Portland Walking Tours

Best of Portland’s Irish Lore

March 15th, 2011

Many Portlanders’ plans for St. Patrick’s Day probably include lifting a pint or two (hopefully of an undoctored Guinness or Harp’s Lager, hold the green food tint please) at one of Portland’s fine Irish establishments such as Kell’s, Paddy’s, Biddy McGraw’s, or the Dublin Pub. It’s a fine tradition, but it’s made even finer if you can impress your Irish-for-a-day friends with some fun facts and tantalizing tidbits from Portland’s Irish past. Things like:

  • Where is Portland’s oldest Irish pub?
    • A:  Kelly’s Olympian, founded in 1902, also making it the third oldest drinking establishment in Portland (Huber’s is the oldest… do you know the second oldest?).
  • For whom is McLoughlin Boulevard named?
    • A:  John McLoughlin, a Quebec-born Irishman born in 1842, known as the “Father of Oregon” for his role in assisting the American cause in the Oregon Country in the Pacific Northwest. In the late 1840s his general store in Oregon City was famous as the last stop on the Oregon Trail.
  • Why do Homer Simpson and his pals drink “Duff’s” beer?
    • A:  Simpsons creator Matt Groenig, a Portland native, named his characters and significant settings/objects after Portland icons. Duff’s is named for Duffy’s Irish Tavern. (Bonus:  Who are Homer and Marge named for?)
  • Is Kell’s haunted?
    • A:  Is Ireland Catholic? If you do visit this “haunt,” be sure to ask the barkeep why you should never go into the basement.