The Top 5 Surprising Irish Towns Of America

These cities may not be huge, but they deliver big fun on St. Patrick’s Day.

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Most people know places like Boston and New York City have large Irish populations – and as a result, big St. Patrick’s Day parties. But you don’t often hear about the smaller cities across the U.S. that also boast a high percentage of Irish residents. These lesser-known cities not only lay claim to Irish pubs, dance halls, clubs and festivals, they’re also perfect places to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

1. Butte, Montana

Courtesy of EricPhotos under a CC 4.0 license.

Twenty-three percent of Butte’s residents are Irish, and it shows. Often referred to as Ireland’s fifth province, Butte is home to Irish Times and Maloney’s, two pubs in the Butte District that draw crowds throughout the year, but are especially known for their St. Patrick’s Day parties. In addition, Butte hosts a popular St. Patrick’s Day parade that attracts more than 30,000 spectators and features decorated floats, food vendors and more.

2. Atlantic City, New Jersey

Courtesy of Jason Mrachina under a CC 4.0 license.
Courtesy of Jason Mrachina under a CC 4.0 license.

MTV’s Jersey Shore may have portrayed the Atlantic City area as a place filled with Italian-Americans, but it also has a high percentage of residents with Irish roots. One of the city’s most popular destinations is The Irish Pub, which is open 24/7 and has received rave reviews from locals and tourists alike for its authentic food and welcoming atmosphere. To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Atlantic City hosts a parade with marchers, Irish step dancers, bagpipers and floats; while local casinos offer promotions and host special events in honor of the holiday.

3. Auburn, New York

Courtesy of Daniel Piraino under a CC 4.0 license.
Courtesy of Daniel Piraino under a CC 4.0 license.

McMurphy’s Irish Pub, located inside the Auburn Holiday Inn, and Harley’s Irish Pub give the area’s many Irish residents the opportunity to celebrate their heritage year round. The city is also home to a Crane Irish Dance studio, and in nearby Skaneateles the McDonald School of Irish Dance offers classes for all skill levels every Wednesday. When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day, Auburn does not disappoint. The local Ancient Order of Hibernians, the oldest Irish-Catholic lay organization in the U.S., hosts St. Patrick’s Day events each year, and downtown’s A.T. Walley & Co. bills itself as “the place to be on St. Patrick’s Day” as it features corned beef, flights of Irish whiskey and Irish step dancing.

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4. Roanoke, Virginia

Courtesy of Donnie Nunley under a CC 4.0 license.
Courtesy of Donnie Nunley under a CC 4.0 license.

Roanoke residents celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the annual McDonald’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Shamrock Festival, both of which take place downtown. The parade draws more than 20,000 people, while the festival features live music, a kids’ zone, food vendors and more. In addition, locals can enjoy authentic Irish food throughout the year at Annie Moore’s Tavern, while Flanary’s Irish Pub offers quick bites, live music and a popular weekly trivia night.

5. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Courtesy of Brian Gautreau under a CC 4.0 license.
Courtesy of Brian Gautreau under a CC 4.0 license.

Downtown is the place to be for Colorado Springs residents looking to have a good time on St. Patrick’s Day. Locals celebrate the holiday with running and cycling events, including the Leprechaun Fun Run, as well as a parade that draws more than 30,000 spectators and includes bands, floats, fire trucks and more. Jack Quinn Irish Alehouse and Pub, also downtown, marks St. Patrick’s Day with several days of parties, live music and family-friendly events. McCabe’s Tavern, Ivy Irish Pub and Alchemy are a few more top spots for Irish-themed food, drinks and fun.


This feature originally appeared in Livability.


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