, a memoir of her life growing up in an Irish family.

If Trees Could Talk

The Genealogy Tent

How did your Celtic ancestors get to the Midwest? This year’s new displays at the Genealogy Tent focus on your ancestors and their travel to Midwestern states and the mapping of their immigration routes. Exhibits on DNA, Irish First Names, Irish Surnames and more will be there to help you on your genealogical journey. One on one researchers will be available to help you.

Gaeltacht

The Gaeltacht, or Irish speaking area, will showcase the Irish language and traditional culture. You can learn simple Irish phrases. Enjoy traditional Irish humor, song, dance and language.

Theatre Pavilion

The Theatre Pavilion reflects Ireland’s rich theatre tradition with a range of plays.

Milwaukee Hotels & Flights

If you’d like to visit Milwaukee for the Irish Fest, you should consider the following hotels. They are offering discounted rates which can save you money on your stay.

  • Travelodge by Wyndham Milwaukee 25% Discount
  • Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Milwaukee 25% Discount
  • Sonesta Milwaukee West Wauwatosa 20% Discount
  • Ambassador Hotel Milwaukee, Trademark Collection by Wyndham 20% Discount
  • Radisson Hotel Milwaukee West 15% Discount
  • Rodeway Inn & Suites Milwaukee Airport 15% Discount
  • Econo Lodge Milwaukee Airport 15% Discount
  • Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Milwaukee Airport, WI 15% Discount
  • Sleep Inn & Suites Airport 10% Discount

If you’re going to be flying to Milwaukee, book your airline ticket here and you can save money on your flight.