On a swell of immigration that began in the 1640s and continued all the way through (and beyond) the Great Famine of the mid-nineteenth century, Irish immigrants made a place for themselves in large Eastern United States port cities like New York and Boston. But as jobs became less plentiful, many branched out, heading up the Hudson River from New York City and landing in the newly prosperous manufacturing centers in Troy and Albany. According to Discover Albany, thanks to this influx, the city currently boasts the fourth-largest Irish population in the country.
So it’s no surprise that Albany and Troy know how to do St. Patrick’s Day right. This year, with March 17 falling on a Sunday, both cities are planning a bunch of festivities for the day and evening before, which means you won’t have to drag yourself off to work or school the next day.
Get the celebratory ball rolling on March 16 with the Irish Sweat-er 5k Run, which races out of the blocks a little before 2:00 p.m. in downtown Albany. Sign up to run, or just plan to watch this charity event, which winds past some of the more interesting historic architecture in the city. Proceeds benefit Albany’s Irish American Heritage Museum.
Stick around for the 69th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Billed as the largest St. Patty’s parade between New York City and Boston, its colorful marchers fire up the bagpipes on Quail Street and travel along the 5k run route, starting at 2:00 p.m.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of the outdoors—it is March in the Northeast, after all—warm up with Troy’s “St. Practice Day” Kilt Crawl. A “passport”-guided pub crawl throughout the Collar City, it kicks off with an opening ceremonial pour at 12:00 p.m. and continues until the last of the passports are turned in (and redeemed for possible prizes) at the Takk House Parlor at 8:00 p.m.
Then it’s time to plant yourself and enjoy some food, beer, and cocktails. Take your pick of these Irish hot spots, guaranteed to offer a lively evening of drinks and camaraderie:
Ryan’s Wake—With its dark-wood, leaded-glass interior, Ryan’s Wake has the feel of a pub in Dublin . . . only with much better food. It also has plenty of Irish-inspired cocktails and beers, plus a dozen Irish whiskeys.
Brown’s Brewing Co.—For their Countdown to St. Patrick’s Day party, the craft brew experts at Brown’s will host live music and dance performances, including by fiddler Ryan Delaney. The music will play all the way up till midnight, when revelers ring in the holiday.
Ale House—A perennial favorite for those who love Irish music, count on the Ale House to also keep the cold beer flowing and wings roasting all night long.
McGeary’s Irish Pub—26 beers on tap and 40 bottle-numbers to choose from, plus Irish inspired dishes and music.
Public House 42—Traditional Irish-American favorites, including all-day Irish Breakfast, plus several Irish beers on tap.
Il Faro—While not an Irish restaurant, Il Faro knows it’s always five o’clock somewhere, so they’ll be offering a full bar with drink specials, including well cocktails and Jameson shots, starting at 11:00 a.m. Their Pearl St. location, at the end of the parade route, makes Il Faro a great pit stop for libations, corned beef sandwiches, and the restaurant’s own Corned Beef with Cabbage and House Ground Ribeye Shepherd’s Pie. If you’re out and about on Sunday, whether you’re planning to get fluthered or just looking for a little more St. Patrick’s Day fun along the Hudson, local law firm Martin, Harding & Mazzotti is sponsoring a Free Cab Ride Home program from noon to midnight. Do yourself—and the rest of the folks on a road—a solid and take them up on it by calling 800-529-1010.
Early Bird Celebrations
Robin Catalano believes in the power of storytelling to connect communities and cultures. She’s applied her creative approach to writing for magazines, books, blogs, websites, and a wide variety of marketing projects, and has published more than 75 articles and 1,000+ blog posts. As an editor, she has worked on more than 350 books for publishers including Penguin Random House, Workman, and Simon & Schuster. She has also served as a book coach for independent authors, helping them take their ideas from concept to print. An avid traveler and travel writer, Robin lives, reads, and writes voraciously in upstate NY.