With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, it’s time to look back on the proud Irish heritage of Baltimore. Between 1816 and 1854, nearly a quarter of the population of Ireland had migrated to America. Baltimore was the third most common entry port for immigrants behind New York and Boston, and with the B&O Railroad stationed right in the city, it afforded the Irish immigrants a ready source of work. This Irish heritage can still be seen throughout the city in churches, businesses and pubs. Shepherd’s pie is an Irish dish which has become common in the American household, but the Irish still make it best. Check out some of these great locales to get some of the best tasting shepherd’s pie you will ever experience.

Mick O’Shea’s
328 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 539-7504

Mick O’Shea’s really captures the Irish atmosphere: authentic, not stereotyped. The selection of beers and hard liquors is a bit smaller than the average bar, but far more selective in quality and authenticity. The pub takes extra pride in its shepherd’s pie, preparing it with the best in ground Black Angus beef, seasoned to perfection. This is blended together with a slow-cooked combination of freshly picked peas, celery, onions and carrots. They make certain to top this with an extra serving of creamy mashed potatoes and then bake the whole combination to a golden brown perfection before serving it. Come any Tuesday to enjoy $8 shepherd’s pie night.

Liam Flynn’s Ale House
22 W. North Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 244-8447

Liam Flynn’s Ale House is committed to old world tradition and new world excellence. All of the food on the menu is locally sourced, the beer — which is kept in constant rotation — is also local, and Flynn’s keeps cask ale on-site. The Ale House is the local center for the traditional Irish music scene, and it also has regular jazz and bluegrass music events. Using local produce, Flynn’s makes its famous shepherd’s pie out of lamb as the primary meat instead of ground beef. The dish is topped with cheddar cheese and served up in either small or large servings — your choice.

The James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant
616 S. President St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 727-5107

James Joyce is a beautiful and spacious bar and restaurant with a good selection of beer, a decent kid’s menu and is located in a good section of town. The place looks and feels authentically Irish, and it ought to because the entire restaurant was designed and built in Ireland and then shipped over and fitted together in Baltimore. JJ is proud to host a variety of events, including trivia nights, weekend brunches, live music and, if you choose, your own private party. The shepherd’s pie at James Joyce is especially creamy and dreamy — and also gluten free.

Related:  Best Irish Bars In Baltimore

Slainte Irish Pub And Restaurant
1700 Thames St.
Baltimore, MD 21231
(410) 563-6600

Featured at one point on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” Slainte is a pub and grill bustling with a friendly crowd and an even friendlier wait-staff bussing out traditional Irish fair to the tables all day long while the impressive wide-screen overhead televisions buzz with international sports. The restaurant features regular events like live music, trivia nights and special events celebrating the big occasions such as New Years, Mardi Gras and, of course, St. Patrick’s Day. The shepherd’s pie is just legendary enough that Baltimore Magazine twisted owner Patrick Russell’s arm in order to get him to share the recipe. In addition to the traditional ingredients, Slainte adds tomato puree and seasons it in a unique and flavorful way that is sure to please.

Ryan’s Daughter
600 E. Belvedere Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21212
(410) 464-1000

Ryan’s is an Irish sports bar and grill. Like most of the others on this list, it features live music — a fact of which they are particularly proud. In fact, the live music at Ryan’s lasts for most of the week: Thursday through Sunday, so you have a four-in-seven chance of being serenaded as you dig into your delicious shepherd’s pie. In addition to the restaurant, sports bar and concert aspects of Ryan’s, it also offers some pretty extensive catering services. So, if you are looking to take your love of shepherd’s pie to your next event or party, Ryan’s is the perfect location to call.

Related: Ask A Baltimore Chef: Best Corned Beef And Cabbage Recipes

Joel Furches is a freelance writer and researcher for The Examiner and Logos Software, and also manages his own catalog of writing on Hub Pages. Joel is on the board of directors for Ratio Christi. He has a bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Education.