See the incredible story of an Afro-Irish island in 9 stunning images.

There's a place they call the Emerald Isle, where the lush green landscapes are home to families with names like O'Gara, Darcy, and Ryan. They live in towns called Cork Hill, Kinsale, and Sweeney's Well, and they stamp a green shamrock on your passport anytime you visit, whether it's for their famed St. Patrick's celebration or to experience the island's warm, tropical climate...

I'm obviously talking about Montserrat, a small Caribbean island with a centuries-old connection to Ireland. Here's the strange, dark, and ultimately beautiful history of this fascinating place:


1. Back in 1678, more than half of the island's population was Irish.


Photo by Graham Clifford. Used with permission.

Oliver Cromwell exiled thousands of Irish laborers to the Caribbean during the 17th century. Many of them were criminals serving time; others volunteered or were forced into indentured servitude, trading years of sunburn and abuse for the promise of a small piece of land.

Many of them eventually flocked to Montserrat, which was under French dominion at the time and had gained a reputation as a safe haven for Irish Catholics.

2. While the Irish at first were treated like any other slave or forced laborer in the Caribbean, they soon started gaining status in their new home on Montserrat.


Image via David William Seitz/YouTube.

"The Irish probably thought, 'I've been an indentured laborer, I've been treated as a slave myself, I want to be prosperous.' And they looked at the wealthy at the time and saw owning slaves as a status symbol," Graham Clifford, an Irish journalist who spent some time in Montserrat, explained in an interview with Upworthy.

3. Over the next century, the Montserratian people got, well, pretty fed up with it.


Image via Leah Tribe/YouTube.

Which is understandable — as frustrating as it is when some foreign empire shows up and forces you into slavery and claims your land and resources as its own, it's even more insulting when the other "lesser humans" that they brought with them start pushing you around as well.

4. So the Montserratians staged a revolt against the Irish majority on March 17, 1768.


Image via mnispirit/YouTube.

As Sir Howard Fergus, a historian and politician as well as the first Montserratian to be knighted by the British Empire, explained in an email to Upworthy, "The day was strategically chosen for planter lords would have been celebrating at the Governor’s residence in tipsy glory, it being St. Patrick’s Day."

5. But someone leaked the uprising plan, and the slaves were swiftly punished, leaving nine dead and 30 more banished from Montserrat.

A Montserratian girl recites a poem about the St. Patrick's uprising. Image via David William Seitz/YouTube.

OK, maybe it's not the most flattering legacy.

Of course, the Irish weren't the first oppressed group to take it out on the next oppressed group on the oppression ladder. And they definitely weren't the last. Still, that legacy remains a major part of Montserrat — in the national colors, in the harp on the country's crest, and in the names and places all across the island.

6. It wasn't until 1971 that the rest of the world began to take notice of this particular bit of colonial history.


Image from mnispirit/YouTube.

Sir Howard Fergus had published an article on the St. Patrick's Day uprising, inspiring the island's lone secondary school to celebrate the unnamed martyrs of the day with a history project — one that ended up attracting national attention.

Over the next few years, this trend of cultural education continued. But eventually, the idea came up to exploit this little bit of Irishness for the purposes of tourism (and maybe for some LOLs).

7. "It was a short step to carnivalising St. Patrick’s Day and making it to a week-long festival rivalling Christmas," Sir Fergus said.

Photo by Graham Clifford, used with permission.

"Montserratians are not so much celebrating Ireland. It is a festival of fun with a tincture of Irishness thrown in."

Still, Sir Fergus clarifies: "Some are however kicking and screaming because they think the original purpose of the holiday was to celebrate the heroes of St. Patrick’s Day."

8. But recently, some efforts have been made to reconnect the Irish and the Montserratians, to share their cultures and their histories.

Skyping across the Atlantic with Montserratian children. Photo by Graham Clifford, used with permission.

Clifford learned about Montserrat in the mid-'90s, and years later arranged a trip to the island with the help of Father George Aggers, an Irish priest who worked with a local parish on the island. They set up a Skype call between the Montserratian children at St. Augustine's School and his own children's classroom at Gaelscoil de híde in Fermoy, County Cork, allowing the children to learn about each other's languages and cultures and connect over their shared heritage and history with March 17.

"I wanted to use the links I have as a way of bringing together people from these distant but strangely familiar communities," Clifford told the Irish Independent.

9. "They do obviously play up the Irish connection for tourism," Clifford said. "But it's still there. It's a mad, random connection."

A Irish-Montserratian music and dance celebration. Photo by Graham Clifford, used with permission.

History is full of ugly details. But we can remember the past while building toward the future. We just have to reach out and connect.

Every culture has its shameful secrets — and in the case of Montserrat and Ireland, those stories are layered in colonial complications. What matters most is that we learn from those mistakes and celebrate the cultures and heroes that came from them.

Here's the first installment of a documentary about the Irish connection to Montserrat:

Cats are notoriously weird. Everyone who's had cats knows that they each have their own unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, preferences, habits, and flat-out WTFness.

But even those of us who have experience with bizarre cat behavior are blown away by the antics this "cat dad" is able to get away with.

Kareem and Fifi are the cat parents of Chase, Skye, and Millie—literally the most chill kitties ever. They share their family life on TikTok as @dontstopmeowing, and their videos have been viewed millions of times. When you see them, you'll understand why.

Take Chase's spa days, for example. It may seem unreal at first, but watch what happens when Fifi tries to take away his cucumber slices.

When she puts them back on his eyes? WHAT?! What cat would let you put them on once, much less get mad when you take them off?

This cat. Chase is living his best life.

But apparently, it's not just Chase. Skye and Millie have also joined in "spaw day." How on earth does one couple end up with three hilariously malleable cats?

Oh, and if you think they must have been sedated or something, look at how wide awake they are during bath time. That's right, bath time. Most cats hate water, but apparently, these three couldn't care less. How?

They'll literally do anything. The Don't Stop Meowing channel is filled with videos like this. Cats wearing glasses. Cats wearing hats. Cats driving cars. It's unbelievable yet highly watchable entertainment.

If you're worried that Kareem gets all the love and Fifi constantly gets the shaft, that seems to be a bit for show. Look at Chase and Fifi's conversation about her leaving town for a business trip:

The whole channel is worth checking out. Ever seen a cat being carried in a baby carrier at the grocery store? A cat buckled into a car seat? Three cats sitting through storytime? It's all there. (Just a heads up: A few of the videos have explicit language, so parents might want to do a preview before watching with little ones.) You can follow the couple and their cats on all their social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube if TikTok isn't your thing, here.

If you weren't a cat person before, these videos might change your mind. Fair warning, however: Getting a cat because you want them to do things like this would be a mistake. Cats do what they want to do, and no one can predict what weird traits they will have. Even if you raise them from kittenhood, they're still unpredictable and weird.

And honestly, we wouldn't have them any other way.

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

Keep Reading Show less

There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

Keep Reading Show less