Skip to content

Bet you didn't know these 10 things about St. Patrick and Ireland!

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/17/2017 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

10 fun facts to share with your friends!

The most kids know of St. Patrick 's Day is that you must wear green or you'll get a pinch from your friends. Adults see the day as an occasion to celebrate, sometimes with green beer and other assorted alcoholic beverages. However, few really know what they are celebrating or why the holiday is so important, particularly in the Americas. 

The following 10 facts may help you to better enjoy this popular holiday.

Saint Patrick in blue vestments.

Saint Patrick in blue vestments.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
3/17/2017 (2 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes

Keywords: St. Patrick, Ireland, holiday, saints, top 10


10. March 17th is when Patrick died.

Saint Patrick is a saint of the Catholic Church, and his holy day is the day of his death, and subsequent entrance to heaven, rather than the day of his physical birth. After spending most of his adult life converting the pagans of Ireland to Christianity, St. Patrick went to his reward on March 17, 461 AD. 

Keep the Saint in St. Patrick's Day! Shop these remarkable Catholic products.

9. St. Patrick wasn't Irish.

St. Patrick wasn't Irish, and he wasn't born in Ireland. Patrick's parents were Roman citizens living in modern-day England, or more precisely in Scotland or Wales (scholars cannot agree on which). He was born in 385 AD. By that time, most Romans were Christians and the Christian religion was spreading rapidly across Europe.

8. St. Patrick was a slave.

At the age of 16, Patrick had the misfortune of being kidnapped by Irish raiders who took him away and sold him as a slave. He spent several years in Ireland herding sheep and learning about the people there. At the age of 22, he managed to escape. He made his way to a monastery in England where he spent 12 years growing closer to God.

7. St. Patrick used the shamrock to preach about the trinity.

Many claim the shamrock represents faith, hope, and love, or any number of other things but it was actually used by Patrick to teach the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and how three things, the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit could be separate entities, yet one in the same. Obviously, the pagan rulers of Ireland found Patrick to be convincing because they quickly converted to Christianity.

6. Legend says St. Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland.

According to legend, St. Patrick drove all the snakes, or in some translations, "toads," out of Ireland. In reality, this probably did not occur, as there is no evidence that snakes have ever existed in Ireland, the climate being too cool for them to thrive. Despite that, scholars suggest that the term "snakes" may be figurative and refer to pagan religious beliefs and practices rather than reptiles or amphibians. 

 5. Patrick's color is blue. 

The original color associated with St. Patrick is blue, not green as commonly believed. In several artworks depicting the saint, he is shown wearing blue vestments. King Henry VIII used the Irish harp in gold on a blue flag to represent the country. Since that time, and possibly before, blue has been a popular color to represent the country on flags, coats-of-arms, and even sports jerseys.

Green was associated with the country later, presumably because of the greenness of the countryside, which is so because Ireland receives plentiful rainfall. Today, the country is also referred to as the "Emerald Isle." 

4. The Shamrock is not the symbol of Ireland. 

The shamrock is a popular Irish symbol, but it is not the symbol of Ireland. As early as the medieval period, the harp has appeared on Irish gravestones and manuscripts. However, it is certain that the harp was popular in Irish legend and culture even well before that period. 

Since the medieval period, the harp has represented the nation. King Henry VIII used the harp on coins as early as 1534. Later, the harp was used on Irish flags and Irish coats of arms. The harp was also used as a symbol of the Irish people during their long struggle for freedom. Starting in 1642 the harp appeared on flags during rebellions against English rule. When Ireland became an independent country in 1921, it adopted the harp as the national symbol. 

3. There are more Irish in the USA than Ireland.

Well, sort of. An estimated 34 million Americans have Irish ancestry. Some are pure-blood Irish, meaning they or their parents came from Ireland, but many more have mixed ancestry today. By contrast, there are 4.2 million people living in Ireland. This peculiarity has a lot to do with the troubled history of Ireland. During the potato famine in Ireland, millions of Irish left the country for the US. This diaspora of Irish continued throughout much of the 19th century. Great numbers of Irish immigrants filled factories, served as railroad laborers --and even joined the military, sometimes immediately upon stepping foot on American soil! During the US Civil War, entire regiments of troops were comprised exclusively of Irish immigrants.  It wasn't until the economic boom of the 1990s that more Irish stayed in their native country than traveled abroad searching for better opportunities. 

2. St. Patrick's Day in the US has a strong political history.

In the mid 19th century, the Irish faced discrimination much like that faced by African Americans. In a few rare instances, prejudice against the Irish was even more fierce! The Irish were culturally unique, Catholic, and because of deplorable conditions in Ireland, flooded into the US in large numbers. They were perceived as a potentially disloyal and were treated harshly. To combat this, the American Irish began to organize themselves politically. By the end of the 19th century, St. Patrick's Day was a large holiday for the Irish and an occasion for them to demonstrate their collective political and social might. While the political emphasis has faded along with the discrimination, the holiday remains ever popular as an opportunity for festivity regardless of one's cultural background.

1. St. Patrick's was a dry holiday in Ireland until 1970.

Aside from the color green, the activity most associated with St. Patrick's Day is drinking. However, Irish law, from 1903 to 1970, declared St. Patrick's Day a religious observance for the entire country meaning that all pubs were shut down for the day. That meant no beer, not even the green kind, for public celebrants. The law was overturned in 1970, when St. Patrick's was reclassified as a national holiday - allowing the taps to flow freely once again.

Bonus Fact: Your odds of finding a four-leaf clover are:

About 1 in 10,000.

---


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'


Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2019
Young People and the Example of Mary.
That young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.


Comments


More Christian Saints & Heroes

Feast of the Deacon St Vincent Calls the Church and her Deacons to Heroic Virtue

Image of Vincent was born in the Third Century in Huesca, Spain and born again to eternal life only four days into the fourth century. He lived in Saragossa where he served the holy Bishop Valerius as a Deacon.He was one of the scores of Christians who suffered brutal persecution under the evil Roman emperor named Diocletian. Diocletian is associated with the last of the ten persecutions of the nascent undivided Christian Church of the first millennium of our history.  Like many early deacons of the undivided Church such as Stephen, Lawrence and Ephrem, the hagiography which has been passed down through the Church records his holiness of life and heroic virtue. He lived the way he died, as a sign of the power of the Gospel and the truth of the presence of the Risen Jesus Christ in our midst.

Vincent was a man like us who encountered the same Risen Lord Jesus whom we have encountered. He struggled with the choices which always ... continue reading


Santuario de Lourdes inaugura ano jubilar de Santa Bernardette Soubirus Watch

Image of

El rector del Santuario de Lourdes (Francia), P. Andre Cabes, acaba de inaugurar el "Ano Bernardita" o ano jubilar de Santa Bernardette ... continue reading



Reflection on the Silence of St. Joseph, the Guardian of the Redeemer Watch

Image of St. Joseph and the child Jesus

Joseph was a humble man. There was not an ounce of false bravado or machismo in this servant of God. Named after the great Patriarch who ... continue reading


Hoy es fiesta de San Alfredo, rey que defendio a su pueblo de los vikingos Watch

Image of

San Alfredo fue rey de Wessex, uno de los siete reinos principales que precedieron al reino de Inglaterra. Se hizo celebre por defender su ... continue reading


Hoy celebramos la fiesta de las Santas Tais y Pelagia Watch

Image of

Las Santas Tais y Pelagia fueron dos mujeres pecadoras que se arrepintieron, encontraron la misericordia de Dios y se volvieron penitentes. ... continue reading


Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.