Our Favorite Irish Spots in Philly

March 9, 2021

Irish heritage has always been a big part of Philadelphia’s history. Philly was a popular destination for Irish immigrants during colonial times and is home to one of the largest populations of Irish-Americans in the country today. Usually, this Irish heritage is on full display all March long, with events throughout the city leading up to our St. Patty’s Day parade – the second oldest in the country!

While large St Patty’s Day celebrations had to be postponed understandably, that doesn’t mean you can’t explore Philly’s rich Irish history. We put together a list of some of our favorite Irish spots in the city so you can experience the culture while staying safe:

The Plough & the Stars

While there are many Irish Pubs in Philly, The Plough & the Stars shines in the field of Irish cuisine. Beer battered Irish bangers (sausages), shrimp and chicken entrees with Irish-style curry, and traditional soda bread are all regulars on their menu. At the same time, their signature ham and cabbage special usually only makes an appearance in March. For a real treat, stop by the Old City eatery during their weekend brunch to enjoy a traditional Irish breakfast with all the fixings.

The Irish Memorial Monument

Located in a small park beside Penn’s Landing, the Irish Memorial Monument is a powerful tribute to the Irish people’s resiliency. The monument honors the Great Hunger victims, also known as the Irish Potato Famine, which took the lives of over a million people and forced another million to immigrate to America in the 1800s. The memorial depicts the Irish immigrant’s journey from their tragic loss to their success as immigrants here in Philly. It is a moving tribute for people of all heritages.

photo by @cgallagherross

Old St. Mary’s and Old St Joseph’s Churches

Just a few blocks from each other in Society Hill are Philadelphia’s first two Catholic Churches: Old St Joseph’s and Old St. Mary’s. The historic churches are over 250 years old and served as a refuge for many Irish Americans facing persecution for their Catholic faith. St Mary’s was host to the Continental Congress four times and is the final resting place of many important colonial Irish Americans. Both churches are still active to this day.

Fadó Irish Pub

Around the corner and a block away from the Touraine is Fadó’s: a Dublin-style pub which means "long ago" in Gaelic. The pub was opened by Irish immigrants and is a great spot to drink a Guinness and experience that famous Irish hospitality. If you’re a soccer fan, Fadó’s is a great place to watch the European leagues while enjoying an early morning beer.

The Commodore Barry Statue

In front of the formal entrance to Independence Hall is a statue commemorating a vital person in Irish-American history: John Barry. An Irish immigrant, Barry started as a ship hand and rose to lead the navy in the Revolutionary War. George Washington gave him Commodore’s rank, and today, he is one of three people known as the “Father of the American Navy.”

We hope you found some new places to explore Irish history here in Philly! The Irish are just one of the many different cultures that have helped shape Philly into the unique and diverse city we know and love today. Be sure to check back in with the Spruce Street Commons blog next month as we continue to explore the fantastic city we call home.