Around the World in Houston: Discover Ireland

around-the-world-in-houston-discover-ireland
Photo courtesy of Houston St. Patrick's Parade

With a labyrinth of cultures represented in every nook and cranny of town, Houston is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in America. To celebrate this world-class melting pot, we’ll be exploring a new region of the globe through a Houston lens each week, from annual festivals and museums to restaurants and cultural experiences. Join the journey with our Around the World in Houston series.

From Irish stew cook-offs and Saint Patrick’s Day shenanigans to clubs celebrating cultural traditions, music, and dance, transport yourself to Ireland without leaving the city.

Annual Festivals & Cultural Events

  • Houston St. Patrick’s Day Parade The Houston Saint Patrick’s Day parade will run for its 59th year in 2018. The free rain-or-shine event draws crowds and over 100 entries, making it one of the largest in the U.S. Afterward (and often in the weeks leading up to it), look out for Saint Paddy’s Day celebrations around town at spots like Griff’s, Lucky’s Pub and more.
  • Irish Gala This annual gala benefits the University of St. Thomas William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies, with the 2018 event set for Friday, November 2.
  • Rory Miggins Memorial Irish Stew Cook-off & Music Festival  This yearly Irish stew cook-off offers samples from teams, live Irish music, dancers and bagpipers and more.

Museums & Cultural Organizations

  • The Irish Society of Houston Started as a heritage society in 1999, this non-political, nonsectarian organization acts as the home of Houston’s Irish community, enriching the local culture through events like the Miggin’s Irish Stew Cook-Off & Music Festival, annual Saint Patrick’s Celebration Dinner and more.
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston The European Art collection at this Museum District gem boasts paintings and sculpture from the 13th to early 20th century.

Irish Food & Drink

Restaurants & Bars

  • Clancy’s Public House Over in Richmond, this Irish public house offers classics like shepherd’s pie, Guinness-battered fish and chips, and Irish-American-style corned beef and cabbage.
  • The Goose’s Acre Channel the Emerald Isle at this Woodlands Waterway jewel, which offers things like shepherd’s pie and four finger whiskey-glazed pork chops. The St. Paddy’s Day festivities are also top notch.
  • The Gorgeous Gael  Located in Rice Village and run by Irishmen, this popular watering hole offers pub grub (think Guinness burgers and Irish nachos) mixed with authentic dishes like Irish beef stew and Shepherd’s pie. Don’t forget the Jameson bread pudding.
  • Irish Pub Kenneally’s This friendly neighborhood pub has been serving the River Oaks area since 1983. Get a pull of Irish stout and dig into housemade chips done “Irish nacho style.” The bar also hosts an annual “Under the Tent” party in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day.
  • McGonigel’s Mucky Duck McGonigel’s is your one-stop shop for live music, whiskey, and Guinness-fueled good times (it’s even the recipient of a St. James Gate Perfect Pint certificate from the makers of Guinness, itself). Head here for shows and dig into traditional pub fare, from shepherd’s pie to Irish stew; and be sure to look out for special Saint Patrick’s Day shenanigans.
  • McElroy’s PubIrish owned and operated, this Upper Kirby spot is the perfect place to nestle into a “snug” and enjoy the perfect pint.
  • Mo’s Irish Pub Hit this Irish American pub to get modern takes on traditional fare, from a reuben boxty to Harp beer-battered fish and chips.
  • Molly’s PubsThese local Irish sports pubs have 18 locations in and around Houston, with posts in Downtown, Westchase, Clear Lake and more. Look out for the annual Saint Patrick’s Day parties, which rock Irish dancers, bagpipers, and Irish-inspired eats.
  • Pimlico Irish PubThis family-owned business dates back to a Dublin pub on Pimlico Street that the family lived above in the 1970s. One of the most authentic pubs in Houston, Pimlico has a proper pull, even boasting a Guinness Excellence Award. Look out for its annual Saint Patrick’s Day blowout.
  • Reserve 101 This Downtown whiskey hub rocks a number of Irish brownstuffs, from Bushmill’s 16-year Single Malt and Jameson Green Spot to Midleton Dair Ghaelach Batch 1.
  • Shay McElroy’s This sibling pub to McElroy’s sits in the middle of the action in Downtown. With lush furnishings from the Rice Hotel and a bar imported from Ireland, the pub lends itself to both a quiet afternoon drink and rowdy night.

Grocery

  • British Isles This import shop offers a selection of Irish goods and traditional eats, from teas and marmalades to breakfast sausages and black and white pudding.

Classes, Education Centers, Groups & Meet-Ups

  • The William J. Flynn Center for Irish StudiesThe Irish studies academic and cultural program at the University of St. Thomas has been voted one of the top 10 Centers for Irish Studied in the U.S. In addition to being a hub for students, the center hosts around a dozen free cultural events each year, highlighting Irish, Northern Irish, and Scots Irish topics like language, art, music, dance, history, literature, politics, theology, church history, science, and technology.
  • Irish Network Houston Connect with Irish, Irish Americans, and friends of Ireland through a variety of social meetups, educational talks and cultural events. Follow along on Facebook for calendar updates and more.
  • Houston British & Irish Expat Meetup Connect with fellow Irish expats through this eclectic meetup group, which hosts monthly meetup lunches.
  • Houston Gaels Gaelic Athletic Club This athletic club strives to expose the city of Houston to the Gaelic games, promoting Irish culture in the form of its most popular Gaelic sports (Gaelic football and soccer) and offering a local social scene.
  • The Cass-Barrington Academy of Irish Dance This dance academy offers instruction for traditional Irish step dancing in the greater Houston area, with studio locations in The Heights, The Woodlands, Katy, and Pearland.

Other Notables

  • BlaggardsLed by guitarist and singer Patrick Devlin, who grew up in Dublin, Ireland, this Celtic rock band plays shows at spots like Molly’s, Ashford Pub, and Discovery Green.
  • Celtic Chorus of HoustonThis non-profit, all-volunteer musical group seeks to preserve traditional Celtic folk and pub music around Houston.
  • Irish Aires Radio The oldest Irish/Celtic radio program locally produced in Texas, this radio show is broadcast on KPFT-FM (90.1FM) between 6pm and 7pm every Saturday night, playing music and showcasing local events. It is also available online at KPFT.org.