The Celtic Crossing Portsmouth nh
Portsmouth lies just a short journey north of Boston on New Hampshire’s Seacoast but though it is just a short journey it may as well be a world away, a Celtic crossing indeed in to this old community.
The Irish have always had a very strong association with the town historically. It was the first point of disembarking for hundreds of thousands of immigrants and many of them made it their home. Many of the revolutionary leaders and fighters were Irish, including Matthew Thornton and General John Sullivan. The military history of the city ensured that many stayed and joined the forces.
The strong cultural identity that the Irish migrants kept is still a motivator in this City, with quite a few Irish and Irish related establishments are situated cross Portsmouth.
Celtic Crossing Irish Gift Shop
Going since 1998, the Celtic Crossing gift shop has been a centrifugal force in Portsmouth’s Irish community. Steven and Debra Dodd settled in to Portsmouth and wanted to give something back to the community. They source and import Celtic gifts from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. Kilt rentals are also available. Periodically the shop will have Irish music playing in it. Like many smaller shops it is a family concern and all play their part in making it a success.
The product selection varies from household to clothing and there is a strong bias towards high quality items. The food selection has more items that one is normally accustomed to seeing. With pride of place naturally going to Barry’s Tea, or “real tea” as my father calls it.
112 Congress Street Portsmouth, NH 03801
Rí Rá Irish Bar
One thing that we can all agree on is that there are a lot of Irish bars in America. It is like our Starbucks export so to consistently win titles such as below means that someone is taking their craft very serious.
- Official Guinness Toast Headquarters
- Guinness Greatest Pints in America
- Best Irish Pub – Taste magazine
This bar is actually an Irish bar, it is situated in the old Portsmouth bank which was built by Irish workers in the 1700s. The bar interior was rescued from an Irish bar and the paneling from an old manor house. The focal feature of the Rí Rá bar is the glass dome in the ceiling with the great seal of New Hampshire located in the centre. It may be located far from its Celtic heartland cross the sea but this bar holds its own with anything back in the auld sod.
22 Market Square, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Ireland on the Square
Market Square got a boost in 2009 with the opening of “Ireland on the Square”. Dublin born Paul Mackey was involved in the Irish gifts wholesale market for years but he always wanted to own his own shop, so when the chance came to take a prime retail space on Market Square, they went for it. Using his decades of experience in buying Irish Celtic gifts, crossing the world their shop has developed an enviable product line. They still visit Ireland 3 times a year to source new products and develop old relationships, holidays are always about work when you run an Irish import store.
Popular Irish Jewelry brand Solver is proving a hit with their American customers as are the Guinness and Jameson branded rugby shirt. Paul has a roguish charm about him and a real passion for working with people, that infectious enthusiasm is really going to help drive their gift business in the town.
I hope that you have a feel for some of the great Irish American focal points in Portsmouth, from the Celtic Crossing to the Square and where you can go for a meal, a pint and a bit of craic after.
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