17th March is the day the world becomes Irish! Whether you call the special day St. Patrick’s Day, Paddy’s Day or St. Patty’s Day, the celebration all comes down to one man – the Patron Saint of Ireland. Here are 10 things you may not know about the man, the saint and the legend!

  1. Saint Patrick was not called Patrick at all to begin with – he was named Maewyn Succat!
  2. Patrick was not Irish. He was a middle class Briton from a noble Roman family
  3. The young man was kidnapped by Irish pirates who sold him as a slave and he began work as a shepherd in the County of Antrim. Until he made his escape home, Patrick took part in pagan rituals and worship.
  4. When Patrick returned to Ireland to spread the word of Christianity, he learned to speak fluent Irish to converse and gain the trust of the Irish clans.
  5. The Druid High Priests consulted their oracles, which spoke of a foreign man who would come to their shores and threaten their power and way of life.
  6. When Patrick attempted to meet with the Chiefs of Clans, the Druid High Priests bombarded him with all the dark forces they could muster. He waited on Slane Hill, across from the meeting point on the Hill of Tara. He lit the Easter Pascal Fire and no matter what the high priests did, they could not put out the flames.
  7. It was at the Hill of Tara, that Patrick met with the Chieftains and picked a single shamrock from the hillside to teach them of the Holy Trinity.
  8. Croagh Patrick in County Mayo was the location of Saint Patrick’s battle with evil for forty days and forty nights. It was originally a place of pagan summer solstice celebration and now is a place of pilgrimage.
  9. Green may be the colour of Ireland, but Saint Patrick used to wear vestments of blue! This colour was incorporated by Henry VIII who emblemised Ireland with a gold harp on a background of blue. The green came later.
  10. Saint Patrick died on 17th March in Downpatrick, County Down. Downpatrick translates as Patrick’s Stronghold. He is buried on Cathedral Hill alongside Saint Brigid and Saint Columcille.

“In Down, three saints one grave do fill, Patrick, Brigid and Columcille.”

Why not explore Ireland and visit some of Saint Patrick’s well-known locations? We can tailor your tour to add them in!

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