Irish Fest 2012

Went to Irish Fest in Milwaukee on Saturday. I had an opportunity to take a bus tour from one of the local travel agencies so I did. I was the only one on the bus that didn't have a cane or walker slowing me down but it was still fun. The bus let us off at noon and didn't come to pick us up until 6PM.

The weather was gorgeous; about 75° with a breeze coming off Lake Michigan. This picture was taken down my Meehan's boat dock.  Beautiful view of the Art museum and you can see a currach in the foreground.  I watched the races for quite a while. They should consider putting fins on their paddles. They row with what looks like a big,  long, straight stick. Maybe someone just hasn't mentioned the proper paddles yet. I bet they'd make me a saint in Ireland if I blessed them with a big-finned dory paddle!

 Off the pier is a nice bike path that goes around the other side of the bay.  Someday I'm going to go over and take a walk on it. Wonderful views of the breakwater and lighthouse and greater Lake Michigan over there.

Talk about great views, the best seat in the house is on the Sky Glider. You can see the Milwaukee skyline, the lighthouse and all of the fair-goers from up there. The only time I was a little concerned was on the way back  where I saw a large chunk of something mechanical on the roof of that building to the right. I hoped it wasn't a crucial part of the glider and I guess it wasn't since I made it back safe and sound!

 I walked around the park listening to music, petting the Irish Wolf hounds and shopping when I stumbled across an Irish Language session so I sat in. It was fun. What a difficult language, but the man teaching was convinced that I if I  should practice more by purchasing the DVDs he was selling I would be speaking like a native in no time!

I grabbed some shepherd's pie for lunch and sat at a picnic table and soon another couple was looking for a seat so I invited them to join me.  I recognized their Australian accent right away and asked them about it. We had a wonderful time eating and visiting for about a half an hour.  They own a Harley dealership in Australia and the mother ship invited them to Milwaukee on a dealers' tour.  They also have a farm so we had lots to talk about.  We wrapped it up with a lengthy discussion on how disturbing orange cheese is, and an Australian language lesson about the difference between hot chips and cold chips.In Holland, where the woman was from, they eat chips (french fries) with vinegar and mayonnaise. And she found orange cheese disturbing?!?!? We parted with promises to keep in touch. Nice folks.
After that I found a Bodhran tent that was giving lessons so I took one. I sure wish I had realized my latent Bodhran talent (the man teaching the lesson said I was a natural who would only improve by practicing with his DVDs) when the crazy lady lived upstairs! I'm equally adept at the Irish Penny whistle it seems; as long as all you want to hear is "On Top of Old Smokey". But I'm sure I could enhance my skills with the DVDs that they were selling. My last lesson was over at the dance pavilion...RIVERDANCE!!!!  I've decided to stick to the bodhran and the whistle. I was not meant to jig around like a flea on a hot skillet even if I practiced with the dance DVD. Not exactly cut out to be the Lady of The Dance as it were, but it was still awesome.

All this learning took it's toll (and the DVDs were getting heavy), so I got some tea and Guinness cake and sat down on a rock by the lake to rest.  It was a 99% perfect day.  The only thing that was disappointing was that Gaelic Storm was playing, but not until 10PM so I wouldn't get to see them. I have their CDs and just love them. I've seen them live a couple of times and they always put on a good show.  When I finished my lunch, I heard a Gaelic Storm song (Swimming In The Sea) playing at a small tent not to far away.  I thought it was weird that GS would let someone else sing their songs....and gosh but that singer sounded like Steve, who wrote the song and sings I went to investigate. It was THEM!!!! They were playing a tiny show under the name "The Santa Monica Hillbillies"! It was AMAZING!!!
 I don't play bodhran as well as Patrick! YET! (But I have the DVD.)

 Here's a good one of the whole band.  They played for about an hour, and afterward, I got to meet them and even had a CD autographed. Serendipity! Now my day was 100% perfect!

By the time the bus came at 6PM I was broke, tipsy, sunburned, walked, danced, drummed, and whistled out and ready to go home. A perfect day! Can't wait to do it all again next year! And I'll wear my 'Kiss Me I'm Irish' t-shirt. The man who sold it to me said that if I kept up with my DVD lessons, I'll be 100% Irish by next year!!!


Barb said…
So glad you got to hear GS....aren't they fun!!!!

I have a bodhran and am interested in which dvd you bought. I will be done working in 5 more days and after WI Sheep and Wool Festival I may have a bit of free time to learn. I would love it if you would let me know. You can email me at

Sara said…
That sounds wonderful! I'm 1/2 Irish, had red hair when I was younger...much! I have a bodhran and took lessons years ago. Be careful of your wrists, my dear. I wouldn't be able to pick up the drum again if I wanted to! (Take me with you next year, pretty please?)