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Long Island communities make NerdWallet’s list of ‘Most Irish Places’

From left, Liam Backer, 16, and Jack Waxon,

From left, Liam Backer, 16, and Jack Waxon, 17, dress as leprechauns for the Rockville Centre St. Patrick's Parade on March 24, 2012. The village was named the fourth most Irish place in New York by NerdWallet. Credit: Steven Sunshine

Call it Long Ireland.

The region dominated a list of the top 10 “Most Irish Places in New York” recently published by the financial education website NerdWallet.

Although the No. 1 spot went to Rockland County’s Pearl River, nine Long Island communities filled the rest of the rankings with Sayville, Garden City and Rockville Centre grabbing second, third and fourth place, respectively.

“We’re always happy to get positive recognition,” said John Watras, mayor of Garden City, which received attention for its Irish Cultural Society. (Watras said he's half Irish.)

The list also highlighted some of the traditional Irish pubs and restaurants located within these local communities including Cricket’s in Sayville and Monaghan’s and Cannon’s Blackthorn in Rockville Centre.

And of course, there are those parades that are held practically every weekend throughout the month of March on Long Island.

"We have one of the biggest parades in the whole state of New York,” said Rockville Centre Mayor Francis Murray, of the roughly two-hour spectacle that typically draws tens of thousands to the village.

The Rockville Centre St. Patrick’s Parade, which also raises money for a mix of local, national and Irish charities, will celebrate its 19th year on March 21 and the route will be lined with 100 Irish and American flags.

“There’s definitely Irish pride here,” said Murray, who also happens to be Irish-American. (He married his wife on St. Patrick's Day in 1973.)

Murray said he wasn’t surprised Rockville Centre made the list, but he did question if the village should be ranked higher.

“I think we have more Irish than Garden City,” he said.

But according to NerdWallet’s analysis, Rockville Centre’s percentage of residents with Irish ancestry was 36.9 percent, lower than Garden City’s 39.9 percent and Sayville’s 40.6 percent.

For the study, the site examined 190 places in the state, excluding towns with a population of fewer than 10,000 residents. Using data from the U.S Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey, they counted residents who listed themselves as “Irish” or “Scottish-Irish,” and ranked them as a percentage of all residents.

“Well, we definitely have more if the statistic was per square feet,” Murray added.

East Islip, Massapequa Park, Babylon, Floral Park, Miller Place and West Islip also made the Top 10 list.

An interactive map and ranking of all 190 neighborhoods in the study is available on NerdWallet.

with additional reporting from Tara Conry

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