I always have had a fondness for the Irish culture. I married a man who is part Irish. I love a good pub.
Still, I confess that celebrating St. Patrick’s Day never really has been my thing. It’s always been a bit too noisy and crowded for my liking. I do think the “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” T-shirts are pretty funny, and have bought them for my husband and all my sons in the past.
Nonetheless, St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty big deal in New York City. The streets are often filled with people. Pubs and hotel bars across the city are packed. The St. Patrick’s Day parade along Fifth Avenue every year is one of the largest in the United States. I also like the parade in Park Slope, Brooklyn, largely because it’s more manageable and family friendly.
In addition to the parades, other great St. Patty’s Day activities include as scavenger hunts and pub crawls.
Viewfinder Tip: For those looking to celebrate Irish heritage with kids, the Irish Arts Center hosts family-friendly events throughout the year.
But if your love for everything Irish goes beyond that one celebratory day in March, you might also enjoy some of the other ways in which to take Irish culture when visiting New York City.
First, take a tour to learn about the lives and history of the earliest Irish settlers in NYC. Levy’s Irish Heritage Tour also highlights the history of some of the characters in Martin Scorsese’s film, Gangs of New York. The Big Onion offers the Irish New York tour, which focuses on the Lower East Side (it has been said that this neighborhood has a larger Irish population than Dublin). These tours go on all throughout the year.
Speaking of Dublin, nothing made me yearn for a trip to this magnificent Irish city more than the movie, Once. In the Big Apple, you can skip the DVD rental and head right over to Broadway for tickets to a Tony award-winning musical based on the movie. In the show, characters and iconic tunes that made so many of us fall in love with the film are brought to life on stage to help steal our hearts yet again.
Another great spot to celebrate Irish heritage in New York: The Landmark Tavern, one of the city’s oldest Irish pubs. Established in 1868, it managed to survive through prohibition, the Great Depression, and more. The pub stands to this day as a place to enjoy a pint of Guinness with bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes) any day of the week.
I also like to take in the different memorials and museums that honor Irish culture. Some of the museums on my list: the Tenement Museum, Merchant’s House, and the Irish Hunger Memorial, which located right across the street from the Conrad New York Hotel. Of course no-one should miss the opportunity to tour the beautiful St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
It is never a bad time to honor the Irish. Whether or not you can hang with the partygoers during St. Patrick’s Day, Irish heritage is always worth learning about and celebrating. If you are lucky, like I am, you might even get to kiss one more than just once a year.
What are your favorite St. Patrick’s Day traditions?