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The Seasoned Traveler: Cheers to Boston’s Irish

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February 27th, 2009
Since it became the first city to publicly observe St. Patrick s Day in 1737, Boston continues to celebrate its Irish heritage. Travelers to the city looking for a bit of the Irish luck have plenty to keep them entertained, especially with this month s holiday festivities. The Irish developed a presence in Boston even before the Revolutionary War, but with the Great Famine of 1845, another 100,000 Irish refugees arrived in the city. Today, the Irish are the leading ancestry group in the Boston area, and from the city s ubiquitous Irish pubs to its basketball champions, the Celtics, it shows. History and hope Once you ve unloaded your suitcases, step out into the historic Copley Square for a look atBoston Public Library, the nation s oldest public library and an impressive structure with a pink marble vestibule and grand staircase flanked by lion statues. Sift through the library s collection of Irish literature, music, and photographs, or wander through the galleries and courtyard for an escape from the city noise. A pleasant walk down Boylston Street will take you to theBoston Irish Famine Memorial. Alongside the Downtown Crossing shopping area, two sculptures, designed by Robert Shure, depict the despair of a family forced to leave Ireland and the hope of another family s arrival in Boston. Boston s Irish pubs are plentiful, but a short walk over to Government Center will take you toThe Kinsale Irish Pub & Restaurant. The Kinsale s fish and chips are perfectly battered with a thin, crispy shell, and come with a generous portion of fries and fresh cole slaw. Save room because dessert options are also available in petite portions. On Tuesday and Saturday evenings expect to hear live music from your table. While you re in the area, pass through City Hall Plaza toFaneuil Hall Marketplacefor your souvenir needs. Kiosks inside Quincy Market and specialty stores outside have all you could conceive of in both Boston and Irish paraphernalia. Famous parading You may want to don your newly purchased green gear for the famousSt. Patrick s Day paradein South Boston on Sunday, March 15. The second-largest St. Patrick s Day parade in the country brings about 850,000 jubilant spectators to "Southie," as it is affectionately known. The area was a predominately Irish working-class neighborhood and is still home to many Irish-themed establishments. For a retreat from the commotion, head down Broadway toCastle Island, a family favorite along Pleasure Bay in South Boston. Walking paths lead to Fort Independence and Carson Beach. Pick a spot and sit down with hot dogs and hamburgers or ice cream from nearby Sullivan s eatery. After a long day of sightseeing and Irish kinship, reward yourself with a pint at another Irish pub and proclaim "Slainte" (pronounced, "slon-cha"), or "cheers," to a trip well taken.

Around town in Boston

Boston Public Library 700 Boylston Street, 617-536-5400 http://www.bpl.org/ The Boston Irish Famine Memorial Washington and School Street http://www.boston.com/famine/ The Kinsale Irish Pub & Restaurant 2 Center Plaza, Cambridge Street, 617-742-5577 http://www.classicirish.... St. Patrick s Day parade Sunday, March 15 at 1:00 p.m. Begins at the Broadway MBTA stop on the Red Line in South Boston http://www.irishmassachus... Boston Irish Tourism Association http://www.irishmassachusetts.comhttp://www.mbta.com The Irish Heritage Trail Maps out numerous Irish destinations throughout the Boston area. http://www.irishheritagetrail.com

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