You might be fooled into thinking that Montserrat is known as the “Emerald Isle of the Caribbean” due to the island’s lush tropical interior, but you’d be wrong. The clue is in the shamrock, which is stamped on all international passports. Montserrat is the Ireland of the Caribbean because it was once an island refuge for persecuted Irish Catholic settlers. In the 17th century, more than half the island population were Irish and their heritage is still clearly evident today with Irish names everywhere.
There was once an 11-hole golf course on Montserrat but that was before the Soufrière Hills Volcano exploded in 1997. Entire villages were engulfed by pyroclastic flows and more than half of Montserrat’s inhabitants were evacuated to safety. Businesses were destroyed and naturally the island’s tourism industry was badly affected. But the Montserrat tourist industry is enjoying a revival, with the volcano representing one of the island’s most dramatic attractions. Perhaps like a phoenix, a golf course may one day rise from the Montserrat ashes. If so, we’ll be the first to let you know.