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    “Evidence of Irish diaspora everywhere” in Montserrat, says journalist

    By Noreen Bowden | July 21, 2008

    There’s a brief but interesting description of Montserrat, sometimes known as “the Emerald Isle of the Carribbean? in an extract of “More Thrills than Skills: A Half-life in Journalism?, the memoirs of Scottish war correspondent Paul Harris.

    The extract is appearing on

    In 1632, the English governor, Sir Thomas Warner, ordered the tiresome dissident Irish living on nearby St Kitts to colonise Montserrat for England and the island soon became renowned as a refuge for persecuted Irish Catholics from other English colonies.

    The evidence of this Irish diaspora is everywhere. Irish shamrocks adorn Government House and the cannons on the foreshore of the now abandoned capital of Plymouth. The flag and crest bear a lady – Erin – with a cross and a harp.

    St Patrick’s Day is celebrated with an open air fete.

    The names of the estates, villages and heights are pure Irish: St Patrick’s, Fergus Mountain, Kinsale, Galway’s, Cork Hill, Sweeney’s, O’Garro’s and Galloway.

    Montserrat enjoys an extraordinary and unique Afro-Irish culture; a curiously integrated mixture of the cultures of the Caribbean slave and the Irish settler. It is intriguing to hear a black Monserratian ending a sentence, “at all, at all?.

    See the entire extract at

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