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Why the Irish Connection Makes Jamaica Perfect for Family Holidays

“Believe it or not, the Irish have had a connection with Jamaica which stretches as far back as the middle of the 1600s”

Many moons ago, the rulers of England were looking to acquire new territories…

  • Why the Irish Connection Makes Jamaica Perfect for Family Holidays

    Beach Hammock in Jamaica

    Believe it or not, the Irish have had a connection with Jamaica which stretches as far back as the middle of the 1600s. Many moons ago, the rulers of England were looking to acquire new territories. Having secured Barbados, Montserrat and St Kitts, they took Jamaica from Spanish settlers next.

    To make use of their new colony, Jamaica’s new rulers required many extra pairs of hands. The majority of the manpower supplied by nearby Caribbean colonies was Irish indentured servants.

    Then, in the wake of further conflict, thousands more young Irish men and women were shipped out to Barbados. Naturally, some ended up settling in Jamaica.

    So it’s hardly surprising that Irish folks who travel to Jamaica feel immediately at home on this warm, welcoming island. They share a few things in common. Here are some of them.

    The laidback attitude

    When you live on an island privileged with charming beach towns like Negrils and Montego Bay that are ideal for relaxation, it’s hard to be anything but laidback. Patois phrases like ‘soon come’, simply meaning ‘it will come’, reflect an endearing patience and easy-going attitude towards life.

    We all know how patience is a big part of the Irish personality, so when in Jamaica your family will bond easily with people who share the same cool outlook on life. Get ready for a really relaxing holiday.

    The musical accent

    Jamaican accents are melodious. They definitely bear something of the Irish lilt in them. How can you not warm to an accent such as the Jamaican one when it’s coming from one of the kindly islanders? Like the friendly Irish brogue, it conveys a cheerful spirit and kind hospitality.

    The Jamaican accent particularly brings the southern Irish accent to mind. There’s a distinctive hint of the Cork accent in there. It all indicates that Ireland and Jamaica share a history between them!

     

    Saxophone Player

    A love of music

    The musical connection between Ireland and Jamaica stretches back some time. The founder of Island Records, Chris Blackwell, is half Irish and is one of the island’s most well known residents. It was Island Records who brought the music of the legendary Bob Marley to the world.

    Renowned as the home of reggae, Jamaica has a serious love of music. There’s nothing the people like more than to be outdoors, on a beach with the sea tranquilly lapping the sands behind them and a live reggae band playing in the background or taking centre stage. This mirrors the Irish fondness for music, with the entertainment and togetherness that music brings. Let Jamaica entertain you!

    A delicious drink

    Seaweed and milk — you’d be forgiven for thinking that wasn’t going to taste too nice! However, the Jamaicans make a thick, sweet drink called ‘Irish moss’ and it is absolutely sumptuous. The recipe combines carrageenan seaweed and sweetened milk, which is seasoned with spices such as cinnamon, vanilla or that old favourite nutmeg before serving. Your family can’t fail to enjoy this delicious drink, and it’s suitable for vegetarians, too!

    While we’re on the subject of food and drink, you’ll be surprised to hear that Jamaicans refer to potatoes as ‘Irish potatoes’.

    Scenery that makes you proud to feel connected

    Drenched in sunshine and blessed with glistening waters, resorts like Montego Bay, Runaway Bay and Negrils have the scenery and climate to make people on the island proud to call themselves Jamaican. Now think of the calm waters, cliffs and greenery of the Irish scenery. You’ll feel the same burning sense of pride that such beauty is part of your very own heritage.

    There are several places in Jamaica that have an Irish twist to them. These include Dublin Castle, Belfast, Kildare, Ulster Spring and Irish Town. You’ll also find two St. Patrick’s churches in Jamaica.

    In the 19th century, Irish immigrants came to live in the settlement of Irish Town, up in the Blue Mountains, which is famous for growing coffee beans. There, they made wooden barrels for the beans.

     

    Runaway Bay Tree

     

    These are just a few of the reasons that Jamaica will make Irish families feel right at home. Find out more about this lovely and historic connection by booking a trip to this Caribbean island with Falcon Holidays.  

Author: Carol Oconnor

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