BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching, and the Irish Heritage District in South Buffalo is prepared for the busy weeks ahead.
Irish pride isn’t just displayed in the district in the month of March. Green, orange and white flags fly all year long, and street signs there are in English and Gaelic. And at the heart of the district is the Buffalo Irish Center, which was converted from a YMCA in 1975.
Watch the video above for a tour of the center from Board Member, John Fecio.
Large St. Patrick’s Day events started at the center at the end of February, and will really ramp up the Friday before the holiday. Music, dark beer and massive amounts of corned beef and cabbage will be a familiar sight there over the next couple of weeks, but Fecio said the holiday is about more than just that.
“It’s a lot more than green beer, and everything being green, actually the national color of Ireland is blue,” Fecio said. “What we like to say is the real reason is to honor St. Patrick, and honor and reflect on our Irish heritage.”
And across the street from the center, you’ll never be confused when the holiday falls. There’s a massive countdown to St. Patrick’s Day on the outside of the Tara Gift Shoppe.
The store features 10,000 authentic Irish-themed gifts inside. A group of photos there is from an artist in Dublin. Their Claddah rings come from a major jeweler in Ireland as well.
Thomas Heneghan’s family opened the store about 40 years ago. He said March is huge for them, accounting for 20 to 25 percent of their yearly sales.
And he said this neighborhood is the place to be over the next 11 days.
“It is the center of all things Irish in WNY,” Heneghan said. “You can always count on something happening here this week.”