Friday, August 22, 2008

Is West Roxbury the most Irish place in Boston?

The ePodunk ranking of Irish places in the US says that Milton MA is the most Irish place in the US. Boston does not show up on the list since it's a lot more diverse. But, within Boston, there are parts which are very Irish. There is South Boston of course, that goes without saying, but there is also West Roxbury.

In West Roxbury I've often seen kids in Cork and Dublin GAA shirts, the ubiquitous shamrock bumper stickers, and many Irish surnames on the businesses.

I always suspect that West Roxbury is like it is because of the rule that Boston city workers (like teachers and police) have to live in Boston, and if they want to live in a suburban setting, then West Roxbury is the closest you'll get to that while still living within Boston city limits. Also, it is mostly single-family owner-occupied homes, so that means it's not full of out-of-towner students, and maybe that also makes it difficult for immigrants to move there if they are renting initially (though, that doesn't seem to be a problem for Irish immigrants).

Walking down West Roxbury's main drag, Centre Street, we see a place where you can get an shamrock West Roxbury t-shirt:

West Roxbury

Like in Ireland, the main supermarket is Roche's:

West Roxbury

The "Irish Cottage" is beside the excellent Pazzo Books, run by two Irish-Americans (who blog). Pazzo Books has a great Irish section too, where I bought as good William Trevor book of short stories.

Irish Cottage and Pazzo Books

The West Roxbury Restaurant pub and restaurant also is festooned with shamrocks, causing native Irish people like me to instinctively cringe.

West Roxbury

And I have not even mentioned the Irish Social Club or the Corrib Pub (a good place to watch rugby games). Or the many kids named Fionn and Sorcha.


Adam Gaffin said...

You should go in the West Roxbury Pub, if only to see the dining room, every wall of which is a mural dedicated to the life of James Michael Curley (on the outside is the muralized version of Curley shaking hands with the late city councilor Dapper O'Neil).

Mark O'Neill said...

Thanks Adam. I will check out the interior and have a pint there.

As mentioned in the blog entry, the highly "Oirish" exterior causes me to cringe, but I will deal with it.

Having lived in Dublin, my idea of a genuine Irish pub would be about 4 times larger than the West Roxbury Pub, staffed by Chinese and Eastern European expats, with Middle-Eastern or turn-of-the-century French decor, selling many obscure and high-priced beers, and you would be as likely to hear Polish or Lithuanian spoken as English.

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