The History Behind The Syracuse St. Patrick’s Parade


The Syracuse St. Patricks Parade is just a few days away and while the tradition was reignited in 1983 by News Channel Nine’s own Nancy Duffy, the parade has roots that go back much earlier.

Onondaga Historical Association Curator Robert Searing says the early days of the parade started back in the late 1840s. 

“Thousands of Irish come to Syracuse to work in the salt industry and later go on to enlarge the canal in the 1850s and 60s,” he said. “And they flea to escape the potatoe famine … so it really starts out as this Irish pride,” he added.

Many of the early Irish settlers found a home in what is now referred to as Tipperary Hill in Syracuse. It’s known for it’s Irish community as well as some historic and noteworthy attractions, Robert said. 

“Well if you think about it, the Tipp hill light at Tompkins is known the world over and it’s this great symbol of Irish heritage in Tipperary HIll,” he said. “The ‘Tip Hil light’ is known all over the world. People come from all over and have a drink at Coleman’s … and it’s the only one in the world that’s like it.”

Robert added that Tipperary Hill is known as the most iconic of areas related to the Irish community and it continues to play a major role in Irish traditions on St. Patrick’s Day and leading up to the St. Patrick’s Parade.

The annual St. Patrick’s Parade kicks off at high noon on Saturday, March 16. Watch it live on News Channel Nine. If you plan to be at the parade in person, you can catch the action and watch the rebroadcasts on ME-TV Syracuse on Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 11am. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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