Greenery, harmonious music, mouth-watering foods, warm hearted people, sunshine, national dresses and lots of new and familiar faces. This is the ambiance of the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean; Montserrat as it comes alive for St. Patrick’s Day Festival which is a grand week of activities usually between the 9th – 19th of March.
Although St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated to observe the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland and a failed slave uprising on March 17th, 1768, this week of festivities by no means affects the cheerful mood in Montserrat. So much so, that the festival has grown to be one of the most, if not the most anticipated annual event and leading festival on island. St. Patrick’s festival offers a unique experience that causes many to travel from near and far, uniting families and all on this beautiful volcanic island. There is much to be said and done during the week of March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day. You can embrace the Montserratian culture as the week’s celebration creates a festive atmosphere with a rich combination of Irish and African heritage, with a touch of traditional Caribbean flavour. Celebrations include public parades, masquerade dancing, nature hikes, slave memorial feasts, dinners, music, art and food festivals and a freedom run from Cudjoe Head to Salem Park which commemorates the unsuccessful slave uprising.
Events are held across the island from south to north of the island giving visitors and locals alike, the opportunity to immerse themselves in a melting pot of culture; from tantalising their taste buds with traditional foods such as goat water (the national dish), to partaking in traditional games of marbles and dominoes and even getting dressed in costumes and innovative green attire some displaying the patterns of the shamrock and kilts; a traditional Irish attire.
Montserrat is one of the few countries to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as a public holiday, however, it is here on this Emerald Isle that you can truly enjoy and experience the luck of the Irish. In addition to the festivities, there is much more to the island to explore. There are nature trails and lovely fruit trees, so you are never hungry on your journey as you enjoy the picturesque views from our mountain peaks and a chance to glimpse our national bird: The oriole: endemic to only Montserrat.
Also explore our lovely black sand beaches welcome to snorkelling and exploring our coral reefs and discover our only white sand beach: Rendezvous beach, offering the perfect rendezvous as its name suggests. So, grab some bush rum and head to the beach, you might even catch a glimpse of Redonda or Antigua in the distance or you find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Who knows? That just might be the luck of the Irish! Experience it the Montserratian way!
Last year marked the 250th anniversary of the slave uprising.
A picture of the shamrock is stamped in passports upon arrival
The colours of the national wear symbolises the blend of African and Irish culture.
The combination of green, white and orange signifies the Irish tricolour while the green alone symbolises African heritage.
Olivia Isobella Browne - Editor in Chief.
Gavin Lee - Photographer