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Old 01-12-2013, 01:46 PM
Location: Ireland
13 posts, read 18,815 times
Reputation: 41


Hello there. I am looking for some information in relation to safe areas to live around Dorchester. I have never been to Boston (or anywhere in the States) but my son is keen to travel to the US this coming Summer. He is in college here in Ireland and would love to go and visit, live in and possibly play some Gaelic Football in Boston. He has mentioned the Wolf Tone Club in Dorchester. He is 21 and full of the joys of life. While I would be delighted to see "him broaden his horizons" and experience life outside of Ireland I'm afraid his travel abroad would be limited to package holidays in Spain or Portugal. I am enquiring about Dorchester because he has mentioned it in conversation. He may choose to go somewhere else but that is entirely up to him. If he wants to play Gaelic Football he will have to go to a club who will have him and this might not even be in Boston. I'm just your average "ouldfella" looking out for the brats. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:26 PM
Location: New Hampshire
2,257 posts, read 7,540,762 times
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Boston is a great city for young people. Dorchester is one of the city's largest neighborhoods and has some very nice areas and some not-so-nice areas. Would your son have to live near the club, or would he be free to live anywhere in the city? Dorchester is mostly families and not a lot of college-aged kids (except for some near UMass), who tend to gravitate to other neighborhoods like Allston-Brighton, Fenway, or neighboring Cambridge and Somerville. He could theoretically live in one of these neighborhoods and commute to the club by public transportation.

Boston is THE quintessential college city in America, so there are a lot of other kids your son's age who live here.
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Old 01-12-2013, 03:10 PM
Location: Ireland
13 posts, read 18,815 times
Reputation: 41
Verseau thank you for your quick response.Your advice is reassuring and when I get 5 mins of his time, someday soon I hope, we will talk about his plans and I will offer up what I have learned and see what he thinks. Thanks again.
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:18 PM
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,843 posts, read 12,533,834 times
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Do a quick Google search for Irish print media in Boston, because there's always at least one viable newspaper in circulation. I've seen "The Irish Echo" and "The Irish Messenger" on the bar in pubs.
South Boston and Charlestown were historically the communities where Irish people landed "fresh off the boat," but both have gentrified considerably. These days the Irish and Irish-American populations mainly dwell in Quincy and nearby South Shore towns. But there's still also a good presence in Brighton and Dorchester in particular. Within "Dot" this is principally in the area along and near Dorchester Ave between Columbia Rd and Fields Corner (the latter a "hub" of numerous streets.) From Fields Corner the artery known as Adams St then forms more of the nexus of the enclave, out to the Neponset Circle roundabout just ahead of the bridge to Quincy.
Boston's huge student population is a factor in favor of the OP's son, because a notable majority of degree-seeking people leave town during the summer break. September 1 - a date I've long maintained should be a local holiday - is Lease Day. What this means is that leases are broken left and right when May or June roll around; either that, or at least one member of a household "holds down the fort" and frantically tries to sublet the temporarily vacant bedroom(s.) The best pickings are to be had at the beginning of each month, especially June, but one would need to start their quest as soon as March. craigslist is as good as resource as any.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:22 PM
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
2,566 posts, read 4,342,976 times
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The Lower Mills section of "Dot" may also have some households, or apartments, of Irish young people here temporarily or longer. At least that seemed the case a few years ago. It's a good neighborhood near transit, but mainly homes with a few apartments here and there. It's the furthest outer area of Dorchester. He could even live in adjacent Quincy.

So ask if he really needs to be, or wants to be in Dot, or if that's what he was told by team officials. South Bston would be ideal also, or Brighton, as mentioned, but that's more of a commute to Dot. (I hate the label "Dot," but that's what old timers seem to call it...not sure if younger people or immigrants use that term).
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:36 PM
Location: Dorchester (Boston), MA
30 posts, read 81,042 times
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If he won't have a car, your son should definitely stick to the Dorchester neighborhoods adjacent to the Red line. Otherwise, Dorchester is not well serviced by public transportation. Luckily, these neighborhoods along the Red line are also some of the nicer areas - specifically, JFK/UMass, Savin Hill, and Lower Mills. Adams Village and Neponset are more heavily Irish but require a long walk or short bus ride to the subway, and are also more family-oriented and less young people. The UMass area is probably his best bet in Dorchester for socializing with other college age kids. It's also quite close to South Boston and other parts of the city where he can socialize with other young people.
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Old 08-02-2013, 01:30 PM
Location: Jones Hill
3 posts, read 9,110 times
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The majority of students in Dorchester live within 10-15 minutes by walk of the Savin Hill T-station. I would not recommend to go further west into Dorchester (particularly not the Blue Hill Avenue Area!). Jones Hill and surrounding area is also very nice/safe though a bit pricey.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:42 PM
40 posts, read 98,017 times
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I am Irish myself but in my late-20's, moved here from home a few years ago. If I can be of any help just send a private message if you like.

A few quick points: I've heard about those GAA programs for the kids coming over but don't know a lot about them. Is it like a scholarship sort of thing? The big club is in Canton outside the city from what I know.

Just a warning on Dorchester (not wanting to start a big heated debate). It's fine in parts but can be quite rough as well. So if he's travelling alone and he's a young lad who might not have travelled alone before it's worth doing the research so that he know's what he's at.

Also, while it's described as an "Irish" area of Boston, he'll have quite the culture shock. Recent Irish immigrants tend to live elsewhere in the city, but it's a hub for Irish-Americans alright, so you tend to get a lot of the "old time" Irish attitudes passed down through a few generations so it's quite a bit different from being at home. (Not saying that's a bad thing before anyone jumps on me but it's definitely a bit of a culture shock for a young Irish lad just coming to Boston... just saying...)

As a 21 year old what I'd recommend is living in Cambridge/Somerville or else towards Allston/Brighton. If he does that then it's going to be very easy to find a shared apartment with other students his age or even easily to fall in with a group of J1 students who generally live in those areas for the summer too.

If he needs to get to Dorchester then it's pretty easy on the bus/subway, there's more going on for him in those other areas anyway. Would he have an interest in just doing a J1 trip with some friends? He'd have to get some part time work when he's here but he's free to go join up with any of the GAA clubs he can find too if he's into that. I'm sure they'd be glad to let him play away with them for the summer.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:14 PM
Location: Boston, MA
3,076 posts, read 4,358,146 times
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The part of Dorchester I live in (Adams Village/Neponset) is still predominantly Irish. There are Irish pubs and restaurants in the neighborhood and a great number of families and youth that are of Irish descent. It is a very safe and convenient neighborhood with easy access to both an expressway to drive into town and public transportation. Once in a while I even hear Gaelic being spoken (no seriously). I think your son will fit quite fine in these neighborhoods.

The parts of Dorchester he should avoid are Uphams Corner, Grove Hall, Meetinghouse Hill, Codman Square, and Four Corners. These are very tough neighborhoods that have little resemblance to Adams Village or Neponset and but rest assured they are not that close by either.
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