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Feeling Irish

There may be snow on the ground but the world will turn green Saturday when Americans pay homage to St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, and the Irish heritage so many in the United States celebrate.

Indeed, the Irish are the second largest ethnic group in the United States and today nearly 33 million Americans claim Irish descent. That figure is nearly seven times the population of the Old Sod, itself.
If that is not enough to guarantee a whoopee party on the old Saint’s day, the rest of America joins in as well, proclaiming itself Irish for the day.

Bobby O’Connor, proprietor of O’Connor’s Public House at 26 East Main Street, Torrington, will bring the spirit of the holiday to the Northwest Corner this weekend with a genuine Irish celebration.

O’Connor’s County Cork family has for decades played host to an endless progression of tourists visiting their pub, the Muskerry Arms, situated in the shadow of Blarney Castle. O’Connor brought his experience with him to the United States 20 years ago.

“First, he worked as a bartender,” said Audrey Harris, manager of his Torrington restaurant. “He opened his first restaurant (O’Connor’s Public House in Southeast, N.Y.) 12 years ago and his Torrington pub four years ago. We consider it a real Irish bar.”

O’Connor will transplant a bit of his native land to Torrington for St. Paddy’s Day. “We have a whole weekend of entertainment planned,” Harris continued. “Friday night at 7PM, Emily Victoria, who sings blues and country, will perform. Saturday—St. Patrick’s Day—we open at 11AM and will have live music with RPM upstairs in the Rose Room from 1 to 5PM. At 3:30 and 5:30PM, bagpipers will walk through and from 6 to 9PM Jeff Conlon will provide a mixture of traditional and modern Irish music—from traditional ballads to Christy Moore. You’ve heard nothing until you’ve heard Jeff Conlon perform Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire on the bagpipes!”

When Conlon is finished, DJ Rude-K will appear upstairs in the Rose Room from 10PM to close.

Conlon will return on Sunday from 3 to 6PM.

In addition to the musical entertainment, the pub will serve quintessential Irish fare throughout the weekend. “We will have corned beef and cabbage all weekend,” Harris said. “We’ll also have Fish and Chips and Bangers and Mash. And Sunday, anyone who orders a pint of Guinness can have the glass engraved any way they want and take it home.”

The pub does not take reservations. “People may have to wait 10 minutes, but it is never a problem,” said Harris.