With four-leaf clovers and kelly-green signs sprinkled throughout the neighborhood, there's no mistaking that this area of the Bronx is predominantly Irish. But in Woodlawn, the culture runs far deeper than funny green hats on St. Patrick's Day. Irish immigrants have been settling in the neighborhood for years, carrying with them time-honored traditions that permeate the quaint, row house–lined streets. If you're craving a traditional Irish breakfast, Celtic jam sessions and more perfectly poured Guinnesses than you can shake a shillelagh at, Little Ireland should be your first stop in the Bronx. Nearby Van Cortlandt Park is ideal for a picnic or a round of golf, and at the end of the day, stop by one of the area's many pubs to throw back a brew with the locals.
4299 Katonah Ave., 718-652-9153
“However good the drinking, thirst is how it ends”—or so says an old Irish Gaelic expression. Test out the theory by pulling up a stool at this classic pub, where you can find many of the neighborhood's Irish locals having a cold one. While light beer is a popular choice at the pub, enjoy a glass of Ireland's finest (Guinness, of course) while reading excerpts from 20th-century Irish author Brendan Behan—the inspiration for the bar's name—on the wall. Stick around late enough and watch as the pub turns into a dance club.
Prime Cuts Irish Butchers
4338 Katonah Ave., 718-324-9262
Get your Irish on at this local butcher shop, a fixture of Woodlawn since 1998. Despite its small size upstairs, the meat mecca has four basements downstairs, where it manufactures every last bit of its specialty products—from blood pudding to corned beef (Prime Cuts cures its own) to Irish ham. Locals and visitors also stock up on traditional Irish chocolates and sodas while waiting for their breakfast bacon.
Mary's Celtic Kitchen
4330 Katonah Ave., 718-798-1002
In this classic Bronx spot, formerly Celtic Kitchen, visitors enjoy fare like Irish breakfast, stew, shepherd's pie and, of course, the ever-popular fish-and-chips. While this mostly locals kitchen has counters and stools, its business relies heavily on takeout.
Van Cortlandt Park
Broadway and Jerome Ave., 212-639-9675
This sprawling 1,146-acre park in the Bronx is the fourth-largest park in the City and boasts the nation's first public golf course. The Van Cortlandt Golf Course, which opened in 1895, offers rolling hills, well-placed water and trees and a 600-yard-plus hole that will challenge any seasoned pro. Van Cortlandt Park is also home to the nine-hole Mosholu Golf Course, which opened in 1914. (For more on the City's links, read Going Green: 10 NYC Public Golf Courses.) In addition to golf, the park offers (naturally) tons of green space ideal for picnics, sports fields for the athletic and playgrounds for kids and the young at heart.
4292 Katonah Ave., 718-798-4510
“The House,” as regulars affectionately call it, is Woodlawn's definitive Irish pub and restaurant. Head to the bar side for a pint of Smithwick's or Killian's, and if you're hungry, make your way to the restaurant for the best Irish ham and cabbage this side of the Atlantic. Jam to cover bands on Fridays and Saturdays (go ahead and bet your friends $100 that you'll hear a U2 song), and on Sundays, the house band—fittingly called Jameson's Revenge—takes the edge off of impending Monday blahs.