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Irish Set Dancing in Milwaukee

Social Dancing for Adults

Midwinter Set Dance Weekend: February 21 - 23, 2020
Milwaukee's premiere set dance event returns, featuring instructors and musicians of international renown.

FIND US ON FACEBOOK: SetDance Milwaukee

Weekly Dancing
Continues at
O'Donoghue's Irish Pub
Open Dancing 7:00 p.m.
(7:30 when classes in session)


Find the Milwaukee Set Dance Club on Facebook:
Search for SetDance Milwaukee
no space after "Set" and one space after "Dance")

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SetDance Milwaukee on Facebook

 Set Dance Classes

Get started in set dancing with classes tailored for newcomers to set dancing and anyone seeking to develop experience with basic steps and movements.

We offer several series of classes during the year, typically in an 6-week format. This series is intended to get you started in set dancing with classes tailored for newcomers.

Our next set of classes will begin September 11, 2019, and run every Wednesday for six weeks. The cost is $35 for the series, payable at the first class.

Until August 28, informal classes are being held each Wednesday evening at 6:30 PM. Come see us at O'Donoghue's to get started in Irish Set Dance. Our fall 2019 series is oriented to the absolute beginner, or someone who's had a taste or demonstration at Irishfest (or elsewhere.) Either way, this session is for you!

Class size is limited, so please pre-register.


Following each class, open dancing will begin at about 7:30 p.m. (7:00 p.m. when no classes are in session) Class participants are encouraged to join in the dancing (at no extra charge) throughout the evening. The open dancing without the formality of the class provides additional valuable insights into Irish dancing in a social setting and can be very helpful to the beginner. We will usually dance the set you have been working on during the class later in the evening, and we can advise you which dances are more suited to beginners.

 Weekly Dancing -- at O'Donoghue's

This continues a long tradition of weekly dancing which began at Nash's Irish Castle in 1991. Nash's, alas, is no more, but
this web page survives for now.

Important: See the note below about parking.

Set dancing is held year-round at O'Donoghue's Irish Pub in Elm Grove.

Held on Wednesday evenings, informal instruction starts at 6:30 PM, with open dancing at 7:00 PM, (7:30 if formal classes are in session.)

We generally do not meet the Wednesday after Irishfest, e.g. August 21, 2019.

Upcoming schedule notes:

  • December 18: UPDATE: Weekly dance changed to MONDAY December 16. CANCELLED: No dance this week.
  • December 25: No weekly dance this week
  • December 28: Set Dance at the ICHC featuring The Cream City Ceili Band
  • January 1: No weekly dance this week
  • January 8: Regular weekly dancing resumes at O'Donoghue's, with informal instruction at 6:30pm, regular dancing at 7pm

We ask for a free-will offering of five dollars per person each week to offset our rental costs. This is waived for paid class participants.

Note: parking behind the the Silver Spur restaurant (formerly the Elm Grove Inn) is not permitted. You could be ticketed if you park there. Please park on street or in lot behind the Town Bank, across the street and a little East of O'Donoghue's. It's on the North side of Watertown Plank Road, East of the Dry Cleaning business, at 13150 Watertown Plank Road. We may park there any Wednesday, after 5:30 PM.

PLEASE ALSO NOTE that parking in the Ray's Towing lot is also prohibited, and could get you ticketed or towed.

Periodic e-mail updates are sent throughout the year. See Contacts to be added to our list.

 Monthly Dances with Live Music

Regular dances are held on most fourth Saturdays of the month (exceptions below) at the ICHC. Come at 7:00 p.m. to learn the Set of the Month. Dance to live music from 8:00 p.m. until 11:00. $10.00 free will offering requested. Tea and snacks are provided. Beer and soda are sold to benefit the ICHC. Please bring a treat to share if you can.

Please Note: There will not be a dance every month; those listed below are the only montly dances we will hold. Check back here and on Facebook for updates.

Please note: Due to a new ICHC security policy, the doors to the bulding must remain locked. In general, there will be someone available to open the door- ring the bell to be admitted. Also, the doors at the top of the stairs will be locked. We advise arriving between 6:45 at 7:00, or 7:45-8:00, and having the mobile number of someone who is likely to have already arrived.

New Schedule as of December 6, 2019. Wow, that "tba" band is really popular, right? Watch this space for updates.
Event Music  Featured Set
December 28 Monthly dance ICHC Cream City Ceili Band New Year's Party
January 25, 2020 Monthly dance at ICHC tba Limerick Orange and Green
February 21-23 Annual Midwinter Set Dance Weekend Great local & regional bands (see below)
March 28 Monthly dance at ICHC tba Fermanagh Set
April 25 Monthly dance at ICHC tba Derrada Set
May No monthly dance this month
June 27 Monthly dance at ICHC tba Rosscahil Set
July 27 Monthly dance at ICHC tba Ballyvourney Reel Set
August 13-16 Join us at Irish Fest, the largest festival of Irish music & culture in the world! Bushels of bands Scores of sets- Info Here
September 26 Monthly dance at ICHC tba West Kerry Set
October 24 Monthly dance at ICHC tba Labasheeda Set
November 28 Monthly dance at ICHC tba New Market Meserts

 Midwinter Set Dance Weekend --  February 21 - 23, 2020 

Make plans to attend the Nineteenth Annual Milwaukee Midwinter Set Dance Weekend,
with expert instruction from an Irish dance master. Learn from a master!

Midwinter Set Dance Weekend 2019 Logo
Music for the Midwinter Weekend provided by great bands:

  • áthas
  • Capitol Céilí Band
  • The Cosmic Otters

It all gets started Friday, February 21, 2020, at 7:00pm, with registration and reception.

For complete information and registration form, click here to download the flyer.

  • $105 Early Bird Weekend Pass- registrations and fees postmarked on or before February 10
  • $115 Weekend Pass- registration and fees postmarked after February 10, 2015
  • $20 Individual céilís ($10 for Sunday céilí)
  • $50 Saturday workshops only (includes lunch)
  • $30 Sunday brunch / workshop / céilí

 Other Irish Dancing

The Irish Cultural and Heritage Center hosts a variety of celtic events, including Ceili dances most first Fridays and third Saturdays of the month. Ceili dance info.

Irish Dancing in the Chicago area: Irish Dance Chicago.


The Irish Cultural and Heritage Center (ICHC) is at 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee (just west of Marquette U.). Click for map. Park free in lots off 23rd St. south of Wisconsin Ave. Westbound: take I-94 west to 25th St. Exit, Go north on 25th Street to Wisconsin Avenue. Then right (east) to 23rd Street.  Eastbound: take I-94 east to 35th St. exit, go north (left) to Wisconsin Ave., east to 23rd St. Parking is available in lots south (and slightly West) of the center. Take 23rd St. south to alley to enter.

O'Donoghue's Irish Pub is at 13225 Watertown Plank Road in Elm Grove. Click for map. If you are coming from the west, O'Donoghue's is less than two miles east of Brookfield Square (I-94). Exit I-94 and go north the next road after Bluemound Road (US 18). This is Watertown Plank Road. Then turn right and after you cross the RR tracks, look for the pub on the right just past the Elm Grove Inn.
Coming from the East: If you are going west on I-94 or I-894 take US 45 north (at the zoo interchange) to the Watertown Plank Road exit. Then go two miles west (left) on Watertown Plank. When you see a church just ahead, veer left and look for the pub on your left.

Parking is available on nearby streets and lots. Please use these rather than the lot adjacent to the pub.


Here are the web sites of some of the bands and musicians that have played for us at our dances. Please support your local musicians!

Áthas and also this link too. Ceol Caírde
Frogwater Rírá Public House Ceili Band
Capitol Ceili Band Twin Cities Ceili Band

 Contact Us

Below, you should see four scrolling graphic images containing email addresses and phone numbers for contacting us.
General Info:
Classes: maintains a low-volume mailing list to keep the set dance community informed of our events and activities.
To be added to (or removed from) the e-mail list please send a message to the address below. Indicate what address you'd like to add, or remove.
Please also mention if you'd like to be on our local (weekly dances, etc), regional (Monthly dances and larger events), or national (Our largest events, which tend to interest people further away from Milwaukee) list.
Email list:

We apologize for the obfuscated contact information above. We have been inundated with spam and drastic measures were required.

 About The Milwaukee Set Dance Club

The Milwaukee Set Dance Club is an unincorporated non-profit association as defined in Chapter 184 of the Statutes of the State of Wisconsin.

 Other Celtic Culture On the Web

General set dance information world-wide is on the Web at

Irishfest events listing has listings of music, dance and culture outside of Irishfest itself.

The Shamrock Club has a comprehensive listing of events in Milwaukee, with links to calendars for events across Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Short Wikipedia article on set dance.

Updated on 2020-01-11