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Mc Sorleys Old Ale House

Famous Irish Landmarks in the United States of America

The relationship held between Ireland and the United States of America is long, historic and unbreakable. From the mid-1700s on men, women and children have crossed the Atlantic Ocean in search of new life, new opportunities and at times, even just a safe haven from troubles at home.

As a result the US is peppered with reminders of the connection to the Emerald Isle and we thought we’d take a look at a few key landmarks in the land beyond the west coast of Ireland…

McSorley’s Old Ale House

McSorley’s Old Ale House is a proper Irish landmark that can be found right in the heart of Manhattan in New York City. The ale house, first opened sometime between 1854 and 1861 depending on who you trust, was opened by John McSorley, an Irish native who arrived in the USA in 1851 as a fresh-faced 18 year old.

Incredibly, the ale house still stands today. On your next visit to the Big Apple you can enjoy the sawdust floors and simple choice of light or dark ale and join a list of drinkers that includes Presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt, Woody Guthrie, Hunter S Thompson and Brendan Behan!

For a look at some other famous Irish pubs around the world click here. 

Irish Hunger Memorial

The Great Irish Famine will forever remain a massive, unforgettable part of Ireland’s history and the Irish Hunger Memorial, found in Battery Park, in New York City helps with this remembrance. 

The memorial contains a replica Irish cottage and materials shipped over directly from the west coast of Ireland including 300 million year old limestone and stones from all 32 counties in the country! 

Saint Peter’s Church

St Peter’s Church, found in the Financial District of New York City, is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in New York State and the site dates back to 1785 when the first stone was laid! 

The building that stands today was built between 1836 and 1840 in a Greek Revival style featuring 6 iconic columns that eventually lead to it becoming a designated landmark in 1965.

Unfortunately the church has seen darker days. During the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre debris, including an airplane landing gear, fell onto the roof of the church and killed Father Mychal Judge.

St Peter Rcext

69th Regiment Armory

The 69th Regiment Armory is famous for two reasons. First, it was designed by Hunt and Hunt in a Beaux-Arts style that rejected conventional medieval styles of other armories. Second, and more importantly, it is home to New York City’s only official Irish regiment of the New York Army National Guard.

This regiment is historically known as the “Fighting Irish”, a name borrowed and made famous by Notre Dame College. 

Duffy Square

Duffy Square is the northern triangle of Times Square in Manhattan, New York City, and it is named after a statue of Father Francis Patrick Duffy that was first erected in 1937.

Father Duffy (1871 – 1932), originally from Canada, was a soldier, priest and military chaplain and amongst other things he served in World War One! He was also part of the Fighting Irish 69th Regiment mentioned above. 

Chicago Gaelic Park and Irish Famine Monument

Chicago Gaelic Park was first opened in 1985 on 147th street and over the last three decades it has become a place to celebrate and cherish Irish heritage and culture in the windy city.

The park features an Irish Famine Monument and over the years has welcomed numerous distinguished guests including Mary Robinson, Mary McAleese, Bertie Ahern, Hilary Clinton and Michael D Higgins. 

Boston Famine Memorial

As previously mentioned, Ireland’s Great Famine devastated the Emerald Isle but helped create a lasting Irish diaspora across the Atlantic Ocean. 

This long-lasting connection is incredibly strong in the city of Boston where, in 1847 alone, the city welcomed 37,000 starving and destitute Irish men, women and children into her arms. 

This period in history is recognized at the Boston Famine Memorial in the downtown area of the city. The memorial features 8 plaques narrating the struggle and two distinctly different families. 

One family is starving, tired and ruined whilst the other is fit, healthy and proper leading to various interpretations including a commentary on the class struggle that helped to create the Irish famine. 

Boston Memorial

Cleveland Irish Famine Memorial

Our last listed Irish landmark in the US can be found in Cleveland on the East Bank. 

There, with the Irish tricolor and American stars and stripes on either side, stands a large stone set in September 2000 to remember the pain and strife of those involved in the Great Famine. A large Celtic cross is engraved on one side of the stone whilst on the other is an inscription dedicated to all involved.

At the foot of the stone, and deep underneath, lies a timecapsule that won’t be opened until September 2050…

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The United States of America is dotted with hundreds, if not thousands, of references to the country’s connection to the Emerald Isle and as a result this isn’t meant to be a definitive list.

Let us know about your favourite Irish landmark in the US here! 

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