Immerse yourself in Irish culture without stepping outside the borders of the United States. Whether you want to taste an authentic ale, take in community events with an Irish flair or pay tribute to Ireland’s past, these five ideas—all of which are located in the East—offer an eye into the Emerald Isle’s culture.
Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail
Organized by the Boston Irish Tourism Association, this trail features not one but 20 unique sites, all of which have played a role in Irish history or pay homage to the culture. Set in a city that is known for its numerous Irish roots and connections, the trail is a simple way to soak up the sights, including the Irish Famine Memorial, Fenway Park, the Rose Kennedy Garden, and many others. Learn more at irishheritagetrail.com.
Chicago’s Gaelic Park
What was originally organized as a park for athletes who were looking for a playing field for Irish sport, is now a thriving community center for many things Irish. Whether you want to see or take part in native dancing and music, further your Irish education, or participate in sports, this is the place to be with fellow Irish men and women—whether you live in Chicago or are visiting the city. The Carraig Pub is also a popular onsite venue. Don’t miss their annual “Ireland on Parade” 10-day celebration of Irish culture in March. Learn more at chicagogaelicpark.org.
Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Touted as the world’s third largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration (Dublin and NYC lead the way), residents of this charming Georgia city throw a supreme party and celebration of Irish heritage each March. The Fountain in Forsyth Park will run with green water throughout the month, while dancing, music and festivities can be found at numerous venues in the city, along with the much-anticipated parade and festival.
New York’s McSorley’s Old Ale House
Operating as NYC’s “oldest continuously operating saloon,” McSorley’s is an authentic Irish Tavern. Since 1854, the watering hole has served everyone from U.S. presidents to writers and, of course, lovers of Irish culture. The best way to take in the culture-rich atmosphere is to soak in the history-filled walls with a pint of McSorley’s Ale. If you visit, be sure to follow the pub’s golden rule: “Be Good or Be Gone.” Visit mcsorleysoldalehouse.nyc to learn more.
Isles of Shoals
While there are no concrete landmarks on this grouping of islands that lie just off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine, it is steeped in Irish history. When merchants from the Emerald Isle traded with the early settlers of the colonies in the 1600s, they created a settlement of their own on these islands. While the islands were abandoned during the American Revolution, a day trip still conjures up images of the way of life of these early settlers.
What favorite Irish-influenced landmark or city do you enjoy visiting in America?