A Trip to Irish South Buffalo
In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s only right to give a proper nod to Buffalo’s Irish community built over the last two centuries.
So I strapped on my Irish dancing shoes, grabbed a drinking, ahem, I mean tour buddy (my boyfriend, a self-proclaimed history buff) and headed to South Buffalo to do some exploring.
Our tour started at the epicenter of the South Buffalo Irish community, the Buffalo Irish Center. We had the chance to meet up with Mary Heneghan, current chairman of the Gaelic American Athletic Association (GAAA.) We talked parades, food, music and a little history. I learned that the Center, established in 1970, was intended to be a spot for Irish Americans to come together to celebrate and promote music, dance, education, genealogy and Irish language.
From mid-February to the end of March all eyes seem to be on South Buffalo. The main event at the Buffalo Irish Center is on March 17 beginning with mass at 10:45 a.m. followed by a traditional Irish breakfast at 11:45 a.m. and music and dancing throughout the day into the evening. And the fun continues on March 18 as the Irish Center hosts even more dancing with Rince na Tiarna and Clann na Cara. Check out the Irish Center’s Facebook page for all the details.
Year round, the Buffalo Irish Center remains open to the public offering food, spirits, music and classes. It even holds a “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” celebration in mid-September. A fairly new festival tradition, the South Buffalo Irish Feis held in Cazenovia Park is a day-long event featuring local businesses, services, food, dance and music. As of 2018, a new group will be taking the reins on this hooley of a festival.
At Tara Gift Shoppe, located at 250 Abbott Road and McKay’s at 851 Abbott Road, you’ll find beautiful, hand-crafted, authentic gifts and apparel from the “Emerald Isle” and local artisans.
And then there’s the pub scene. Irish are known for a ritualistic pub culture, and of course, the South Buffalo neighborhoods do not disappoint in this arena. So, if you’re looking to “spin a yarn” at a local friendly Irish bar, South Buffalo pub owners will welcome you with open arms. Here’s just a sampling:
Blackthorn, 2134 Seneca Street
Blarney Castle, 1856 South Park Avenue
Doc Sullivan’s, 474 Abbott Road
Hoppers Rush Inn, 2104 Seneca Street
Daly’s, 2423 Seneca Street
Talty’s, 2056 South Park Avenue
So there you have it, a whirlwind tour of Buffalo’s Irish community!