5 St. Patrick’s Day Fueled Facts

The Patron Saint of Ireland has his legacy celebrated across the world every March 17th. A global celebration means the Saint Patrick Centre in Downpatrick, Co. Down isn’t accessible for all so we bring you five unique facts about the day itself.

When our Boston office is gifted with shamrocks planted in a tri-colored plant pot, it could only mean one thing – St. Patrick’s Day is upon us! We are always excited to feature all things St. Patrick in our popular tours, from his resting place to the site he announced the arrival of Christianity, because he is a symbol of Ireland, Northern Ireland and well…a great day out!

To honor St. Patrick’s Day, we take a look at five St. Patrick facts to fuel celebrations at home or in the pub this March 17th!

1) It’s St. Patrick’s Day! But what are we exactly celebrating…

St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious celebration of Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick. Often overlooked, the religious celebration of Saint Patrick marks his death on March 17 461 AD. The saint of the Catholic Church spent most of his life converting Ireland’s pagans to Christianity in between his run ins with snakes of course…

Today, the remains of St. Patrick are buried in the graveyard of Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland as he lived here leading up to his death. Well, it’s not called ‘Saint Patrick’s Town’ for nothing…

2) Let’s recap about those snakes…

The legend of St. Patrick slithers from back in the fifth century when the Christian missionary was attacked by snakes during a 40-day fast he was taking part in. St. Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland using a powerful sermon and his staff to herd the all Ireland’s snakes into the sea.

While the annual debate of whether or not St. Patrick actually banished snakes from Ireland surfaces this time of year, I feel we can all agree a snake-less Ireland works well for me…

3) So that’s why we celebrate – and you should too!

St. Patrick’s Day is a global celebration throughout Irish communities all over the world. In fact, the Irish can’t even claim the creation of the St. Patrick’s Day parades which are held in many cities around the world today, drawing thousands of people to unite in celebration.

According to the history books, Boston recorded the first ever St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1737 which was followed by the first New York Parade in 1762.  Boston’s relationship with Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day speaks for itself, but what about George Washington? On Evacuation Day in 1776, Washington ordered “St. Patrick” as the Continental Army’s response to the people using the password “Boston” to safely pass their lines…

4) So grab your green…or is it blue

Blue was the original color of Ireland’s patron saint, in fact to be precise it was a shade called “Saint Patrick’s Blue”. This very blue was considered symbolic of Ireland for a long time, just look at the Irish Presidential Stand which is still blue, but you can thank the Shamrock for the sea of greenery on March 17th.

The simple Shamrock was used as a teaching tool by St. Patrick. He used the three-leaved plant to educate Irish pagans on the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and quickly, green became the color of Ireland’s national saint and his country. Good job too – how would the London Eye, The Leaning Tower of Pisa and Chicago River look blue?

5) And raise a glass…just not like they use to

March 17th is a big day for the Irish and raising a glass is almost a national duty today – but this was not always the case.  The law in Ireland from 1903 to 1970 meant St. Patrick’s Day was considered a religious observance and so, all pubs were shut down for the entire day.

In 1970, the people rejoiced as March 17th was converted to a national holiday, resuming the flowing of pub taps across the island ever since. But the biggest rejoice of all perhaps came from Guinness, who estimate to sell 13 million pints of the black stuff to more than 33 million people around the world today – lets (albeit responsibly) join and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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