14. Little Ireland in Woodlawn, The Bronx
In the northern Bronx, just above its namesake cemetery and east of Van Cortlandt Park, you can find New York City’s own Little Ireland. The neighborhood of Woodlawn Heights, or simply Woodlawn, has been a destination for the Irish exodus in New York City. Though originally populated by Germans, Woodlawn is now predominantly Irish with its share of Italian-Americans as well. Many of New York City’s early Irish immigrants arrived after fleeing the Irish Potato Famine. Many of the original Bronx Irish residents came to work on construction projects including the High Bridge and New York and Harlem Railroad. Many Irish residents developed and joined Catholic churches across the borough, with quite a few Irish-owned small businesses also scattered in neighborhoods like Mott Haven and Pelham Parkway.
Although Woodlawn has its definitive borders, the Irish community is present on both sides of McLean Avenue, which serves as the border between New York City and Yonkers. The majority of residents have lived here for generations, making it home to both an Irish American and Irish immigrant population. The commotion can be felt on Katonah Avenue, one of the main commercial streets dotted with Irish pubs, cafés, restaurants, and shops specializing in authentic Irish imported goods and gifts. One of the more popular breakfast and lunch spots is the Irish Coffee Shop, known for its Irish breakfast with black and white pudding and Irish bacon, as well as dishes like shepherd’s pie and chicken curry. Rory Dolan’s is one of the largest restaurants on McLean Avenue, serving up comfort foods like Dublin-style fish and chips, steak and mushroom pie, and pan-seared calves livers. Aisling Irish Community & Cultural Center has been a main force in preserving Irish culture and history since its founding in the early 1990s, hosting photography exhibits, Irish dancing classes, Irish language courses, and scholarships for American students to visit Ireland.