Read the 2024 Edition of Discover Montserrat Magazine

First-Timers Guide to Montserrat’s St. Patrick’s Festival

Ready to find out why Montserrat makes a national celebration of St. Patrick’s Festival and why you should attend? Then keep reading.

What's Inside

When is St. Patrick's Festival?

The 2024 St. Patrick’s Festival will be held from March 8 to 18. However, there are always fringe events which lead up to the event.  March 17 is a public holiday.

Why Does Montserrat Celebrate St. Patrick's Festival?

Montserrat’s celebration of St. Patrick’s Festival is linked to the history of enslavement of African people. In 1768, a group of the enslaved planned a rebellion for the March 17th celebration that was planned at Government House. However, their plans were uncovered and nine of the rebels were killed and about 30 others were jailed and eventually sent away from Montserrat.

St. Patrick’s Day became a public holiday in 1985. However, the journey to making it a day to honour the martyrs began in the 70s. 

Over the years, due to various groups and individuals, the festival has evolved beyond cultural activities such as the lecture and the Heritage Feast to international shows, fetes with multiple DJs and fundraising events and competitions.

While you will see the island’s ‘Irish connection’ in the use of the four-leaf clovers, leprechauns and gold bullions, the primary focus is to celebrate the efforts of our foreparents to free their people from enslavement.

Getting to Montserrat

By Ferry – Visit the booking page for the latest schedule as it may change depending on weather conditions.

By Air – Two airlines service Montserrat daily. Fly Montserrat and ABM Air. Remember, you will be weighed at check-in in Antigua and Montserrat when you are departing. Check-in closes one hour before the departure time.

Your idea of what is essential may mean that you’ve got additional luggage. This could impact whether all your baggage arrives with you.

Where Should I Stay in Montserrat?

As many of the people who return home are Montserratians or friends of, they commonly stay with friends and family when they come.

Finding accommodation for rent for the festival can be challenging if arrangements are not made early.

We have a combination of villas, small hotels, apartments, and bed & breakfasts. Check out online Facebook Groups like Beg, Borrow, Buy, Sell Montserrat, Montserrat Marketplace, and Montserrat Connection to ask for options or to see what is available.

Where to Eat?

You may have heard that Goat Water is our national dish and there is sure to be lots of it on sale during the festival. However, you don’t need to wait until Heritage Feast to sample this tasty delight. 

Every Friday, cookshops like The Boiling Point aka Miss Juliet at the Little Bay Market serve Goat Water. Uncle John at The People’s Place at Hilltop also cooks this national dish on a Friday. Pat West fills the gap effortlessly on Saturdays. It is best to order hers in advance to avoid disappointment.

A typical breakfast for the St. Patrick's Festival.

Montserrat has numerous cook shops and restaurants in the North and South of the island.

Between Brades and Little Bay, you will find places where you can dine in or pick up only. Depending on how many people have returned for the festival, wait times at restaurants may be longer than normal. For people who need to eat at regular intervals due to health reasons, consider planning meals in advance and cooking at home.

Get a list of supermarkets and grocery stores here.

There are often pop-up roadside events from Carr’s Bay corner and on the main road towards Marine Village in Little Bay. These often provide more traditional foods such as ducana, coconut dumpling, saltfish and fried fish. Pay attention to social media to find out when these events will be happening.

In the South, reservations are necessary for Isles Bay Beach Bar, Olveston House and Watermelon Cottage. Andrea’s Takeaway in Salem provides local and Jamaican cuisine and comfortable outdoor dining.

We love our lard bread in Montserrat. Here are local bakeries where you can buy some. 

What to Budget For?

$$$ in case you need to overnight in Antigua due to missed plane or cancelled ferry.

$$ eating out. Meals can run between XCD $25 to $100 each depending on where you are dining.

$$$ event tickets. Early bird tickets are a good deal if you can get them to stretch your funds. Unfortunately, many events do not offer online sales so you will need to coordinate with someone on the island to purchase for you or grab tickets when you arrive. They are rarely sold out.

$$ Souvenirs and T-Shirts – Order Our Unique Montserrat Tees to Wear at the festival.

$$ Heritage Feast requires its own line item in your budget as there will be so much to sample. Not only local foods, but there are booths featuring other Caribbean specialities and world foods.

$$ A SIM. If you don’t plan to roam, then you will need to purchase a local SIM from either Digicel in Brades or FLOW in Sweeney’s. 

$$ Taking the bus or a taxi. See official rates here.

What to Bring?

Several of the events are themed and what to wear is in the title. (Check the schedule below.)

Events at the Cultural Centre lend themselves to sparkle and heels, like the awards ceremony and the gala opening of the play.

Bring bathing suits and coverups for wet fetes and days at the beach.

A denim jacket, wrap or hoodie may be necessary for late night events which are all outdoors.

Hiking boots if you want to check out our trails. 

A water bottle. Our water is clean to drink from the tap. Fill up in your house or at Runaway Ghaut when you are out and about.

Mural in Salem.

Getting Around

There is no regularly scheduled public transportation system to get around on the island.

Bus times are random and at the whim of the driver. Some bus services will offer special rates and times for the festival.

A taxi service is available. See the rates as a guide.

Renting a car is recommended. However, there is a limited number of vehicles available, and they are booked early. Check with your accommodation to see if they have vehicles for rent or know a service you can call.

If you have a foreign license, you will need to apply for a temporary driver’s license. You can do this online at

What is the Weather Like in March?

Montserrat in March is beautiful. Lots of clear blue skies and the green is really greening. There may be a few showers of rain but mostly it is dry and warm.

Even late nights in the park will be comfortable but it doesn’t hurt to bring along a denim jacket or light wrap just in case the temperature drops. (Our idea of temps dropping is 79 degrees Fahrenheit and below.)

Seas tend to be rough during this time of the year and sea bathing may not be advisable.

Sound Clash at Good Life Night Club (File Photo)

Main Venues

Good Life Night Club – Little Bay

Montserrat Cultural Centre, Little Bay

Salem Park, Salem

The Full Schedule

The schedule includes official events from the calendar as well as other community activities. Additional venues and ticket prices will be added as they become available.

Click on the links to find out more about the event and where to purchase tickets.

Saturday, March 2
  • Miss Montserrat Enchanting 8 Red Carpet Event
Sunday, March 3
  • Translink & Uncle Bas with 3 Cylinder Band
Friday, March 8
  • GalaPlay – Women in 4 Movements – Cultural Centre
  • Blue Jeans by Tribe Star Sound – Good Life Night Club, Little Bay – 10PM
Saturday, March 9
  • MAPS Annual Golf Tournament – Old Towne – 9AM
  • Lighting of the Symbolic Flame – Cudjoe Head – 5PM
  • Play – Women in 4 Movements – Cultural Centre – 7PM – $50
  • Sneakers & Jersey – 10PM
Sunday, March 10
  • Boozey Brunch – Cultural Centre – 11AM – $65
Monday, March 11
  • National Museum – First People Exhibition
  • St. Patrick’s Lecture Series – Public Library – 5:30PM
  • Matrixx Dance Co. – Cultural Centre – 7:30PM – $40
  • Neon Wear by M2K – Good Life Night Club – 10PM
Tuesday, March 12
  • National Awards Ceremony – Cultural Centre – 6PM
  • 3×3 Basketball Competition – Little Bay Sports Centre – 6PM
  • Remedy by Imperial Entertainment
Wednesday, March 13
  • Montserrat Idol Finale -Cultural Centre – 8PM – $30
  • Sound Clash – Good Life Night Club – 11PM
Thursday, March 14
    • National Trust Flower Show & Tea Party – Salem – 2PM – $30
    • Launch of Village 664 – Good Life – 3PM to 6PM
    • Art Exhibition – Arrow’s Manshop – 4PM to 9PM – FREE
    • Emerald Community Singers – Brades Arts & Education Ctre – 8PM – $20
    • Leprechaun’s Revenge – Leprechaun’s Valley – 10PM – $65
Friday, March 15
    • Unveiling of 3rd National Hero Painting – MSS – Salem – 1PM
    • The Art Exhibition – Arrow’s Manshop, Sweeneys – 12PM to 6PM
    • Old School Ball – Vue Pointe – 8PM – 2AM – $75
    • All White Affair – Cultural Centre – 10PM – $80
Saturday, March 16 – National Heroes Day
  • Hike with Scriber’s Adventures
  • The Art Exhibition – Arrow’s Manshop, Sweeneys – 12PM to 6PM
  • Treasure Spot All Day Lime
  • St. Patrick’s Day Church Dinner
  • It’s Fashion by Molly – Moose’s Place, Little Bay – 4PM – $30
  • Stratify – Little Bay Park – 10PM – $135
Sunday, March 17
  • St. Patrick’s Day Church Service – Lookout – 9AM
  • Scriber’s Ferry Island Tour – Little Bay – 1PM – $130
  • Book Launch – Balm in Gilead – Pont’s Beach Bar – 3PM
  • Montserrat Motor Sports Association – Cash Day – Cork Hill
  • Small Beginnings in Concert – National Trust – 5PM
  • Soaked – The Ultimate We Fete by Fabulous Entertainment
  • Emerald City Fest – Little Bay Park – $135 – 9PM
Monday, March 18
  • Jouvert Jam – 5AM – Salem
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Salem from MSS to Heritage Village
  • Heritage Feast & Market Day – Noon – until
  • Junior Calypso Competition – 5PM

What Do I Do in An Emergency?

The Police & Fire Station are located within walking distance of Salem Park and the location for the Heritage Feast. Emergency personnel will also be at the official events.

Call – 999

The A&E is located at Glendon Hospital in St. John’s.

Tree blossoms can be a source of irritation. If you need allergy medication, Lee’s Pharmacy is in Brades. 

Just in Case:

Your luggage was left behind? Ensure that you have a spare set of clothing in your carryon. Your luggage could arrive days late depending on the carrier and the amount of people who they are accommodating. (Ensure they have your contact number to call when it arrives. But also follow up even if they do not call.)

Ran Out of Cash and the Bank is Closed? The local bank ATMs do not accept any credit cards. You will need to use your card at local stores and events which provide a card machine. Some supermarkets like Victor’s Montserrat will give you cash back for a fee.