Mar 15, 2013
01:10 PMConnecticut Today
What's Connecticut's Most Irish Town?
Where will St. Patrick’s Day be celebrated the most in Connecticut this weekend?
According to 2010 U.S. Census data, Tolland County has the highest percentage of population self-identifying their ancestry as Irish, at 22.1 percent. That compares to 17.1 percent of Connecticut residents statewide, and slightly more than runner-up Middlesex County at 21.3 percent.
The least Irish regions of Connecticut are Hartford County, at 15.3 percent, and Fairfield County, at 15.6 percent.
New London County is at 19 percent, according to the Census, followed by Windham County at 18.3 percent, New Haven and Litchfield counties, each at 17.1 percent.
Statewide, Italians make up 19.1 percent of Connecticut’s population, followed by the Irish at 17.1 percent, German at 10.1 percent, English at 9.9 percent, Polish at 8.3 percent and French at 6.3 percent.
Connecticut is more Irish than the rest of the country. Nationwide, people of German ancestry top Census results at 16.4 percent, followed by Irish at 11.8 percent and Italian at 5.8 percent.
Bolton, in Tolland County, is Connecticut’s most Irish town, at 36.1 percent of the town’s population of 5,000. Some of Connecticut’s other “most Irish” towns are Marlborough, at 30.5 percent, Madison, at 29.7 percent, and Sherman, at 29.4 percent.
Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven are “least Irish,” at 3.5, 5.1 and 7.1 percent.
Despite being the "least" Irish city in the state, the enthusiasm for food and drink from the Emerald Isle in Hartford is strong. Unofficially, there seems to be the highest concentration of Irish pubs here, including McKinnon's Irish Pub, Vauhan's Public House, The Half Door and the city's self-proclaimed "oldest" Irish bar, The Maple Cafe.
Since Tolland County self-identifies as the "most Irish," maybe that's the place to be this St. Patrick's Day weekend. If you're in the area and looking to celebrate your Irish heritage (even if it's adopted for the day), try the Harp on Church in downtown Willimantic. The family-run establishment is usually closed on Sundays, but of course is open for St. Patrick's day with a celebration to make any Irish eyes smile. They'll be opening at 10 a.m. for "Kegs & Eggs." featuring traditional Irish breakfast, and then celebrate throughout the day with raffles, Irish step dancers and Irish music from local band Diomasach. And of course, there's plenty of corned beef and cabbage, stew and green beer. Enoy!