The Island of Montserrat, St. Patrick’s Day and the Irish

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Castaways!

When you think of St. Patrick’s Day you most likely think of the island country of Ireland and not of Caribbean islands. Fun fact, the island of Montserrat has a lot of Irish history and they know how to throw one hell of a St. Paddy’s Day party. That’s right, this Emerald Island of the Caribbean greets its guests shamrocks and sunshine.

St Patrick’s Day is celebrated on Montserrat to remember the island’s Irish Heritage which dates back to the 17th century. The Irish connections are still evident today from the moment you arrive on the island and receive their shamrock passport stamp. During the St Patrick’s Day festival, visitors will notice many locals wearing national dress – in which green is the dominant color – and both Guinness and ‘Green’ Heineken are available in bars alongside the customary rum punch cocktails. I wonder, do the make the rum punch green? Think I’ll stick to green beer.

Montserrat St. Patricks Day

Islanders Irish Pride - Photo from Meg Pickard via Flickr

Montserrat’s Irish heritage stems from when the island became a haven for Irish Catholics who were persecuted on other Caribbean islands. By 1678, a census showed that more than half the people on the island were Irish, so it is hardly surprising that the Irish had such a strong influence on the island’s developing culture. During St Patrick’s Day, visitors will notice many locals wearing national dress – in which green is the dominant color – and both Guinness and ‘Green’ Heineken are available in bars aside the customary rum punch cocktails.

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Drink some green beer for me! Cheers,
RumShopRyan

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Comments

  1. Good post… I did not know that!

  2. The Irish of Montserrat did not come there voluntarily. Most of them were captured by the British and shipped to Montserrat as slaves. Irish slaves were inexpensive and treated far more poorly than their African slaves. Many of the landowners “bred” their Irish slaves with Africans to create lighter skinned, African looking slaves that commanded a high price at auction.

  3. Bluejeans says:

    MissLoocy is absolutely correct. In fact, the Irish were treated much more harshly than African slaves because landowners received them for free – thus it cost them nothing to torture one to death. Not only were the Africans and Irish “bred” but they also (I suspect) intermingled on their own.

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