The Irish arrived in Jamaica over 350 years ago in the mid-1600s as indentured labourers. Today, the legacy of the Irish is evident in the naming of places such as Irish Town, Dublin Castle, Irish Pen, Sligoville, Kildare, Leinstar Road and Belfast.
The Irish connection in Jamaica however, goes beyond just the names of places. Similarities can be found in a shared history of colonial domination and the achievement of independence in the same century.
Other similarities include the fact that some Accompong Maroon dance formations bear a passing resemblance to Irish reels; and the Jamaican Constabulary, which is patterned after the Royal Irish Constabulary, complete with the red stripe on the pants legs. Yet, perhaps the similarities are most strongly found in our shared love of laughter, of spirit and song. They are also present in our love affair with the turf and horses – and the gambling that goes with it – and our willingness to live for the moment and let tomorrow look after itself.
Jamaica Gleaner: The People Who Came, The Arrival of the Irish
The Irish alive and well
Scotiabank calendar 2010, March
St Patrick’s Day is celebrated by some irishpersons in Jamaica still.
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