Some Irish bars in Manhattan say they noticed a drop off in tourist numbers this year, with fewer revelers pounding the pavements during the recent St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

With the annual parade concluding this year at 79th Street, many business owners anticipated that this would have a knock-on effect on the local footfall during the festivities.

Mick McCullagh, the proprietor of the Molly Pitcher bar on the Upper East Side, says he noticed fewer St. Patrick’s Day marchers in his Irish bar.

“Generally we predominantly get marchers from the parade, cops from out of town, etc., but this year we didn’t get as many marchers because of the parade stopping at 79th. As soon as it turned onto Second Avenue many people headed back down town,” he told the Irish Voice.

“It was a beautiful day and the numbers should have been better, but we were about 15% down on last year.

“We got hit with marchers early on, but that crowd died out later, normally they would have stayed all day” says McCullagh, adding that the normally hectic Happy Hour was their quietest time of the day.

“It should have been jammed from five to seven, that’s normally the height of it,” says the Dublin man. “All the bars on the block felt it.”

Over on the West Side, the Parlour owner John Kelly told the Irish Voice that he also noticed business was down from previous years.

“We definitely found it slower than other years,” says Kelly, a native of Dublin.

Kelly says he noticed a significant drop in tourists in comparison to previous years.

“We are the home of the Celtic Football Supporters Club, so normally we attract a huge crowd of tourists from Scotland and Ireland,” he said.

Despite taking out advertisements in both Dublin and Glasgow newspapers in the build up to the festivities, Kelly said there was a significant drop off in numbers.

“The ones that did travel over shortened their trips, with a lot just staying for five days,” he noticed.
When asked if the shortening of the parade was a factor, the Parlour proprietor says he thinks that people are just cutting back.

“I think it was down more to the economy,” he feels.

“Normally we are almost full by 12 o’clock but this year we didn’t fill up until six,” explained Kelly, adding, “I’m open 13 years and this was the first year I didn’t have a line outside.”

“There were very few tourists in comparison; it was more of a regular crowd with a lot more Americans than Irish,” said Kelly.

In P.D. O’Hurley’s on 72nd and Amsterdam Avenue, manager Claudine Gallagher told the Irish Voice that things were much tamer during the day.

“We didn’t get hit until later in the day, the night was much busier. There were not as many Irish out this year. There are quite a few groups that would normally come over from Ireland, but they weren’t out this year,” she said.

“During the day there were a few people coming and going but nothing insane.”

In Midtown West, the Three Monkeys bar which celebrated it’s first St. Patrick’s Day last Thursday reported that while there was a good daytime crowd, business picked up more as the night went on.
“There were a lot of regulars in during the day and things got very busy for happy hour,” says Michelle Shanaghy, originally from Cavan.

“However there were not very many Irish and Scottish tourists.”

FDNY march in New York City's 250th St. Patrick's Day Parade