Most Irish Places in New York

Studies
Most Irish Places in New York

When you think of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s hard not to also think of New York.

New York City is home to the nation’s largest and oldest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, with millions of spectators lining Fifth Avenue every March. The Irish immigrant story is largely set against New York’s streets — from the gritty Five Points neighborhood of Manhattan in the 1800s to the Norwood area in the Bronx in the 1980s.

Move to the suburbs

But that’s changed. As Irish immigrants earned more economic capital, they moved out of the city, and their social and cultural institutions followed. Today, you are more likely to find a decent pint and Irish cheer in the suburbs than in the city.

So it’s no surprise that when NerdWallet set out to find the most Irish place in New York in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the top contenders all fell outside the big city.

It turns out the most Irish place in New York is Pearl River in Rockland County.

A full 52% of residents in this suburban hamlet north of New York City claim Irish ancestry based on U.S. Census Bureau data. The Irish influence can be felt everywhere here, from a consistently crowded St. Patrick’s Day Parade to multiple schools for Irish dance and music in a community of only 15,840 residents.

Long Island dominates

Another theme emerged in our analysis: Long Island remains a stronghold of Irish culture within the state. Every other community in our top 10 is on Long Island.

We examined 190 places in New York. Towns with populations of less than 10,000 weren’t included.

Most Irish places in New York

1. Pearl River

How Irish is Pearl River? Let’s count the ways: First, there’s the famous Pearl River St. Patrick’s Day parade, with attendance of over 100,000 and a local popularity that rivals the “big one” 33 miles south. Irish pubs abound in Pearl River, with names like T.F. Noonan’s, Gildea’s and the Horse and Jockey. Of the six officers of the Pearl River Middle School PTA, more than half of the last names suggest a strong Irish or Scots-Irish heritage, from Killcommons to McGee.

2. Sayville

Residents of this South Shore community can easily get in touch with their Irish roots by visiting the “Little Shop of Shamrocks” for authentic gifts or Cricket’s, which bills itself as a “true” Irish pub and earns stellar online reviews for its fish and chips and its atmosphere. Residents here make it a point to support the Bayport-Blue Point St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

3. Garden City

Irish culture has many guardians in Garden City. The Irish Cultural Society sponsors a popular writing contest for students, which includes a $200 prize and a gift of books to the winner’s school. The Mineola St. Patrick’s Day Parade comes through Garden City each year along with a party afterward at the Irish American Society.

4. Rockville Centre

Organizers of the Rockville Centre parade say charity is at the heart of their annual celebration, where over $875,000 has been raised to date. Funds this year will benefit the Dublin Children’s Pilgrimage, the Katie McBride Foundation and the Hance Family Foundation. Visitors can choose from many Irish restaurants and shops — from Monaghan’s to Cannon’s Blackthorn, which features a unique Irish pub experience called the “snug,” the private booth that dates back to when women weren’t allowed in bars.

5. East Islip

The East Islip St. Patrick’s Day Parade is set to celebrate its 50th year in 2015 in a place that offers plenty of options to stop off for a quick tea or drink. The Irish Coffee Pub in town may sound small, but it’s also a steakhouse and pub with a popular catering and wedding business.

6. Massapequa Park

Those seeking an authentic Irish experience in Massapequa Park can seek out the Irish Cottage, Johnny McGorey’s Irish Pub or the Roscommon Irish American Pub. The community also celebrates an annual Irish night hosted by the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 15 of Nassau County.

7. Babylon

The residents with Irish roots in Babylon are benefitting from the resurgence of interest in Irish dance. Here, Mise Eire Irish Dancers have formed a home base for their many travels. Irish dancers often perform at “feiseanna,” which is the Gaelic word for festivals.

8. Floral Park

Floral Park is another Long Island place with an abundance of Irish bars and restaurants, many clustered along Tulip Avenue. One recommendation from the local weekly: An Irish breakfast at Swing the Teapot, a fine replica of what you might find in Ireland, with eggs, toast, bacon, beans, and black and white pudding, a uniquely Irish sausage made from oatmeal (white) and sheep’s blood (black).

9. Miller Place

The Friends of St. Patrick annual parade begins in Miller Place and ends in nearby Rocky Point, offering a family friendly tradition for any visitor. Irish culture is a feature at Hofstra University, which recently celebrated its 17th annual Irish Festival.

10. West Islip

This Suffolk County town is finding at least one unique way to celebrate the season and its Irish heritage: a baking class on shamrock pretzels at the West Islip Public Library.

Check out this interactive map of NerdWallet’s top 10 most Irish cities in New York. Click on an icon to see the percentage of residents with Irish ancestry.

 

The Woodlawn Factor. Those familiar with downstate New York will notice a glaring omission from our list: the Bronx neighborhood of Woodlawn, a famously Irish enclave that straddles a porous border between the Bronx and southeast Yonkers. Some estimates say as many as 40% of Woodlawn’s residents are Irish or Irish-American, not including an undefined, uncounted and undocumented Irish immigrant population. What sets this area apart is density. When compared with the entire population in each city, the statistical impact of the Irish population is quite low. In Yonkers, about 11% of residents claim Irish ancestry, but that figure is under 2% in the Bronx.

 

Rank City Percentage of residents with Irish ancestry
1 Pearl River 52.4%
2 Sayville 40.6%
3 Garden City 39.9%
4 Rockville Centre 36.9%
5 East Islip 35.5%
6 Massapequa Park 34.3%
7 Babylon 33.2%
8 Floral Park 32.9%
9 Miller Place 32.8%
10 West Islip 32.3%
11 Ridge 32.3%
12 Oswego 32.2%
13 Manorville 32.1%
14 Rocky Point 32.1%
15 Massapequa 31.8%
16 Lake Ronkonkoma 31.7%
17 Watervliet 31.4%
18 Bohemia 31.3%
19 Kings Park 30.8%
20 St. James 30.5%
21 Seaford 30.2%
22 Fairmount 29.8%
23 North Merrick 29.7%
24 Wantagh 29.3%
25 East Northport 28.7%
26 East Patchogue 28.5%
27 Holbrook 28.3%
28 Smithtown 28.2%
29 Mastic Beach 27.9%
30 South Farmingdale 27.9%
31 Ronkonkoma 27.8%
32 Huntington 27.6%
33 Lindenhurst 27.3%
34 Saratoga Springs 27.3%
35 Holtsville 27.2%
36 Islip 27.1%
37 Kenmore 27.1%
38 Stony Brook 27.1%
39 North Wantagh 27.1%
40 Woodbury 27.1%
41 Mount Sinai 26.6%
42 Medford 26.5%
43 Bethpage 26.5%
44 Nesconset 26.4%
45 Lake Grove 26.3%
46 Hampton Bays 25.7%
47 North Babylon 25.4%
48 Cohoes 25.4%
49 Auburn 25.3%
50 North Massapequa 25.3%
51 Lynbrook 24.8%
52 Farmingville 24.7%
53 Centereach 24.6%
54 Stony Point 24.5%
55 Corning 24.0%
56 Canandaigua 24.0%
57 Long Beach 23.8%
58 Jefferson Valley-Yorktown 23.6%
59 Hauppauge 23.5%
60 Mastic 23.5%
61 Levittown 23.3%
62 Tonawanda 23.2%
63 East Massapequa 23.2%
64 West Seneca 23.0%
65 Oneonta 23.0%
66 Troy 22.9%
67 Rotterdam 22.8%
68 Eggertsville 22.8%
69 Geneva 22.7%
70 Plattsburgh 22.5%
71 Selden 22.4%
72 Shirley 22.4%
73 Olean 22.4%
74 Binghamton 22.3%
75 Massena 22.2%
76 Fort Drum 22.1%
77 Watertown 22.0%
78 Lockport 21.8%
79 North Bellmore 21.6%
80 Beacon 21.5%
81 Oneida 21.3%
82 Setauket-East Setauket 21.2%
83 Nanuet 21.0%
84 Fredonia 21.0%
85 Lancaster 21.0%
86 Kingston 20.8%
87 Endwell 20.8%
88 Terryville 20.7%
89 North Tonawanda 20.6%
90 Rye 20.5%
91 Tonawanda 20.5%
92 Glens Falls 20.5%
93 Elmira 20.4%
94 West Babylon 20.4%
95 Greece 20.3%
96 Commack 20.1%
97 Greenlawn 20.0%
98 Elwood 19.8%
99 Coram 19.6%
100 Copiague 19.6%
101 Oceanside 19.5%
102 Johnson City 19.5%
103 Hicksville 19.2%
104 Endicott 19.1%
105 New City 19.1%
106 Fulton 18.9%
107 Patchogue 18.6%
108 Mineola 18.5%
109 Rome 18.4%
110 Riverhead 18.3%
111 Eastchester 18.0%
112 Deer Park 17.8%
113 Brighton 17.5%
114 Franklin Square 17.3%
115 Tarrytown 17.3%
116 Bellmore 17.2%
117 Depew 17.1%
118 Port Washington 17.1%
119 Ogdensburg 16.8%
120 Albany 16.8%
121 Irondequoit 16.7%
122 Suffern 16.4%
123 Gloversville 16.2%
124 North Lindenhurst 16.1%
125 Huntington Station 16.0%
126 Dobbs Ferry 15.7%
127 Jamestown 15.7%
128 East Meadow 15.6%
129 Batavia 15.6%
130 Lackawanna 15.5%
131 Syracuse 15.4%
132 Bay Shore 15.3%
133 Merrick 15.1%
134 North New Hyde Park 14.9%
135 Baldwin 14.6%
136 Cheektowaga 14.4%
137 Cortland 14.0%
138 Salisbury 14.0%
139 Amsterdam 13.9%
140 Mount Kisco 13.8%
141 Niagara Falls 13.7%
142 Dix Hills 13.7%
143 Syosset 13.5%
144 Buffalo 13.1%
145 Peekskill 12.8%
146 Schenectady 12.7%
147 Glen Cove 12.7%
148 Mamaroneck 12.4%
149 Harrison 12.2%
150 West Hempstead 12.2%
151 Poughkeepsie 11.9%
152 Middletown 11.9%
153 North Bellport 11.7%
154 Utica 11.6%
155 Yonkers 11.2%
156 Valley Stream 10.5%
157 Ithaca 9.9%
158 Plainview 9.8%
159 Dunkirk 9.7%
160 New Rochelle 9.7%
161 Ossining 9.5%
162 Rochester 9.2%
163 West Haverstraw 9.1%
164 White Plains 8.9%
165 Melville 8.7%
166 Westbury 8.7%
167 Scarsdale 7.8%
168 Freeport 7.2%
169 Central Islip 6.3%
170 Newburgh 6.0%
171 North Bay Shore 6.0%
172 Jericho 5.7%
173 Haverstraw 5.6%
174 North Valley Stream 5.3%
175 Great Neck 5.1%
176 New York 5.0%
177 Elmont 4.9%
178 Port Chester 4.6%
179 Mount Vernon 4.5%
180 Brentwood 4.0%
181 Uniondale 2.7%
182 North Amityville 2.2%
183 Woodmere 2.0%
184 Hempstead 1.9%
185 Monsey 1.5%
186 Wyandanch 1.2%
187 New Cassel 1.1%
188 Spring Valley 0.7%
189 Roosevelt 0.5%
190 Kiryas Joel 0.1%

 

Methodology

Our data are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey. For this study, residents who listed “Irish” or “Scottish-Irish” were counted as “Irish.” Only places with populations of 10,000 or over were ranked.


A man plays bagpipes in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Image via iStock.