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Look | Tour 'Little Ireland'

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day revelers looking for an alternative to the parade crowds can hop on a tour of Lower Manhattan's old Little Ireland neighborhood. It sheds light on parts of the immigrant experience often overlooked in history books and popular culture.

“What we try to do is break down the notion that there was a single Irish experience, says Big Onion tour guide Seth Kamil. “The Irish experience was as diverse as America is today.”

The tour will take in the former "Little Ireland" district between City Hall and Houston St., where the great wave of Irish immigrants made their home in the 18th and 19th centuries, exploring the history of the Irish in New York through landmarks like the intersection where the notorious 5 Points slum once stood.

You can catch the tour Saturday in front of St. Paul’s Chapel on Broadway at 11 a.m. or look at some of the highlights here.

Jessie Wright-Mendoza for WNYC
Cemetery outside St. Paul’s Chapel on Broadway
Jessie Wright-Mendoza for WNYC
Interior of St. Paul’s Chapel on Broadway.
Gate, church
Jessie Wright-Mendoza for WNYC

St. James Church, near the old 5 Points neighborhood, was the location of the founding of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. The fraternal order is a prestigious organization in the Irish community. It hosts the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Jessie Wright-Mendoza for WNYC

5 Points – The intersection of Worth and Baxter sts was once the heart of the 5 Points neighborhood, a notorious slum that was home to many Irish immigrants. Today it is modern Chinatown and Columbus Park sits in the location where the intersection once was.

House, front door, windows, no porch
Jessie Wright-Mendoza for WNYC

Al Smith House at 25 Oliver St was the home of Al Smith, former governor of New York and lifelong resident of the Lower East Side’s Irish community.

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