New York spares no effort when it comes to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Home to one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in North America, thousands of people gather each year in the city to join in the festive commemoration of Saint Patrick. Before and after the parade, you’ll find celebrants proudly dressed in green continuing the revelry in pubs, restaurants and music venues all over the city.
As folklore tells it, the day pays tribute to Ireland’s most celebrated saint and his role in bringing Christianity to the island. (You might have also heard the story about St. Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland, which some say is an allegory for his driving out the Druids or non-Christian believers.) Today, Irish-Americans and Hibernophiles alike mark the holiday by wearing green, attending parades and visiting Irish establishments.
For a more low-key, downtown spin on your celebration, we’d recommend starting the day at the Irish Hunger Memorial. Located just a few paces from the Wagner Battery Park, the memorial is a somber yet beautiful reminder of the 19th-century immigrants who relocated to New York to escape the Great Famine between 1845 and 1852. Surrounded by stones, soil and native vegetation transported from the western coast of Ireland, the memorial is a humbling tribute to the courageous early settlers.
Next, make your way to St. Paul’s Chapel at Broadway and Fulton Street. Built in 1766, this historic sanctuary is the starting point for the St. Patrick’s Day Irish New York Walking Tour. Explore the former “Little Ireland” district of the Lower East Side and learn about the impressive contributions the early Irish community had on the formation of the city.
For a hearty lunch, stop by Molly’s Pub and Shebeen in Gramercy for an authentic corned beef and cabbage with a pint of Murphy’s Stout on the side. If corned beef isn’t your thing, try the just-as-authentic shepherd’s pie or fish and chips. To close out your day of Irish appreciation, head back to the Financial District to the Dead Rabbit for a deliciously good Irish coffee.