The celebration of the Irish diaspora today on Monserrat is the story of a proud people whose identity over time changed. This is what led me to my next cross-cultural lesson about Ireland.
When I read about the Black Irish of Montserrat, a small, mountainous, island part of the lesser Antilles chain. It is known as the Emerald of the Caribbean. I discovered its colonial history involved the subjugation of exiled and enslaved Irish to Montserrat in the mid 1600s by Oliver Cromwell, an English soldier and statesman.
Sighted and named by Christopher Columbus in 1493, “Montserrat is a rich mixture of African, Native American, and European influences,” according to Encyclopedia Brittanica.
Fascinated by the story of how enslaved Africans and Irish lived and worked side by side in the Caribbean (including Barbados) adopting each other’s cultures made me more understanding of the plight of Irish Catholics. To learn more about the Irish in the Caribbean see the links below.
Subsequently, I’ve learned the term Black Irish can also be a pejorative although some may wear it as a badge of honor I have also read. In short, this topic is much bigger then me, and the purpose of this blog. But, nonetheless, it represents part of my journey in tracing over time my understanding of Irish identity and Irish history.
Who Were the Black Irish, 9/16/2018, Irish Central.com
The Black Irish, 5/1/18, Ancient Order of Hiberians
The Black Irish of Montserrat, https://youtu.be/vZNEloGC1oI
Montserrat: Emerald of the Caribbean, Part 1 0f 9, https://youtu.be/0v5iLqy9Ap8
The Irish Sugar Slaves of Barbados. It’s in Gaelic and English. https://youtu.be/E4x0o-w9608