Charleston’s Irish Roots
Charleston’s rich Irish history dates back to the early 1700s. The Scots-Irish made contributions to architecture, culture, and politics. St. Michael’s Church, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and Hibernian Hall are just a few of the historic structures designed by Irish architects. You will likely recognize the names of Charleston Irish native sons such as Calhoun, Rutledge, Aiken Manigault, and others. Four of the eight South Carolinians that signed the Declaration of Independence were Irish.
Hibernian Hall on Meeting Street has stood since 1841. On the National Historic Landmarks register, It was the original home of the Hibernian Society, an Irish benevolent organization created to help Irish settlers following the 1798 rebellion.
The Irish fought in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and worked as laborers throughout the city to build the railroad and may landmarks. In 2013 the local Irish community supported the South Carolina Irish Memorial at Charlotte Street Park to commemorate the many contributions of the Irish to local history. The College of Charleston offers a program in Irish & Irish American Studies.
The Lowcountry Irish Festival has become an annual tradition as has the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. You will find traditional Irish pubs throughout the Lowcountry from Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub & Seafood Restaurant in the historic district, Dunleavy’s Pub on Sullivan’s Island, St. James Gate on Folly Beach to name a few.
St. Patrick’s Day gives everyone a chance to enjoy Irish culture, food, and music. If you would like to learn more about Charleston’s Irish history visit the South Carolina Historical Society.