When people you think of Saint Patrick they often think of beer. But there are years and years of traditions and history behind Ireland’s Patron saint. We decided to do a little research to provide you with the most fun facts so you know what you’re talking about with a pint in hand come the 17th of March.
St. Patrick was a missionary bishop whose first miracle was to convert almost the entire country of Ireland to Christianity. Before Saint Patrick’s arrival, the island was known for its strong pagan beliefs but during the Protestant Revolt it was a strong bastion of Catholicism. Thanks Saint Patrick, in less than 30 years most of Ireland became Catholic.
He’s best known for the 33 resurrections that took place. One of the most important was the princess Dublina (who the city of Dublin is named after). After witnessing her drown in the river, the King Alphimus sent for Patrick of Armagh, who practiced an unknown religion that brought people back to life. Saint Patrick agreed to the request and revived Dublina. In response the King promised that, in gratitude, the whole city would be baptized with the new faith. Today, Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.
Why the shamrock?
When Saint Patrick first landed on the heathen land, one of their biggest challenges was to try to explain what the Holy Trinity was. To make it clear to everyone, he took a shamrock and compared it’s three leaves with the three different parts (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) that make up the Holy Trinity but are also one being.
Every 17th of March the entire world (and not just Irish) commemorate the death of Saint Patrick, who died in the year 461. In the past, this day was celebrated only as a religious holiday in Ireland, but has since be used to promote Irish culture internationally.
In 1997, the 17th March was first celebrated over three days and from the 2000 the event has lasted four days! All Ireland dresses up in green costumes, parades, elves, glasses with beer and millions of shamrocks flood the cities.
What is the best city?
Different cities in Ireland await for the arrival of tourists who want to enjoy the best festival. What’s our recommendation? They are four days of festivities, so if you’re thinking about travelling, spend one day in each of the following locations.
Dublin: As the capital, it’s where the largest and most colourful traditions are found. The Céilí Celtic festival is a great combination of music and dance.
Wexford: The very first Saint Patrick’s Day parade was held in Wexford. They’ve done so since 1917 and it gets bigger and better every year.
Dingle: The party starts early here. It all gets goiong at 6 in the morning to the sounds of bagpipes and drums.
Armagh: Because of its link with the Patron Saint celebrations here are longer than in the rest of the country. The county has one of the churches founded by St. Patrick himself and this adds a touch of spirituality that sets it apart from the celebrations in the rest of the country.