EPIC Celebrates Ireland’s Caribbean Links

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EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum has opened a new exhibition exploring and celebrating 400 years of Ireland’s links to the Caribbean.

‘Entangled Islands: Ireland and the Caribbean’, a new thought-provoking exhibition exploring Ireland’s influence on the Caribbean is open now – running from 5th September 2023 – February 2024.

This temporary exhibition tells the stories of a wide range of Irish people who traversed and settled in the Caribbean, and also explores our intersecting histories of colonisation and resistance.

Connections between Ireland and the Caribbean date back to the 17th century, when Irish indentured labourers were among the many thousands transported to work on islands colonised by the English. Over time, some Irish found their way into positions of power and privilege across the region, whether as plantation owners or colonial governors.

In more recent years, Irish and Caribbean people have been drawn together through shared experiences.

Ireland’s struggle for independence has informed decades of Caribbean political thought, just as many Irish men and women have supported and related to the challenges faced by Caribbean countries.

The ‘Entangled Islands: Ireland and the Caribbean’ exhibition traces this long and multifaceted history of connection through 19 key figures on either side of the Atlantic, from merchants and enslavers to poets and journalists.

Catherine Healy, Historian-in-Residence at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, said: “The last two decades have seen a flowering of research on Irish migration to the Caribbean. Entangled Islands seeks to capture some of the complexities of that history, from the parallels in colonial experience to the riches brutally acquired by Irish planters. There have been many dark chapters, but our shared traditions of resistance and storytelling remain a source of inspiration. We hope this exhibition can spark new conversations about the convergence of Black and Irish heritage – both in the past and present day.”

A number of themes are explored in this exhibition, including the ‘Irish slave’ myth, Ireland’s role in the trafficking of enslaved Africans, connections between Irish and Caribbean literature, and the celebration of St Patrick’s Day on the island of Montserrat.

‘Entangled Islands: Ireland and the Caribbean’ will be on display at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum from September 5th until February 2024 – general museum admission tickets required after September 18th, with exhibition free of charge to visit until that date. Visit www.epicchq.com to find out more.

This exhibition, and EPIC’s Historian-in-Residence programme, are supported by funding from the Government of Ireland through the Department of Foreign Affairs.

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