Cultural centers

Restart at the Irish Cultural Center pub just in time for St. Patrick’s Day

The desire to get back to work was on full display this weekend at the Irish Cultural Center as bartender Nuala Lee quickly filled orders as fast as the Guinness tap would flow.

“I’m glad it’s open,” she said of the Canton club pub which has resumed operations and is ready to emerge from the pandemic.

A few days before St. Patrick’s Day, it’s time to bring in customers.

Restaurants and bars have suffered greatly in the past two years, with many closing permanently. In New York, more than two dozen Irish pubs have closed due to COVID, reports the New York Post. The list of closed bars and restaurants in Boston is sobering.

As coronavirus infection rates plummet and warrants plummet, spring could see a revival of bar life in the region.

“It’s great to be open after the pandemic to see new and old faces,” said Martina Curtin, chair of the Irish Cultural Centre. “Preserving Irish culture is more important than ever.”

Especially, she added, as second- and third-generation families take root in the Boston area. Curtin, the organization’s first female president, said the pub was revived but the 46-acre site remains a big draw for sporting events, music, cooking classes and events about Irish culture.

“The change is phenomenal,” violinist Aofie Griffin said of the pub during a break from playing music on Saturday night.

Accordionist David Healy added, “that’s great.”

They quickly got back to the music as the pub filled up on this second night of the reboot. Kids, parents and regulars all came back. Fish and chips and bangers and mash were popular dishes and others ended up listening to the tenor sing upstairs.

For St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the lineup is full Thursday through Sunday where the ICC will have its own tent at South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

In the coming months, conferences on the wave of Irish immigration to escape poverty and language courses are scheduled.

Cooking for adults, Irish crafts, introduction to Irish history, Irish arts and fiddle, flute and accordion lessons are also on the programme.

“It’s a home away from home,” Griffin added as he raised his violin and nearly everyone in the pub clapped.

The Canton Irish Cultural Center pub is now open. Saturday night Aoife Griffin played fiddle, David Healy accordion while Nuala Lee tended the bar. (Herald file photo by Joe Dwinell.)