As you roam the Blue Mountains, stop off at this village. Between the misty hiking trails and the edge of the city is this little window into Jamaican life.
Explore the unique time capsule of Irish Town, a small Jamaican village unbothered by the world. Driving up in the hills of St. Andrew, you’ll discover this place that seems a universe away from the bustle of the city of Kingston.
Irish Town is a self-contained community with many lifelong residents. However, it is connected to Kingston in terms of movements of people, perhaps more like a suburb. The village is a common stop on the way to the national park attractions such as Holywell Park, the nearby coffee plantations and the famous Strawberry Hill Resort. Stop in Irish Town to mingle with local residents and soak up the atmosphere of a typical Jamaican town.
It’s a true delight to smell the coffee growing nearby, the aroma carried on the clear mountain breeze. To see how the beans for your morning drink are grown and harvested, make an appointment for a tour of the plantation at the Craighton Estate.
From Irish Town get a full sense of Jamaica’s natural beauty: lush vegetation, staggering mountain ranges, palm trees and pristine white shores down below. Go to the local bar and have a drink with the locals. Hear the stories of this area and how it’s been changing. You might run into some Rastafarians from the settlement nearby. St Mark’s Chapel is a charming little white clapboard place of worship. In its small cemetery are graves dating to the mid-19th century.
Hiking around this area’s waterfalls and forest trails is a wonderful way to spend a day. As you may have guessed from the name, a number of Irish settlers came to this site in the past. The locals here still grow potatoes as well as coffee. Drive carefully and pay attention to signs on the narrow roads leading to Irish Town, between Kingston and the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park.