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St. Patrick’s Day merriment: Food, music in Irish tradition

Old-fashioned Irish music sessions are a Sunday afternoon

Old-fashioned Irish music sessions are a Sunday afternoon treat at Cannon's Blackthorn in Rockville Centre. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

This St. Patrick’s Day season, go traditional with an authentic Irish experience melding music, food and merriment.


Rockville Centre is a hub for Irish culture, particularly at Cannon’s Blackthorn, where old-fashioned Irish music sessions run 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays. Musicians sit in front of a warm fireplace and rotate in from song-to-song.

“The musicians whisper between themselves, find out what chord they are in and put it together,” says co-owner Steve Holihan. “You will never see the same thing twice.”

Brunch options include a traditional Irish breakfast (Irish sausage, rashers, black and white pudding and home fries).

INFO $15.95 (includes an entree and two brunch cocktails), 516-594-1222,


After Mineola’s 66th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 5, the Irish American Society’s headquarters is the hub for an afternoon of shamrock-themed fun.

Attendees can feast on corned beef and cabbage while Peter McKiernan and Jimmy Lavin provide the live traditional Irish music. A performance by the Donny Golden School of Irish Dance is highlighted at 3:30 p.m. and the dance floor is open for those who feel limber.

INFO $5 admission (food and drinks a la carte), 516-746-9392,


This East Islip restaurant/lounge is the place for Gaelic good times.

“We are Irish-oriented 365 days per year,” says owner Gerry Finlay, who leads the Cara Band on Saturday nights, performing Irish ditties on guitar and mandolin.

On Sunday evenings, the Tommy Mulvihill Band takes over from 6-10 p.m. performing oldies and dance tunes peppered with Irish classics during “Roast Night” where a duet of turkey and prime rib is served.

Mulvihill breaks out his fiddle to Irish up tunes by the Beatles and Billy Joel.

INFO No cover, 631-581-5678,


The Wolfe Tones come direct from Ireland on March 2 for their annual visit to the Amityville pub where they have performed for the past 40 years.

“It’s a celebration of Irish history,” says general manager Peter Higgins. “They have some fierce rebel songs, plus it can get emotional in the room during a ballad.”

The group plays original songs such as “The Streets of New York,” “Joe McDonnell” and “Grace” as well as classics such as “When Irish Eyes are Smiling.”

Dinner is served at 5 p.m. before the tables are removed to make way for theater-style seating in time for the 8 p.m. show, which runs up to three hours without an intermission.

Tickets are $40 per person and are sold only in advance at the restaurant.

An alternative is Irish night on Wednesdays with Ed Ryan from 7-10 p.m. where there’s no cover charge.

Ryan plays tunes from Van Morrison, U2 as well as traditional Irish songs while guests raise a pint of Guinness, Harp Lager or Smithwick’s Ale. The pub offers $12 Irish entrees such as shepherd’s pie, Irish beef stew or bangers and mash.

INFO 631-464-4445,


The Willoughby Brothers entertain at the East Islip pub March 9 while guests partake in a four-course dinner ($65). These six brothers perform their hit, “Where the Blarney Roses Grow,” as well as selections from their 2013 album, “Irish Heart.” 

Seniors can get in on the green action during an Irish lunch on March 15 with the New Serenaders ($38). The duo of Joe DePiola and Susan Capri performs seasonal favorites such as “The Unicorn Song,” “McNamara’s Band” and “Danny Boy” while guests dine on entrees such as Dublin-style fish and chips.

For a traditional celebration, Irish step dancers, bagpipers and live Irish music will make up the St. Patrick’s Day Party on March 17 ($55), which includes a sit-down dinner of corned beef and cabbage, or shepherd’s pie.

INFO 631-277-0007,

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