On the 17th March every year, Irish spirit kicks in, the world is painted green and Guinness is drank by the gallon, but how much do you know about the man being celebrated?
Irish folklore tells us that St Patrick famously chased the snakes out of Ireland in the 5th century, but the patron saint did much more for the Emerald Isle than rid them of snakes, even though he wasn’t actually Irish!
St Patrick was in fact a Welshman, born to wealthy parents, but was kidnapped by a gang of Irish marauders and sold into slavery. After spending five years working as a shepherd, he escaped and walked 200 miles from Mayo to the north coast, with a plan to leave Ireland.
Patrick trained in religious education in Auxerre for 15 years, before returning to Ireland as a Roman Anglo Bishop, with the task of spreading Christianity in Ireland.
As it turned out, Patrick was pretty good at the role, as he incorporated traditional Irish rituals such as bonfires into his teachings and is also credited with creating the iconic Celtic cross, which you’ll probably see tattooed on endless 30 – 40 year olds if you have a scan around any town in Britain!
This work upset the high ranking members of society, known as the Celtic Druids, and poor Paddy was thrown in prison, only to escape on numerous occasions and continue with his work, which lasted for around thirty years in total.
Patrick died on 17th March 461 AD, and he is estimated to have been 75 years old – a fine feat in the days before modern medicine. From this day forward, St Patrick’s Day was celebrated on the 17th March to celebrate his life and impact on Irish culture.
As you may have guessed, St Patrick’s Day celebrations have changed drastically from their beginnings. Leprechauns, Guinness and party spirit have kicked in and the 17th of March is now an excuse to paint yourself green and act like an eejit all day!