Nestled idyllically between Guadeloupe to the South east and Antigua to the north east in the Caribbean Leeward Islands, this volcanic Island was sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1493 who named it Montserrat. To its earliest settlers, the Amerindians, it was Alliouagana – land of the ‘prickly bush’ and to subsequent settlers, the “Emerald Isle of the West” due to its lush green verdant vegetation, which many say is reminiscent of the Irish landscape.”

Vacated by the Amerindians the island became home to Irish Catholics sent there in 1632 by Sir Thomas Warner, a British Governor in the neighbouring island of St. Kitts. They were later joined by other Irish Catholics. From being the largest ethnic group in the early 17th century they were soon outnumbered by Africans who were brought in as slaves to meet the labour needs of the plantation economy.