Murphies of West Indies will celebrate
Friday 17 March 2000
Thousands of miles from Ireland, the inhabitants of the British Caribbean territory of Montserrat will be vigorously celebrating St Patrick's day today - but not for the usual reason. Many people on the island are descended from Irish-Catholic settlers and the territory is awash with names like Murphy, Sweeney and Fitzgerald.
But their St Patrick's day, although a riotous carnival, is in honour of an abortive 1768 slave rebellion against cruel Irish sugar plantation masters.
The Irish are believed to have landed on Montserrat after leaving St Kitts, where they could not get on with their Protestant compatriots. The rebellion, planned for St Patrick's day, when the Irish landlords were expected to be too drunk to notice, wascrushed when the plan leaked.
Today's celebration, a curious mix of Irish-American and Afro-Caribbean culture usually lasts a week, with islanders dancing Irish jigs one night, then mocking their former masters the next by cracking whips and prancing around in tall hats like bishops' mitres.
"We are celebrating the rise of the slave freedom fighters, but also the Irish Catholic element in our history," said historian Howard Fergus.
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Isis 'throw man off a building for homosexual affair' and beat him to death when he survives
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...