Who are the black Irish of Montserrat? The Black Irish of Montserrat refers to people of African and Irish descent who are native to Montserrat, a small island in the Caribbean. The term “Black Irish” is often used to describe people of African and Irish ancestry, especially in the Caribbean region. It is a place that I hope to visit someday in the future.
It is the only other country besides Ireland with a national holiday on March 17th (St Patrick’s day). Montserrat has a long history of Irish immigration, dating back to the 17th century when Irish Catholics, many of whom were indentured servants, were sent to the island to work on sugar plantations.
Over time, these Irish immigrants intermarried with people of African descent, giving rise to a unique Afro-Irish community. So much so that many of the “Black Irish” still have solid Irish accents. Watch the video below to see just how strong their accents still are. And if you have ever been to Cork, you might even recognize this accent.
The Black Irish of Montserrat has a rich cultural heritage and traditions, which are a mix of Irish, African, and Caribbean influences. Today, the descendants of the Black Irish form a significant part of the island’s population and continue to celebrate their heritage through music, dance, and other cultural traditions. And if you just so happen to visit the country on March 17th, you will get a lovely Shamrock stamp on your passport.
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Some incredible facts about the Black Irish of Montserrat
- Nearly 300 families of the 1,600 listed in the phone book have Irish surnames.
- Island historians say they are unsure how many Irish Africans live there.
- Back in 1678, more than half of the island’s population was Irish.
- The Black Irish of Montserrat celebrates their heritage through festivals, such as St. Patrick’s Day and Carnival, which showcase their cultural traditions and music.
- Marriages among the Irish and African slaves and the mingling of their diverse heritages produced a unique culture where racism could never arise.
- In Montserrat, Guinness signs and Guinness drinkers are as common as in Ireland.
- St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Montserrat to commemorate the island’s Irish history and remember the March 1768 slave rebellion.
- The Caribbean Island of Montserrat is the only place outside Ireland where St. Patricks Day is a national holiday.
- On this day, visitors’ passports are even stamped with a shamrock.
- It wasn’t until 1971 that the rest of the world noticed this particular bit of colonial history.
Incredible images of the black Irish island of Montserrat:
The film tells the story of Ireland’s involvement in slavery, a St. Patrick’s Day revolt when slaves and their Irish overseers rose against their English masters, the island’s culture and music.
Incredible footage! This next video is just as impressive.
Do you recognize the person in the video? It is now other than our now President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, back when he was a lecturer at UCC(University College Cork).
Filmed in 1976 by TG4, this video tells a different story about how many Irish were forcibly deported there when the English conquered Ireland with the help of the famous military leader known all over Cromwell.
At this time, all royal and Catholic-owned land was confiscated and given to English and Scottish settlers. Many of the old Irish and Catholics were massacred or, in this case, forcibly moved to a faraway island.
The story doesn’t stop there.
This video tells the story of how Montserrat came to celebrate St. Patrick’s with an entire week full of events.
The first minute or two shows the current St Patrick’s day celebrations; we disagree that the Irish were the “masters”, as they outline in this video.
It is good to see that despite all that has happened, the Montserrat spirit has prevailed and that love has conquered after all that has occurred.
There are many more articles and posts on the Black Irish; a quick Google will bring up some fascinating posts. Please share this story with your family or friends if you found it as incredible as we did. Thank you for reading!
Have you been to Montserrat? Comment below.
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