America, Destinations, People, Things To Do

The Most Irish City In The U.S.A.

With all the recent St. Patrick’s Day activity, some of you may have wondered:  “What is the most Irish city in the country?  Many think the most Irish city in America is Boston, Massachusetts.  It’s not.

Most Irish City
Butte, Montana/Image courtesy of Irish Central

What Is The Most Irish City In The U.S.A.?  

Forget the green river in Chicago, Illinois.  Forget the famous parade in South Boston.  Don’t bother trying to guess; you won’t get it right.  The most Irish city in America is currently Butte, Montana.

According to the latest U.S. Census (and the “Los Angeles Times”), Butte, Montana is now the most Irish city in the U.S. per capita.  Nearly 25 percent of the city’s residents are reported to be of Irish descent.   Why is Butte, Montana so Irish?

Most Irish City
Miners in Butte, Montana/Image courtesy of Irish Central

Why is Butte, Montana So Irish?

The city is said by some to be a polyglot.  Historically speaking, the mining industry attracted immigrants from several different countries including China, Europe, and Serbia.  The city was in a sense built by a predominantly Irish culture.  Additionally, when the Irish ambassador to the U.S. travels here, Butte is a regular stop.

Butte, Montana/Image courtesy of TeamUpTop

How Does Butte’s Being The Most Irish City In The United States Influence St. Patrick’s Day?

Just like other “Irish cities”, Butte holds a big parade.  They block off and shut down many of the streets in downtown Butte.  Since Butte has a significant labor history, all the nationwide unions send their head representatives to march in it.  

Butte, Montana/Image courtesy of The Beer Barrel

Their annual parade also features Irish dancers, both local and from across the country, politicians, local youth organizations and groups of Pipers.  Since the city does not at present have an open container law, a significant number of those in attendance can be seen all along the parade route enjoying a green beer or drinking whiskey from personal hip flasks.  The locals are reputed to be friendly and welcoming to strangers too.

When St. Patrick’s falls on a weekend–Friday, Saturday, or Sunday–the parade easily draws a crowd of approximately 100,000 people.  In order to understand the significance of this, one needs to remember that the city’s population is under 30,000.  Thus, Butte’s population will literally triple on a St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Most Irish City
Butte, Montana/Image courtesy of LA Times

What Is There To See In The Most Irish City In The U.S.A After St. Patrick’s Day?

Butte actually boasts several museums including their World Museum of Mining.  You can sample the spirits at Headframe Spirits, enjoy the view from Granite Mountain Memorial Overlook, or have a beer at the Muddy Creek Brewery.  So even if you miss the St. Patrick’s Day celebration, you can still have a good time.

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