Six cities here in Upstate New York that have the most Irish-American citizens in the country. Are you living in one of them?

St. Patrick's Day Is Sunday

Scotland v Republic of Ireland: 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup - Play-Off Round 2
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In just a few days, Americans everywhere will dress up in green and head to their closest Irish pub to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

New York City was recently crowned one of the best places to celebrate this uniquely American holiday, in addition to being named the place with the best Irish pub in America.

Read More: One of America's Best Irish Bars Is This Historic Ale House in NY

New York was also found to be the place with the most Irish pubs per capita, which explains why so many people make the pilgrimage to the Big Apple to celebrate St. Patrick.

And while slinging green beer and wearing shamrock glasses is considered traditional St. Patrick's Day fare, there are several cities where the partying will be a lot more authentic.

According to data from the U.S. Census, six cities in Upstate New York have the highest Irish populations in the country.

New York's Most Irish Cities

New York Celebrates Irish With Annual St Patrick's Day Parade
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The U.S. Census tracks the ethnicities and races of the American people. Under the section that asks for a person's "race," they have several different options for those who identify as white, Black, or Native American.

In those sections, respondents are encouraged to fill out their ancestry and say where their family hails from, such as Germany or Poland. From there, the Census can determine the exact cultural makeup of its citizens.

Based on most recent data, the Census was able to determine the large cities, medium cities, small cities as well as towns and villages with the highest number of Irish residents.

Buffalo came in as the 7th largest city in the United States with the highest percentage of Irish ancestry. According to data, about 11.23 percent of its population identify as Irish American.

In the medium-size cities category, Albany came in fourth place with 18.1 percent of its total population claiming to have Irish ancestry. Further down the list, in 11th place, was Syracuse with 12.4 pecent of its residents claiming to be Irish.

When looking at small cities, towns and villages, Breezy Point had the seventh largest share of Irish residents with 48 percent of its population claiming to have roots from the Emerald Isle.

Pearl River came in ninth overall with 45.75 percent of its residents claiming to be Irish while Troy was in 24th place with a total share of 24.3 percent.

Origins of St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland who reportedly expelled all the snakes from the Emerald Isle. The holiday traces its roots back to the 17th century and celebrates Christianity being brought to the Irish. Prior to its conversion, the island followed the Celtic pagan religion.

St. Patrick was born in the 4th century and was said to have been kidnapped by Irish raiders as a child, where he served as slave. He said he found God during that time and was eventually returned home, where he went on to become a priest.

During the 5ht century, he served as a Romano-British Christian missionary and returned to Ireland as a Bishop. While he went to expel pagan practices, popular lore said he drove all the "snakes" from the island and into the sea. Historians claim snakes didn't inhabit the region then, nor do they now, so you can imagine what the allegory truly means.

Read More: New York Has 6 of the Most Rat-Infested Cities in America

Fun fact, the only reptilian species to have established itself on the island is the common lizard.

St. Patrick's Day has since gone on to become the most celebrated national festival in the world, as multple countries observe it. However, while Ireland tends to view St. Patrick's as a holy day, America has a different interpretation.

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in America

Near Queenstown
Henry Guttmann Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The holiday was brought to America around 1760 via indentured servants of the British Army and the first St. Patrick's Day parade was held in New York City.

The holiday grew tremendously in popularity during the Irish potato famine of 1845 and continued political upheaval, which prompted mass immigration to the United States. Irish immigrants were looked down upon by the rest of America and, in the 19th Century, propoganda began spreading that the Irish were going to strain welfare budgets and take away all the jobs.

Not only that, Americans said the Irish brought crime and other bad habits with them, with some people labeling them as rapists.

Sound familiar?

During this time, Irish immigrants were also discriminated against because of their religion and Protestant Americans felt justified in destroying their homes and torching their churches. One historic incident was the Bible Riots of 1844 in Philadelphia.

At one time, New York Archbishop John Hughes armed his people to protect St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, so the native-born Irish people were safe.

More atrocities were committed against Irish immigrants during that time, which is why they clung to St. Patrick's Day as a way to celebrate their roots and justify their identities. Celebrations were also fueled by defiance.

As St. Patrick's Day grew in popularity, so did the "tolerance" for the Irish. Eventually, the Irish assimilated into Americna culture and it became a badge of honor to show off one's Celtic roots.

Corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots

However, the holiday took some twists as it became more popular in the country. The traditional meal of coned beef and cabbage was a uniquely American innovation - because corned beef was a cheaper protein choice.

Drinking also became a popular way to celebrate the holiday despite, back in Ireland, pubs were ordered close because it was a holy day. In fact, Ireland didn't allow bars or pubs to open on March 17 until 1961, reports the History Channel.

While St. Patrick's Day is celebrated globally, America is known to get the most rowdy when it comes to saluting the Irish. And while more and more countries are adopting some of the more Irish-American traditions, there is one thing that will never catch on in Ireland itself.

While you may enjoy a frothy green beer at your local Irish pub on Sunday, the tradition is also uniquely American and probably will never catch on in Ireland.

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Top Rated Irish Bars in Central New York

Not everyone will be able to head to the Big Apple for St. Patrick's Day - if they even want to. But for those who want to grab a pint and celebrate their Irish roots with friends, here's some of the most highly-rated Irish pubs in Central New York.

Gallery Credit: Megan

How Irish Is Central New York?

According to statistics from the U.S. Census, here is what percentage of each Central New York county in terms of Irish population. Out of 100% of people living there, how many have Irish descent?

Gallery Credit: Vinnie Martone

The Ultimate Guide to 32 Of the Best Upstate New York Irish Pubs

There is nothing quite like a visit to an Irish pub on St. Patrick's Day. Here are 32 of Upstate's "greenest" pubs!

There are all kinds of bars. Lounges, sports bars, dance club bars, etc. But there is something so warm and friendly, so old-timey, so "Cheers-like" about an Irish pub. Back in the day the denizens of these friendly places were usually blue collar working men and women who stopped at their neighborhood Irish bar to chat and visit after getting out of the local factory. On weekends the pub was crowded with happy people, our parents and grandparents, enjoying a sip, Bing Crosby on the jukebox, and a bowl of Irish stew.

Today, you are more than likely to find the demographics of an Irish pub a whole lot younger. And that is a good thing.

This gallery looks at 32 of the best Irish pubs in Upstate New York.

See you at one of them for St. Paddy's Day!

Gallery Credit: Chuck D'Imperio

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