A report on the Black Irish of Montserrat looks into the lives of the descendants of Irish people who were exiled from their land by Oliver Cromwell.
The report comes from the RTÉ and TG4 documentary series ‘Radharc’ and was filmed in 1976. While the film is now very old, it gives a fascinating insight into the lives of the Black Irish on the Caribbean island.
One thing that is striking – and particularly surprising – is how the Black Irish have retained the Irish accent that their ancestors took with them across the Atlantic Ocean hundreds of years earlier.
The reporter is filming on location in Kinsale – however, it isn’t Kinsale in Co Cork but another Kinsale thousands of miles away in the West Indian island of Montserrat.
He describes Montserrat as the ‘Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, home of a unique race of people – the Black Irish’.
The reporter explains: “It was under the press ganging of Cromwell that hundreds of people from Cork, Kilkenny and Drogheda were expelled to the West Indies.
“They would have arrived just as the first importations of African slaves took place.”
The Irish and Africans shared a common suffering grievance of being cruelly uprooted from their homes. They lived together in peace and common understanding.
He then speaks to some of the locals, including Mr and Mrs Allen who run the local Post Office. Both speak with a recognisably Irish accent.
There is a strong Irish influence evident all over the island with images of harps, shamrocks and even pints of Guinness.
The video ends with a black man of both African and Irish heritage. He sits at a table and sings the beautiful traditional Irish song Mother Machree.
Take a look at the video below.
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