From McSorley’s to Molly’s, New York City has plenty of Irish pubs. And, on March 17, just about every bar in town will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The list below details where you can go to get your Irish fix beyond the bar stool. By Jessica Allen.
Calling all scholars: the American Irish Historical Society maintains the most complete private collection of Irish-American and Irish literature and history in the United States — some 10,000 volumes. Founded in Boston in 1897, the society seeks to celebrate, record, and highlight “the values of Irish culture that contribute to the growth of” the United States. In addition to opening the library to the public, the society holds numerous events, featuring politicians, novelists, historians, musicians, and directors, among others.
During the Great Hunger in Ireland, close to 1 million people died and almost the same number emigrated, many to the United States. Brian Tolle‘s Irish Hunger Memorial peacefully memorializes the dead. It features a re-created cottage, Irish flora, and stones from each of Ireland’s 32 counties. Text along the memorial’s base describes the Great Hunger and includes reports on hunger today around the world. The work stands humbly amidst the luxury and touristiness of Battery Park City.
At the Irish Repertory Theatre, you can see classic and contemporary theater, music, and dance performances by Irish-American and Irish artists. In addition, for more than 25 years, the theater has staged “works of other cultures interpreted through the lens of an Irish sensibility,” as well as encouraging the development of such a sensibility and maintaining a distinct Irish culture. Today, it’s the only theater in the city that exclusively stages Irish-American and Irish works. Note: Irish Rep is currently performing at the DR2 Theatre at 103 East 15th St. during renovations.
The New York Irish Center welcomes any and all to its Long Island City space to learn more about Irish culture. Indeed, just check out its mission statement: “providing a home for the Irish at heart, building community through culture, identity, and friendship.” Founded and maintained by a group who left Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s, the center offers classes, programs, and events (some with pancakes, as pictured).
St. Patrick was first brought to Ireland as a slave. He escaped back to what was then Roman Britain, became a cleric, and then returned to the Emerald Isle, eventually rising to the rank of bishop. According to legend, he introduced the country to the Holy Trinity using a shamrock. Construction began on St. Patrick’s, perhaps the city’s most famous cathedral, many centuries later, and the church has since witnessed such events as Andy Warhol’s funeral and Liza Minnelli’s wedding to David Gest.