MILWAUKEE IRISH FEST
The World's Largest
Irish Culture Festival
Milwaukee Irish Fest, renowned as the world's largest Irish culture
festival, was established by members of Milwaukee's Irish community to
showcase its rich Irish heritage. Under the direction of Ed Ward, Irish
Fest premiered in Milwaukee, the city of festivals, in 1981.
Irish Fest showcases Irish music, history, dance, drama, sports and
culture. The festival features Irish and Irish American talent, and serves
as a stage for up-and-coming local performers.
Located on Milwaukee's beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, Irish Fest
is held annually during the third weekend of August. During its three-day
run, the event annually hosts over 100,000 guests from around the globe.
MUSIC AND DANCE
Music and dance comprise a main element of Irish Fest. Top Irish
and Irish American entertainers from around the world, as well as numerous
regional groups perform on the festival's 15 stages. In addition, roaming
performers dressed in traditional costumes entertain guests as they stroll
With the recent surge of interest in Irish dance, stages featuring
ceili and set dancing have become a popular attraction for festival-goers.
In addition to watching the performances, guests learn dance steps at workshops
Productions from noted Irish playwrights, as well as rising talent
are performed continuously at the festival by groups from around the U.S.,
Canada and Ireland. Each year, a children's drama is produced for the younger
SPORTS AND GAMES
For those with a competitive nature, Irish Fest offers plenty of
contests. Sports such as rugby, hurling, currach racing and Gaelic football
are played throughout the festival. Competitions, such as internationally
sanctioned tug-of-war, children's red hair and freckle contests, bingo,
treasure hunts and a baking contest are also held. Additionally, The Top
O' the Morning Run/Walk is held during the weekend of Irish Fest.
CULTURE AND GENEALOGY
To promote traditional Irish culture, many groups and organizations
from Ireland assist with the festival's exhibits. Among them are the National
Gallery of Ireland, the National Museum of Ireland, Arts Council, the Irish
Tourist Boards including Galway, Sligo and Lisburn, the Shannon Development
Corporation, RTE and Aer Lingus.
To help families trace their personal Irish heritage, genealogical
resources and organizations are on-site, including the Wisconsin Irish
Genealogical Society. In addition, each year a clan reunion is held at
the festival to honor one of the Irish family groups.
LITURGY FOR PEACE
Each year, the last day of Irish Fest is celebrated with a Sunday
Liturgy for Peace and Justice. Principle celebrants have included Milwaukee's
Archbishop, as well as other noted clergymen. Attended by more than 10,000
worshippers, the liturgy collects nonperishable food items to be donated
to area food banks.
New at Irish Fest in 1999
Donal Lunny's Coolfin
Considered a leading force in the traditional Irish music scene for
three decades, musician, composer, producer and arranger Donal Lunny makes
his Irish Fest debut with his latest group, Coolfin. Lunny's credits include
working with an array of musicians, including Van Morrison, Elvis Costello,
Mark Knopfler, Altan, Kate Bush and Rod Stewart. Lunny's Coolfin also consists
of several other prominent Irish musicians, including accordionist Sharon
Shannon, an Irish Fest headliner in previous years.
Legendary Irish violin master Sean McGuire makes his debut to Milwaukee
Irish Fest in 1999. Regarded as among the top fiddle players in the world,
McGuire's musical career has spanned more than 50 years and achievements
include the 1949 All-Ireland championship Oireachtas gold medal, earning
a 100 percent mark that has never been equaled, and appearances on the
"Ed Sullivan" and "Arthur Godfrey" shows in the 1950s.
Forty years later, McGuire is still regarded as among the top international
La Bottine Souriante
The lively native Quebec nine-member band brings its distinct sound
to Irish Fest by combining traditional music with a dash of jazz salsa
and pure folk. The band has been together for more than twenty years and
provides an energetic stage presence.
Regarded as among the top Celtic rock fusion bands, the South Carolina
quartet blends traditional Celtic sounds and classic American rock. The
group has performed at the Edinburgh International Festival and opened
for several groups including Black 47 and The Corrs. The group will also
perform at the festival's Thursday, Aug. 19, Grand Gathering.
The founding member of Brother who went solo in 1998, Bur will bring
his modern Celtic multi-instrumental and vocal performance to the festival.
Playing a host of instruments, including bagpipes, acoustic and electric
guitars, mandolin, whistles and keyboards, Bur entertains audiences with
his Australian charm while displaying diversity in Celtic music.
Mary Custy Band
Fiddle player and County Clare native Mary Custy makes her debut
at Irish Fest following a recent tour with Nancy Griffith. Her music is
described as "a dynamic blend of the Clare fiddle player's music with
a rock n' roll sound."
Visiting the cultural area is like a trip through time and space
at the 1999 festival. Irish Fest will bridge the centuries to provide a
snapshot view of the last 100 years. Exhibits, presentations, films, crafts,
music and literature will merge together to showcase the highlights of
our rich heritage.
New in 1999 will be the Volta Picture Theater, named after Ireland's
first movie theater in 1909 that was opened by James Joyce. The festival's
picture theater will show short Irish movies and films that were instrumental
in the development of this medium in Ireland.
Visitors will be also be invited to view an exhibit of the John J.
Ward Jr. Irish Music Archives, considered among the top public Irish music
collections in North America. Take a look at a sampling of the organization's
collections, including an exhibit paying tribute to the late Paddy Clancy,
member of the Irish folk icons, the Clancy Brothers, and the Archives'
Bing Crosby collection. The Archives, housed in the Milwaukee Irish Fest
Center, contains more than 20,000 Irish music artifacts.
IRISH FEST SUMMER SCHOOL
August 15-20, 1999
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Celebrates 13th Year
For 12 years, the Irish Fest Summer School has offered students a
chance to study all aspects of Irish culture. In 1999, the 13th year will
be no exception. Participants will take a "backward glance" at
all things Irish from 1900 to 2000. Courses include art, traditional music,
ballads, political history, popular culture and literature.
Music, dance, language and craft classes are also offered for those
who seek active participation in the culture. To receive a brochure or
for registration information, call (414) 229-5879 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Summer School will also offer a field trip to the John J. Ward,
Jr. Irish Music Archives, located at the Irish Fest Center. Irish Fest
founder Ed Ward will provide a behind-the-scenes look at one of North America's
largest public Irish music collections.
Direct from Ireland
The Armagh Rhymers will perform at Nash's Irish Castle, 1328 W. Lincoln
Avenue on Friday, August 13 at 8 p.m. ($5 at the door).
The popular Rhymers will return to Milwaukee and appear unmasked
on Friday night to entertain with music and song in an authentic folk traditional
style. Kit and Josie are looking forward to welcoming old and new friends
to the pub where it all started in Milwaukee. Stop in to launch Milwaukee's
Green Season in August.
The Armagh Rhymers will also be teaching a children's program at
Irish Fest Summer School and performing at Milwaukee Irish Fest in their
traditional folk drama presentation where they bring to life ancient Celtic
folk drama and legend, wearing costumes of hand made willow masks, straw,
sacking and imaginative colorful clothing. Their theatrical and musical
flexibility transports the audiences back to the times of wandering bards.
Competes in Chicago
The Cashel-Dennehy School of Irish Dance did a great job of representing
the Milwaukee area at the North American Irish Dance Championships held
in Chicago, Illinois, July 5-8. Over 1500 dancers competed in the solo
competitions while over 100 teams competed.
Cashel-Dennehy had six ceili teams that placed. They are:
- Girls ceili under 11 placed second
- Girls ceili under 13 placed fourth
- Ladies ceili 16 and over placed fourth
- Mixed ceili under 9 placed second
- Mixed ceili under 16 (2 teams) placed first and second
Nine solo dancers placed in their competitions. They are:
- Ladies under 18: Aileen Cronin - 9th place
- Girls under 17: Hillary Boeing - 7th place
- Girls under 16: Brigid O'Sullivan - 11th place; Kamala Murphy -
13th place; Erin Prendergast - 32nd place.
- Girls under 15: Caitlin Alba - 38th place
- Girls under 14: Bobbie Boeing - 15th place
- Girls under 13: Megan Hull - 29th place
- Girls under 11: Maggie Dunn - 59th place.
Milwaukee President's Message
The pomp and ceremony are over, most board members have been sworn
in by Michael Dwyer. I missed this gala event because I was in San Antonio,
Texas attending my grandson's wedding. It had been planned before my election.
Thanks to Jean Cardwell and her group of "special helpers".
I was told it was a very nice spread.
As Dale Brenon has said in the past, we, the board are your chosen
elected representatives. Please feel free to tell us your thoughts for
the future of the Shamrock Club and suggestions for our 40th birthday.
We want your input.
We invite the new members as well as the established members to continue
to get on the various committees. We are a volunteer club and rely on ALL
of you for the success of this organization. At this time Noreen Barclay
can use help at the Irish Fest Sales Booth. This is always a fun fund raiser.
This is really a good way to meet members of the club. They are all really
nice, friendly people.
We will talk about the Bradley Center next month.
Shamrock Club of
Greater LaCrosse Area
Holding candles at our May installation of officers, at Sullivan's
Supper Club, are Trustee Linda Pfaff; Vice President Pat Moore; President
Marian Schnell; Secretary Sue Crothers; Treasurer Art Gale; Sergeant at
Arms Rick Przwyojski; and club members (without candles) Shirley Gale and
There will be a Board Meeting on Thursday, August 11. The Club Picnic
will be held at the residence of Fred and Mary Kay Smith in Onalaska on
Satur- day, August 14. This is a Pot Luck, "Bring Your Own Everything
Party" and begins at 2 p.m. Grills will be available. Call 783-0982
if you can be there.
On Friday, September 17, we will hold a "Half Way to Saint Patrick's
Day Party" and General Meeting at Forest Hills in LaCrosse at 7 p.m.
Make your own dinner arrangements.
Remember Irish Fest in Milwaukee August 19-22. Hope the weather cools
off a little bit for these events.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
- August 17: 6:30 p.m. Club picnic at Sportsmen's Park
- August 29: Working the Brat Stand at Wal-Mart in Beloit
- Sept. 21: General membership meeting at the Janesville Senior Center,
69 S. Water St.
Our new officers, elected at the May meeting are as follows:
President: Jane Vilbrandt
Vice President: Marge Reed
Secretary: Kay Mackey
Treasurer: Betty Ewers
Sergeant at Arms: Mary Kennedy
Membership: Mary Bickle
Past President: Ken Flanagan
Trustees: Ray Weigand, Pat Mahlum, and Gene Sheppard
Our annual picnic will be at Sportsmen's Park, north of Janesville
on Hwy. 51, August 17 at 6:30 p.m. Bring a dish to pass and your own table
service. The Club will furnish the beverages.
All members will receive a call to work at the "Brat Stand"
at Wal-Mart in Beloit on August 29. There will be two shifts, 10 to 1:30
and 1:30 to 5. This will be our big fund raiser for the year so please
say YES when you are called. You will find it is a lot of fun.
At the September meeting we will be making plans for the coming year.
If you have any ideas or suggestions write them down and bring those to
the meeting. If you can't get to the meeting then call Jane or one of the
other officers with your ideas so they can be brought up at the meeting.
Please, everyone try to be at the meeting and show our support for our
Irish Emigration Library
Opens inside ICHC
MILW. – The Irish Emigration Library, directed by members of the
Irish Genealogical Society of Wisconsin, opened in April, 1999. The directors
of the library are Patricia Kenney Gehy, Barbara McNeill Henzelmann and
Jane Mahar Maher. The library, located at the Irish Cultural and Heritage
Center of Wisconsin (ICHC), is open every Wednesday from 2 p.m. until 8
p.m. All are welcome.
The aim of the library is to collect genealogical and historical
information about the Irish people, with special emphasis on those who
emigrated from Ireland to various parts of the world. This information
may be in the form of micro form copies of original records, extracts of
records, historical treatises and books.
This is a work in progress. A small, but significant collection is
now on hand at the Heritage Center. With the help of the Irish community,
the collection should expand rapidly. The library has benefited from a
$10,000 contribution from the Hibernian Foundation and the Milwaukee Ancient
Order of Hibernians. In addition $3000 has been donated by the Irish Genealogical
Society of Wisconsin. Many individuals have also donated valuable books,
records, and equipment.
Some of the items in the library or on order, include:
- Griffith's Primary Valuation and Householder's Index (microfiche)
along with a CD index – a tax list generated between 1848 and 1864, which
locates those persons listed in a specific county, parish and town land
of Ireland, along with the name of the person from whom the land was leased.
An index to the names of those appearing on the Tithe Applotment records
is also included in the Householders Index.
- New York Immigrant Bank Records (microfilm). Immigrants, primarily
Irish, established accounts with the Immigrant Bank, usually for the purpose
of sending money home to Ireland. They were asked many identifying questions,
sometimes the names of family members, sometimes the exact place in Ireland
from which the immigrant came and this information was recorded.
- Index to Ontario Land Grants (microfiche). Many Irish settled in
Canada before coming to the United States, and acquired land from the Ontario
government. This index gives names of people receiving land and where they
lived, as well as the identification needed to acquire the land papers
from the Ontario government. This large fiche index was donated to the
Emigration Library by the Ontario Archives.
- One-Inch-To-a-Mile Index Maps – maps covering all of Ireland, generated
almost entirely in the 19th Century. The maps show the outlines and names
of each town land and barony, as well as such things as country roads,
church locations, etc. (on order from Ireland).
- Manuscript Index of All Names on the first 6" Survey Maps (microfilm).
Within a town land there are smaller land divisions as well as geographical
features, i.e. hills, valleys. These are often names that emigrants remembered
and they are carried down in family tradition as the place of origin in
Ireland. This index, arranged by county, lists every place found on the
6" maps of Ireland.
- A variety of CDs indexing or extracting vital and census records
in the U.S., Great Britain, Ireland and Australia. Other CDs include such
things as gazetteers, and U.S. Social Security Index.
- Many books and periodicals.
Staff members are always on hand to assist researchers, whether they
are beginning or advanced genealogists.
In the autumn of 1999 classes in genealogy will be offered to the
public. Pre-registration will be required. The only cost will be that of
the text and handouts.
There is no admission charge to the library but there is a charge
for duplication of material and computer printouts: 50¢ each microform
copy; 15¢ each photocopy; and 5¢ per sheet computer printout.
The Emigration Library welcomes donations. At present there is only
one computer with CD capability. Any company or individual that is upgrading
computer(s) and wishes to donate older units that can be used to read modern
CDs should contact John Maher, Exec. Dir. of the ICHC at (414) 345-8800.
Welcome New Members
GREATER LACROSSE – Beverly Iverson.
MILWAUKEE – Edward Bolger; Tom Miller; Ciaran Farrel and Clare Ryan.
Bike-a-thon in Ireland
The Irish Immigration Center (IIC) is once again hosting "On
Yer Bike" bike-a-thon through scenic Co. Clare on Ireland's western
seaboard from Sept. 24 to Oct. 2, 1999. To participate one must raise a
minimum of $2,500 for the IIC through fund-raising and/or sponsorship.
This money goes to support the IIC's services and programs and covers your
trip to Ireland to participate in the cycling trip.
For further information contact Erika Salloux 617-782-4271 ext. 12.
Or visit our website at: www.iicenter.org.
The Irish Immigration Center is a non-profit, volunteer managed organization
established to meet the needs of immigrants. IIC is committed to providing
advice, information, advocacy, referral and support for recent immigrants
on issues related to immigration, employment, housing and social services.
Sunday, August 29, 1999
Lakeside Country Club, Pewaukee
(Hwy. 16 West to Co. Trunk KE, South to Golf Course)
Group Awards – for Low Net and Low Gross team scores
Individual Awards – for longest Drive, Longest Putt, Closest
to the Pin – for MEN AND WOMEN!
(One Group or Individual winner per award)
Door Prizes and "Money Hole"
Golf will begin at 12 noon.
Carts available at $7 per person at Lakeside Golf Shop.
Club rentals available at $5 per person
at Lakeside Golf Shop.
Pull Carts available for $1 at Lakeside Golf Shop.
Cocktail Hour: 4:30-5:30 -- Buffet Dinner: 5:30-6:30 AWARDS
to be presented during dinner.
Dancing to music of the 50s through 90s: 6:30-8:30
FAMILY GOLF AND DINNER
Please list the names in your party who will play golf; who will
play golf and have dinner; and who want dinner only.
GOLF AND DINNER PACKAGE:
Please list preferred Tee Times. We will do the best we can to accommodate
(1)_______ (2)_______ (3)_______ (4)______
No.______ @ $30 each=_______
Please list preferred Tee Times. We will do the best we can to accommodate
(1)_______ (2)_______ (3)_______ (4)______
No.______ @ $15 each=_______
No.______ @ $15 each=_______
(No "AT DOOR" payments / registration on day of event can
be permitted, except for "Dinner Only" – Cost $20.)
TEE TIMES WILL BE BASED ON DATE
OF RECEIPT OF PAYMENT.
Make all checks payable to the
Shamrock Club of Wisconsin.
REGISTRATION ENDS AUGUST 15, 1999
Send your completed registration to
Richard Stover, 5326 W. Bluemound Rd.,
Milwaukee, WI 53208.
Please call (414) 774-9123 if you have any questions.
**Please include daytime ______________________ and
(You will be notified of your Tee Time August 19-22)