Tour Irish Charleston

Tour Irish Charleston

We have put together a self-guided tour through 350 years of Irish history in Charleston. The tour has three parts and each part takes 2 hours.

  1. The Irish trail in downtown Charleston
  2. Cannons & Cork on the beach
  3. Irish graveyard, drinks & dinner downtown

The Irish Trail Downtown Charleston

Part 1 - The Irish Trail Downtown Charleston

This first part is a walking tour downtown. It has a lot of stops, but they are all close to each other. Route is 1.8 Miles long.
I'd suggest doing it in the morning while it's quiet and before it gets too hot. There are plenty of coffee shops around the route.   

Route of Part 1 - 1.8 Miles walking

Google Maps Directions of Part 1

Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist to Charlotte Street Park Irish Memorial

In Google Maps, click "Send directions to your phone" and follow the tour on your phone

Cathedral of St John The Baptist

Bishop John England was from Cork and the first Catholic Bishop of Charleston. He arrived in Charleston in 1820 and bought the land where the current cathedral now stands. Construction on the cathedral was completed in 1907. Today, Bishop England High School on Daniel Island is named after the Bishop from Cork. 

The Governor’s House

Four South Carolinians signed the US Declaration of Independence. Two of the four were from Irish families. Edward Rutledge and Thomas Lynch.

The former home of Edward Rutledge is across the road from the cathedral. Edward’s brother, John, signed the US Constitution.

Honorary Consulate of Ireland, South Carolina

The Honorary Consulate of Ireland for South Carolina is at 96 Broad Street. Look for the Irish flag flying outside the building. 

It only recently opened in 2020. It was a great honor for the city and confirmed Charleston’s place among the Irish cities of the US.

Brian Duffy is the Honorary Consul.   

Charleston Courthouse

The Charleston Courthouse was designed by Kilkenny architect, James Hoban in 1792. Hoban also designed the White House in DC. 

Charleston City Hall

Charleston City Hall. Charleston has had two well-known Irish mayors, John Grace & Joe Reilly. Eamon De Valera visited Charleston City Hall in 1920 on his tour of the US.

The city holds its St Patrick’s Day ceremony at Charleston City Hall. Amhrán na bhFiann is sung, and the Irish flag is raised above Charleston’s City Hall for the day.

St Michael’s Episcopal Church

Directly across the road from City Hall is St Michael’s. This intersection in Charleston is known as the Four Corners of Law. The buildings on the four corners represent the City, State, Federal, and God.  

St Michael's was built in the 1750s by Dubliner Samuel Cardy.  And of more recent interest is its organ. It was replaced in 1994 by the Irish organ expert, Kenneth Jones, from Wicklow.

Hibernian Hall

Hibernian Hall is the home of the Hibernian Society of Charleston. 

The society was founded by Irish immigrants around 1800. It helped newly arriving Irish find their feet in the city. Our group continues this tradition today. 

This building was completed in 1840 and still hosts the Hibernian Society.

Look for the harp above the gates and the piece of the Giant’s Causeway on the left side of the building.

Joe Riley Waterfront Park

Walk 10 minutes to the beautiful Joe Reilly Waterfront Park. Joe Reilly was Mayor of Charleston from 1975 until 2016. 

It’s my favorite place in town. My dog knows every inch of this park. Sit on one of the park benches, and take in the beautiful scenery of Charleston Harbor.

Walk out on the pier. In front of you is a small island, Castle Pinckney, which has an interesting Irish history. 

Charlotte Street Irish Memorial Park

This is the jewel in the tour of Irish Charleston. The Charlotte Street Irish Memorial Park opened in 2013. Our flag flies, and there’s a beautiful granite map of Ireland. 

 No other country that has anything like this in Charleston. It shows the strong historical connection between Charleston & Ireland. 

Look at the family names etched in the stone around the memorial. They are the famous Irish names of Charleston, such as Condon & Duffy. 

Cannons & Cork on The Beach

Part 2 - Cannons & Cork on Sullivan's Island

This part of the tour shows you other parts of Charleston. You'll leave downtown & drive across the big Ravenel Bridge, and through Mount Pleasant to Sullivan’s Island. Sullivan's is a beautiful beach town 25 minutes drive from downtown.  

Route Part 2 - 10.8 miles driving

Google Maps Directions

King Street to Fort Moultrie

In Google Maps, click "Send directions to your phone" and follow the tour on your phone

Drive to Sullivan's Island

You'll need your car for this part. It's a 25 minute drive to the next stop on the tour, the beach town of Sullivan's Island. You'll drive over the big Ravenel Bridge to Mount Pleasant, and onto to Sullivan's.


After all that walking downtown in part 1, you'll be hungry. I'd suggest either of these options for lunch.

  1. Shem Creek in Mt Pleasant has plenty of waterfront restaurants. Get lunch at one of them, and watch the boats, kayaks and dolphins go by. You could also stop here on the way back from Sullivan's and join the locals who come here for after work for Happy Hour & sunset.
  2. Have lunch on Sullivan's Island. There's a small downtown area with good restaurants. They're all good, just pick your favorite.

Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan's Island. The name tells you of its Irish connections. 

Named after Captain Florence O’Sullivan. He was from Kinsale in Cork, and he arrived in Charleston with the first settlers in 1670.

Captain O’Sullivan was stationed where Fort Moultrie is today. His job was to fire the alert cannon if he saw any hostile vessels approaching. 

He did such a good job, that they named the island after him.

To see where O'Sullivan did his watch, drive to Fort Moultrie, and go for walk on the beach. Enjoy the gorgeous views back to downtown. This is the same view that O'Sullivan looked at out 350 years ago.

You’ll also see Fort Sumter out in the harbor, this is where the Civil War began.

Graveyard, Drinks & Dinner

Part 3 - Graveyards, Drinks & Dinner

This final part of the tour is back downtown. It's a very short walking tour. I recommend doing it in the afternoon, maybe even around Happy Hour!  

The Route : 0.7 miles. 16 minute walk

Google Maps Directions

58-80 Cannon St to Prohibition

In Google Maps, click "Send directions to your phone" and follow the tour on your phone

The Retreat

It's time to check in to your accommodation in Charleston. Stay at the Irish-owned The Retreat on Cannon Street. The Retreat has a superb location for walking everywhere in the city. It’s only a 5-minute walk to King Street.  

The house is set back from the street, so it is private & quiet. It even has a backyard & off-street parking, which is rare for downtown.

There are plenty of Irish books & paintings in the house to enjoy during your stay. 

Home in Charleston · ★4.89 · 2 bedrooms · 2 beds · 1 bath
The Retreat | Quiet. Private Yard. Walk to King

Favorite The Retreat in Airbnb to save it for your trip to Charleston

St Patrick’s Church

From The Retreat, it’s only a five-minute walk to St Patrick’s Church. 

Walk through the graveyard. The headstones are 150 years old, and the inscriptions are barely legible. But look closely. You'll see that the headstones all have Irish names. They also have their hometowns in Ireland. 

The graves are a reminder that we’re just the current Irish residents of Charleston. There have been many before us. There'll be more after us. 


It’s cocktail time! Prohibition is an Irish-owned bar & restaurant. It wins every award in town for its cocktails. Stay for dinner. The food is excellent, and there’s usually music. 

If you’re lucky, Jim or James will be working, and you’re guaranteed to have a great night with these characters. 

Prohibition is on Charleston’s main street, King Street. A five-minute walk from St Patrick's. 

Prohibition Charleston - Best Cocktail Bar in Charleston, SC
Fine dining & drink in Charleston, South Carolina


It's been a long day. Time for a good night's rest.  From Prohibition, your walk back to The Retreat is only five minutes.