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mar 15 2012

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in the Caribbean

Montserrat, "The Other Emerald Isle." (Courtesy rachel_thecat/Flickr)

Yes, the most famous St. Patrick's Day festival is in Dublin. But did you know that there's a Caribbean island that celebrates the holiday with great fanfare?

Montserrat is the only country in the world besides Ireland where St. Patrick's Day is a national holiday. The volcanic island, which has the nickname of "The Other Emerald Isle," was colonized by Irish Catholics from nearby St. Kitts in the 1630s and by 1678 half the residents were Irish. March 17 also has an additional significance to the people of Montserrat beyond the Irish heritage. The celebrations here also commemorate a failed slave uprising on that day in 1768.

Today, locals and tourists celebrate with a weeklong festival that lasts until Montserrat Day (March 19). Things are a little different here than on the island on the other side of the Atlantic. The weather is decidedly sunnier, for one. Instead of pints of Guinness, revelers drink rum punch and fresh juice straight from coconuts. It's also doubtful that spear fishing tournaments or goat water competitions have ever factored into the Irish celebration.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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