In Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is considered a holy day. The celebration marking the death of their country’s patron saint, the man credited with bringing Catholicism to Ireland, is a family and church day. But here in America, where the world’s first Saint Patrick’s Day Parade was held in 1762 by Irish soldiers serving in the English army, it is one big party.
In the United States, the Irish pub has come to be ground zero for St. Patty’s Day celebrations. Those marching in the many grand parades like the one in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, or just attending them, often start and end their day at the pub. For those of Irish heritage, and those who wish they were, the Irish pub remains a special place all year long. But on the 17th of March, people are willing to wait in long lines for hours just to belly up to one of these great bars.
And we here at the American Public House Review are no exception. We seem to find ourselves spending time in many of America’s great Irish taverns. So if you are sitting home today, or at the office, and you are curious about the influence Erin’s Isle has had on our country, you needn’t look any further than the archives of APHR for some great examples.
Of course few are more famous the Manhattan’s McSorley’s Ale House on the lower eastside, or P.J. Clarke’s found uptown. Molly’s Shebeen, also downtown, ranks right there with those two in the annals of great turn of the century Irish taverns. They are testaments to the lasting power of a great Irish pub.
But a great tavern doesn’t need to be old to be great. The Dubliner in Washington D.C. and the Dublin Pub in Morristown both opened in the early 1970’s, but feel as though they were transported here from Ireland’s largest city centuries ago. For great music, try Mitchell’s Café along the Delaware River in New Jersey. Or maybe you will be lucky enough to hear Gerry Timlin play at the Shanacie Pub in Ambler, Pa, where he is at once the entertainer, resident storyteller, and owner.
Needless to say, I love a good Irish pub. I can literally say I was raised in them. They are what brought me to my love of great taverns. Yes, today may be the toughest day to get into one, and rightly so, but it is worth it. I’ll be leaving for mine in just a couple of hours.
So from all of us here at the American Public House Review, to our readers of Irish and wishful-Irish heritage, we raise a glass and say “Thirst is a shameless disease, so here’s to a shameful cure”, and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.
Posted by: David McBride