Scranton Pennsylvania has a very strong Irish tradition. During the 1800’s Irish immigrants came to the area for work in the local coal mines. These original Irish Americans can be credited to a large degree for precipitating the area’s industrial boom through their labor in the mines and working on the Erie Railroad connection in Great Bend. Though these early immigrants had a challenging life of hard labor, long hours, and low pay, they persevered and had an undeniably positive lasting impact on the region.
Today, Scranton celebrates this very prominent Irish tradition and those early immigrants who helped build the region by hosting their annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, first held in 1862. This parade is the fourth largest in the US. Always held the Saturday before St. Pat’s, the parade is a diverse collection of over 8,000 people, bands, bagpipers, dance groups etc.
Some estimates place the event attendance at 150,000 people, making it the city’s largest annual event by far.
Local pubs and restaurants throw festive parties to coincide with the parade with plenty of live music and pints of Guinness, Harp, Smithwicks, whichever Irish beer you prefer with your corned beef and boiled veggies.
Little known fact about Montana, but the state has very strong ties to Ireland and the early Irish immigrants who came the region for mining jobs. To this day, Butte and surrounding communities have a very active and quite sizable Irish community.
With a population of around 33,000, Butte is one of the only communities in the country to have an Irish-American population density of above 20% (based on 2010 Census data).
The area attracted early Irish immigrants during the 1800’s for jobs in the mining industry. The city in it’s early years was extremely cross-cultural with immigrants from Ireland, Eastern Europe, China, and Canada all coming to the area for the coal mining boom.
Butte celebrates this Irish past with their annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities, including a 135 year old parade. These festivities attract upwards of 30,000 people to the city’s Historic Uptown District.
The parade is led by an Irish Catholic organization, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, founded in New York City in 1836.
These roots in Irish-Catholicism, help to keep a very close knit and family oriented Irish community in the region.
Butte is interestingly one of only a handful of cities in the country that allow for open containers on public streets. This only helps to fuel the city’s St. Pat’s celebrations as people are able to cheer on parade floats with Guinness in hand. This coupled with the beautiful mountain backdrop make Butte one of the best St. Patrick’s celebrations in the country hands down.
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