November 17, 2011

'Irish Central' Names the Most Irish Town in America... and It Isn't Woburn?

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The popular New York-based online publication, Irish Central, recently reported that the seaside town of Scituate, Massachusetts is the most Irish town in the United States. Census data indicate that nearly 50 percent of Scituate residents are of Irish descent.

But Scituate isn't the only community south of Boston with a plethora of Irish Americans. In Avon, Braintree, Hull, Marshfield, Milton and Pembroke, at least 44 percent of residents claim Irish ancestory.

These recent findings show that my hometown (or more accurately, homecity) of Woburn, MA is not as uniquely Irish as I had once thought: only 36 percent of Woburn residents are of Irish descent.

However, for the sake of being stubborn, I must point out that Woburn, which is about 10 miles north of Boston, has been home to a strong Irish population for considerably longer than the above-mentioned South Shore communities.

The majority of Irish families now living in the South Shore originally immigrated to Boston. It was only at the end of World War II that they began migrating from Boston to their current homes.

In contrast, Irish families began pouring into Woburn during the mid-19th century. Between 1864 and 1865, 110 of the 181 children born in Woburn had fathers who were born in Ireland.

Of course, Irish Americanism isn't a competition: this isn't Christmas at the Dwyers' house, where your 300-pound, college football-playing cousin asks you to "step outside" following a debate over the rules of a board game.

But if Irish Americanism were a competition, Scituate would win the numbers game, but I readily contend that Woburn would win the history game.

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