Bitter Sugar


The island of St. Croix has a Granard, Annally, Longford, Corn Hill, Cartys, Cartys Point, and Madame Cartys placenames. All very quant and interesting until we realise these were some of the slave owners…"

A distant isle, where it rarely rains
Families in a Granard that never burned
Bar neath the sun, until
The darkness of the day to night turned
Cooled the sweat upon the brow
Of those whose forefathers shackles and chains
Rattled in the fields in fear of the whip yielded
By those of whose power only the names remains.

The fields from where my people come
Lived in fear of the yeomans sword
The flames set by redcoats and Covenanter
The neighbours whispering words.
Little known, less spoken of the darkies
Driven by plantation agents from here across the sea
Drovers of humanity whip workers to grow the bitter sugar
That I stir here now to sweeten my coffee.

Article on Longford involvement in the Slave Trade >>>


“darkies” a semi-racist term for coloured people, can be or not depending on the context used in the vernacular today spoken in North Longford.

“Covenantor” – puritan and Cromwellian troops that burned Longford to the ground in wars from the 1600 to 1650 period.

“neighbours whispering words” informers who often turned in people for money or a grudge.

“Drovers” Pauric Colums famous poem of The Drover is invoked to show the way these people thought others were like cattle to be used and abused.

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