Interesting People Slemish, Antrim Where Saint Patrick Was Said To Have Been Enslaved Photo By Albert Bridge Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Published on March 8th, 2010 | by Yellow Magpie

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Saint Patrick: The Adopted Irish Man

Slemish, Antrim Where Saint Patrick Was Said To Have Been Enslaved Photo By Albert Bridge Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Saint Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland and is credited with bringing Christianity to the pagans of the Emerald Isle. Even more remarkably, he is also said to be responsible for ridding the country of snakes.

Yet perhaps oddly, for one of the most famous people ever to have existed, very little is known about the man behind the legend. Although he is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, we now know that this was not the case and the he was preceded by several missionaries prior to his arrival in Ireland.

Saint Patrick Stain Glass Church Our Lady Cork Photo By Andreas F. Borchert Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Saint Patrick: Synonymous With Being Irish

While one can doubt the legends that surround Saint Patrick, one cannot be incredulous of the effects that he has had on the world. Despite the fact that he was not a native of Ireland, Saint Patrick is a focal point for Irish identity. He has acted for centuries as a conduit for something truly unique. A coming together of a global Irish diaspora which extends not only to national boundaries but also to mindsets.

Saint Patrick is not only firmly entrenched in the very idea of being Irish, he is also a reference point for what it means to be ‘Irish’ and all that entails. The Irish are said to be free-spirited, friendly and empathetic. So in essence, no birthright is required to join this Irish club only a similar outlook.

Although cynics could be forgiven for thinking that the whole festival either seems like one giant advertisement by the Irish Tourism board, there is a genuine expression of cultural identity.

Saint Patrick's Day Chicago River Dyed Greed Photo By Knowledge Seeker

Saint Patrick’s Day Chicago River Dyed Greed Photo By Knowledge Seeker

Saint Patrick’s Day goes way beyond a religious festival. It is a cultural phenomenon. A kernel adopted by the Irish people has grown from its seedling into an International Day. A day which not only traverses both local and national boundaries but one which brings together a multitude of nations. All with a common aim to celebrate life and happiness.

One could speculate about what Patrick would have made of his day of commemoration. However, his most likely thought probably would be one of surprise.

Saint Patrick’s Day: A National Day Of Festivities

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th of every year and is a national day of festivity in Ireland with parades and fun the order of the day. Meanwhile, other countries around the world have also taken to holding parades in honour of the great man.

Saint Patrick's Day Parade In Dublin Photo By uggboy

Saint Patrick’s Day Parade In Dublin Photo By uggboy

This year Bord Failte, the Irish Tourism Board, has spent over twenty eight million euro as part of a tourism drive a feature of this promotion will see such  iconic buildings and constructions such as the Empire State Building, The Sydney Opera House,  The London Eye and The Manneken Pis in Brussels, turning the colour green for the big day.

Even the fountain in front of the White House will also gush green water to mark the occasion. All of which suggests that to be Irish is something to be proud of and also hints at something of the magic and mischief of the Irish people.

Saint Patrick's Day Green Lit Sydney Opera House Photo By Mike Young Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Saint Patrick’s Day Green Lit Sydney Opera House Photo By Mike Young Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Who Was Saint Patrick?

Saint Patrick was said to be a Romano Briton and a missionary. Two authentic letters survive that give the only true account of the life of the saint.  When he was only 14 years of age, Patrick was captured by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland. There he worked for six years with legend saying he tended sheep on Sliabh Mis, in County Antrim until he made his escape and returned to his family back in the British Isles.

However, according to folklore, Patrick always had a longing to bring the faith to the pagan people of Ireland and after entering the church and becoming a Bishop he returned to Ireland to the North and West of the country. However, the details are sketchy. There is only limited information about his work, and no link has been officially found to any particular church.

But he is said to have founded over 300 churches and baptised over 120,000 natives. Thereby, gaining their respect and trust. Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock to preach the mystery of the Holy Trinity. The three leafs of the shamrock represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in one god symbolised by the stem. Hence the association of the shamrock with Ireland and its use as the national emblem of Ireland.

Saint Patrick And The Shamrock Photo By Supportstorm

Saint Patrick And The Shamrock Photo By Supportstorm

Saint Patrick is thought to have fasted for 40 days and 40 nights on top of Croagh Patrick in County Mayo and it was here he is supposed to have gathered snakes from all over the country and banished them forever from the land.

He is also heralded with lighting the first Easter Paschal Fire on the Hill of Tara in County Meath, this was in contravention of the laws at the time which said the fire of Easter should first be lit by the King of Tara.

There are a variety of dates given as to when Saint Patrick died, ranging from 387 AD to 490 AD with many giving March 17 as the exact date.

Saint Patrick's Day In The ISS Astronaut Chris Hadfield Photo By NASA

Saint Patrick’s Day In The ISS Astronaut Chris Hadfield Photo By NASA

The Wearing Of The Green

Everything green is associated with Saint Patrick’s Day and most people try to wear at least something of that colour on the day. While other people grow shamrock and pin it onto their coats.

Saint Patrick’s day is a national holiday in Ireland and most people are off from work and attend Mass which is often celebrated in the Irish language.

‘Hail Glorious Saint Patrick’ is the hymn that is usually sung at these Masses.

Which begins ‘Hail Glorious Saint Patrick, dear saint of our Isle. On us thy poor children bestow a sweet smile. For now thou are high in thy mansions above. On Eireann’s green valley look down in thy love.

Saint Patrick's Day Moscow Photo By Кирилл Сергеев Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Saint Patrick’s Day Moscow Photo By Кирилл Сергеев Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

The Parades

It is usually after Mass that the parades begin and they are held up and down the country with every village and town doing their best to create floats and show off their local bands and sporting organisations. Many of the more cunning take the opportunity to advertise their business.

However, there has been criticism in recent years at the high level of drinking that takes place on the day with many feeling it is just an excuse to get drunk. This criticism is especially vociferous in Ireland itself.

But most of the Irish enjoy the day and have a traditional dinner of bacon and cabbage, followed by a desert of hopefully something sweet and in some cases green.

Irish coffee is another drink associated with Saint Patrick’s Day and is a delicious blend of sugared coffee and whiskey topped off with thick cream. This can warm the cockles after the parades on what are often extremely cold days.

Irish Coffee Photo By Jules Stone Soup Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Irish Coffee Photo By Jules Stone Soup Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

From humble beginnings, Saint Patrick’s day is celebrated in many countries around the world. In fact, where ever there are Irish people, there is sure to be a Saint Patrick’s day parade, with shamrocks, green badges, balloons, hats and coats the order of the day.

This year President Obama will welcome the Taoiseach of Ireland, Enda Kenny and a number of other dignitaries to the White House. That night there will be a dinner and the Taoiseach will present President Obama with a bowl of shamrock.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day To All Our Readers!

For a taste of what Saint Patrick’s Day is all about  enjoy watching this video.

Check out Yellow Magpie’s Saint Patrick Quotes: Words Attributed To The Man to see what he thought about religion, God, and violence.


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2 Responses to Saint Patrick: The Adopted Irish Man

  1. Pingback: Saint Patrick Quotes: Words Attributed To The Man

  2. BRI - DAR says:

    I wish you all a very Happy St Patrick, s Day..My contribution is the Song called RIVER LIFFEY DUBLIN CITY. Hope you all like it As on brienodeargain channel
    You tube Bless you all From BRI – DAR

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