The Irish are London’s largest ex-pat community. Whether you’re celebrating St Patrick’s Day in London or just want to experience some of the culture, there are little corners of the capital, from Hammersmith to Hackney Wick, to remind you of the Emerald Isle.
Irish Cultural Centre, Hammersmith
Established in 1995, this centre is the self-proclaimed home of Irish culture in London. It hosts a lively events programme, from live music to tea dances. Shows coming up include St Patrick’s Family Day, an afternoon of storytelling and puppet making (20 Mar 2022), and a night of music from three of Ireland’s Top Musicians: Matt Molloy, Seán Keane and Brian McGrath.
5 Black’s Rd, W6 9DT | 020 8563 8232 | www.irishculturalcentre.co.uk
The epicentre of Irish London is this northern district. The area is nicknamed County Kilburn, as it has the capital’s highest Irish population. Pop into the Sir Colin Campbell pub for a pint of Guinness and you’ll probably get chatting to an Irish person; the pub’s resident band entertains with traditional Irish folk every Saturday and Sunday night. Kilburn’s Kiln Theatre has become an unofficial launchpad for Irish theatrical talent, shining a spotlight on Ireland’s creative scene. Productions from modern playwrights such as Sebastian Barry have appeared here, as well as Irish films in its cinema.
264-266 Kilburn High Rd, NW6 2BY | 020 7693 5443 | www.thesircolincampbell.co.uk
269 Kilburn High Rd, NW6 7JR | 020 7328 1000 | www.kilntheatre.com
Waxy O’Connor’s, Soho
The Gothic interior of this huge Irish pub may have a pulpit and stained-glass windows, but the atmosphere is far from church-like. Sports fans can watch hurling, football and rugby on big screens, while live music is played Wed-Sun. For a more relaxed vibe, visit Waxy’s Little Sister on nearby Wardour Street.
14-16 Rupert St, W1D 6DD | 020 7287 0255 | www.waxyoconnors.co.uk
The Porterhouse, Covent Garden
If you think Waxy’s is big, then visit this Covent Garden pub: it covers 12 levels. It wins lots of Irish London points for its atmosphere, especially on Sunday afternoons when a live rock band plays in the basement. It serves stouts and ales, brewed by the Porterhouse in Dublin.
21-22 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7NA | 020 7379 7917 | www.theporterhouse.ie
Homeboy Bar, Islington
The Irish duo Aaron Wall and Ciarán Smith, who previously worked at The Dorchester, opened this bar in Angel to introduce Londoners to Irish hospitality. Vintage photos line the walls and Six Nations rugby plays on the TVs. You can snack on boxty potato pancakes, Tayto crisps and Irish stew. You could even say ‘sláinte’ with an Emerald Collins cocktail, made with Slane whiskey.
124a Essex Rd, N1 8LX | 07801 593015 | www.homeboybar.com
Michelin-starred chef Richard Corrigan is a great ambassador for Irish London. He’s from County Meath and opened this restaurant near Hyde Park in 2008. Since then, Corrigan’s has won multiple awards and earned a fantastic reputation. Order Irish classics such as oysters and game and try an Irish whiskey mixed with strawberry soda.
28 Upper Grosvenor St, W1K 7EH | 020 7499 9943 | www.corrigansmayfair.co.uk
Cecil Sharp House, Camden
This dance hall in Camden hosts folk dances and live music. Coming up are Monday Folk Singers with Lisa Knapp (21 Mar), Morris dancing classes and other live music evenings.
2 Regent’s Park Rd, NW1 7AY | 020 7485 2206 | www.cecilsharphouse.org
Migration Museum, Lewisham
While it’s not specifically about the Irish diaspora, the Museum gives Irish migrants a voice. Read first-hand accounts of travelling by ferry across the Irish Sea in the 1950s, watch film clips and see a tea set inherited through generations. It is closed until 9 April 2022 but will reopen with a brand-new exhibition, Taking Care of Business, looking at the migrant entrepreneurs who have shaped Britain.
Lewisham Shopping Centre (entrance in Central Square), SE13 7HB | [email protected]
Admission free | Exhibitions Wed-Sun 11am-5pm; shop daily 11am-5pm | www.migrationmuseum.org
Practise your Irish
Craic = fun
The jacks = toilet
Fair play = well done
I’m codding ya = I’m joking
Bang on = correct, accurate
Gat/The black stuff = Guinness
Wet the tea = make a cup of tea
Acting the maggot = messing around
Grand/deadly/fierce = great
Come round for a cèili = visit my house for a chat and cup of tea
That’s a fret = an expression of disbelief