More than 20 years ago, Spokane became sister cities with Limerick, Ireland, a river city and regional capital. This year, Irish people in Spokane are giving a couple nods to the sister city.
The Spokane River runs through Spokane, the River Shannon runs through Limerick. The connection is not lost on Tim O’Doherty, who owns O’Doherty’s Grill and heads the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick. They erected a stone monument for Limerick a dozen years ago in front of the Shenanigan’s restaurant.
O’Doherty: “And when they tore down Shenanigans, they were gonna destroy the monument. And actually the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick who run the parade, they worked with the sister city group to save the monument, bring it over here and place it in front of O’Doherty’s.”
Friday afternoon, the city of Spokane dedicated the stone in front of O’Doherty’s Irish Grill. He says it’s an exciting moment for him and his wife.
O’Doherty: “There’s no way we ever felt that we could become the ethnic center of the Irish community here in Spokane... But I really feel like that has been achieved… We get quite a few people in the summer from Limerick, that will come into the pub, and go ‘oh we’re here, we knew you were our sister city.”
Meanwhile across town, a new pub has opened its doors to Irish food lovers.
Freeman: “The name is Knockaderry, and it means hill of the oak. And it’s a small village in the county Limerick, in Ireland, which Limerick is our sister city to Spokane.”
Colleen Freeman opened Knockaderry Irish Pub at the beginning of March, on Broadway near the county courthouse. She say’s she has dreamt of having an Irish restaurant for years, even before she opened the late night diner, the Satellite. Her plan for the pub’s first St. Patrick’s Day is simple:
Freeman: “Open the doors and cross my fingers.”
Knockaderry features Rueben’s, fish-and-chips, burgers, and plenty of beer and Irish whiskey.
For the Irish celebrating in Limerick, 2014 is a big year. Limerick was chosen as the first ever Irish City of Culture, making it the stage for a year of artistic and cultural events. They expect 70,000 people at the St. Patrick’s Day parade, alone.
Spokane’s parade on Saturday will be bigger than ever, with more than 150 entries this year. And if you get a Guinness downtown afterward, you can see the monument.
Copyright 2014 Spokane Public Radio