Cork priest leads parade in green-hued Montserrat
on 18/03/2013 00:00:00
Many of its population are descended from Irish slaves who were sent to the island in the 17th century and married black slaves who were also working on plantations there.
Surnames such as Ryan, Sheehan, and Murphy predominate on the tropical island, and its coat of arms feature a lady in green, representing Erin, holding a cross and golden harp.
St Patrick's Day celebrations also mark a slave uprising on Montserrat on Mar 17, 1768 which eventually led to their emancipation.
The island's idyllic landscape has been shattered by many volcanic eruptions.
On Jul 18, 1995, an eruption destroyed the capital, Plymouth, and two thirds of the island's population was forced to flee.
Further eruptions in Feb 11, 2010, also destroyed villages. "One of the villages destroyed by the volcano was called Kinsale," Fr Agger said.
He said festivities got underway last Wednesday with a concert staged by the Emerald Community Singers of Montserrat.
Events included an annual St Patrick's Day dinner, followed by an African music festival. The St Patrick's Day Mass was held yesterday was streamed live on www.liveislands.net and in the afternoon there was be an open-air African music festival followed by junior calypso finals, Fr Agger said.
While people may shiver during parades in Ireland, they will be sweating in Montserrat.
"The current temperature in the afternoons usually reaches 30C. At night time it drops to about 25C," the priest said.