My family is Irish to the core! We love meat and potatoes, we sunburn easily, I have a redheaded daughter, and we LIVE for March 17th to come around each year. From the Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade to parties and every Irish event in between, this city knows how to do it up right and my family is always excited to be along for the ride!
But here we are again. With canceled parades and festivities, we are facing another year of St. Patrick’s Day at home. But just because it’s another year of the holiday looking different, doesn’t mean we still can’t enjoy and explore Kansas City’s rich Irish heritage through some of its finest businesses, people, and products.
This St. Patrick’s Day, check out a few of my favorite Irish KC staples and your Irish eyes will be smiling right along with mine! Sláinte!
Browne’s Irish Marketplace
This, folks, is your one-stop shop for all things Irish! Browne’s Irish Marketplace is the oldest Irish business in North America and is located in the heart of KC! The market first opened in 1887 and moved to its permanent location at 33rd and Pennsylvania in 1901 where it still stands today. Four generations of family ownership later, it is run by Kerry Browne and her husband John McClain. One step into Browne’s and you’ll feel like family. From the rooms of Irish goods, home decor, and clothing to the most delicious deli where you can grab a bite and brew—Browne’s is warm, cozy, and welcoming.
Since the pandemic hit, they’ve introduced take-and-bake meals like Irish Stew, Shepherd’s Pie, Corned Beef and Cabbage, and so much more. Grab one of their award-winning Reubens and a pack of Guinness to take home while you’re at it!
Kansas City’s Irish music scene is a great one with so many wonderful musicians and bands to check out, but for me and my lil’ ol’ Irish heart, there is one band that is my go-to when I want to hear some good tunes: The Elders. This Kansas City-based band has entertained Kansas Citians and beyond since 1998. After years of headlining Celtic Festivals all over North America and Europe and taking fans on their annual tour of Ireland, they announced they were saying goodbye and played their last show Thanksgiving Night 2018 when they played the Plaza Lighting ceremony. After a heartbreaking loss in 2020 of their guitarist, Steve Phillips, The Elders announced in February that they were heading back into the studio because they had “some unfinished business to bring to life.” Fans, including myself, are looking forward to newly released material whenever that arrives.
In the meantime, pull up some of my favorite songs and enjoy. Check out “Moore St. Girls,” “Packy Go Home,” and “American Wake.” If you want to cry…listen to “Men of Erin.”
Kansas City Irish Center
They say everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and that’s true! And there is no better place to celebrate being Irish than at the Kansas City Irish Center. Whether Ireland truly runs through your blood or if you’re just Irish for the day, the center welcomes everyone with open (and socially distant) arms with their fun events and programming! From monthly genealogy workshops online to cooking classes, whiskey academies, online concerts, pints on the patio, and more, there is something for everyone. Do you have a special Irish lad or lass in your life? Surprise them with a brick with their name engraved on it and placed in the walkway leading up to the center.
Five Farms Irish Cream
There have been many years where I’ve started my St. Paddy’s morning with a mug of hot coffee and a generous pour of Irish cream. It warms my belly up for the sometimes blustery temperatures of March 17th. But a couple of years ago, my go-to cold weather warm-up changed forever when I was introduced to Five Farms Irish Cream. This Irish cream that is imported by our own Holladay Distillery in Weston, MO is an absolute game changer! It’s a true farm-to-table product using single batches of fresh cream gathered from the cows of five farms in County Cork, Ireland, and then blended with fine Irish whisky and holy cow (yeah, I said it) it’s the best Irish cream you can buy.
Irish Dance Schools
If you’ve attended any Irish function in Kansas City, you’ve likely been lucky enough to witness the amazing talent of the various Irish Dance schools from around town. From taking their high jumps down Broadway during the parade to delighting the crowds of the Kansas City Irish Fest, many of us have dreams of Riverdancing our ways through the hearts of many. You can explore the classes offered at the various Irish Dance Schools like Driscoll School of Irish Dance, O’Riada Manning Academy of Irish Dance, and Heartland Irish Dancers.
But if you’re looking for some immediate fun to do with your kiddos on St. Patrick’s Day, fire up the computer and check out this virtual dance workshop with teacher Annie Stark from The Driscoll School of Irish Dance.
Wishing you and all of Kansas City a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!