2015 (J. S. Handler & M. C. Reilly) “Father Antoine Biet’s Account Revisited: Irish Catholics in Mid-Seventeenth Century Barbados.” In A. Donnell, M. McGarrity, and E. O’Callaghan, eds., Caribbean Irish Connections (University of the West Indies Press, Mona, Jamaica), pp. 33-46.
In 1654, Antoine Biet, a French Catholic priest, travelled to Cayenne in South America, but unforeseen circumstances led him to a short stay in Barbados; ten years later he published an account of his experiences in the New World, including his visit to the island. In 1967, Handler published a translation of the two chapters of Biet’s volume that describe his three-month Barbados sojourn. Biet’s account offers a unique first-hand glimpse into life in Barbados during a period when the so-called sugar revolution was well underway and Barbados was generating an enormous amount of wealth from sugar produced on large-scale plantations largely worked by enslaved Africans. Although writers have used Biet’s account to illustrate a number of features of Barbadian society, little attention has been paid to his interactions with Irish nationals on the island and how such interactions reflect broader issues concerning the lives of Irish Catholics in a Protestant-dominated English colony.