It’s almost March, the month that brings spring. For Newport, 2016 is the 39th year of the designation of March as Newport Irish Heritage Month. It is a reflection of the pride taken in the contributions of Irish immigrants in Newport from colonial times through the present. The Museum of Newport Irish History Interpretive Center on lower Thames Street is well worth a visit. It presents key aspects of life in the local Irish community throughout the history of Newport. (newportirishhistory.org)
The evidence of the contributions and accomplishments of the Irish community is everywhere. Irish immigrants built Fort Adams. The Fort, an enormous coastal fortification, is now a state park. It is “…a massive work with structural walls of local shale and Maine granite” (fortadams.org). Forty Steps on Cliff Walk (only a few blocks from Ivy Lodge) is recognized as a gathering spot for Irish Newport residents in the 19th and early 20th centuries. At Forty steps with a program of traditional music, dance and celebrating, the community marks the beginning of Newport Irish Heritage Month ( Feb. 28, 2016).
The largest event honoring Newport Irish Heritage is of course the St. Patrick’s Day Parade! 2016 is the 60th Annual Parade that is always held on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day (Saturday, March 12). The 2 hour parade begins at Newport City Hall on Broadway and finishes at Carroll Avenue, by St. Augustin’s Church in the heart of the traditional, local Irish neighborhood.
Happy crowds line the parade route to see local, regional and state organizations marching with pipe bands, fife and drum corps, marching bands, police and fire personnel, many social and athletic groups, Clowns and more (everyone is Irish for the Parade!). Post- parade the celebrating and honoring of the Irish continues in many locations throughout the city. Most establishments serve Corned Beef and Cabbage in some form along with much music and dance.
Ivy lodge is a 10 minute walk to the parade route. Free parking is always available! The Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a unique experience, a great way to see the city