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Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. His feast day is celebrated on 17th March, St Patrick’s Day, which is the date of the anniversary of his death in 461.

Patrick’s real name was Maewyn Succat. He was born in 387 A.D. in Roman Britain (in Wales). His father was a Christrian Deacon and his grandfather was a priest. At the age of 16 he was kidnapped by a band of raiders, who were dispatched by Ireland’s King Niall of the Nine Hostages. Patrick was taken to Ireland as a slave and became a swineherd. While enslaved, Patrick prayed and was visited by angels. After six years, he managed to escape his captors after hearing a voice telling him to travel to a ship, which would bring him back to Britain. However, on his way to Britain, he was captured again and spent 60 days captive in France. During this time, he learned about French monastic life. Patrick had a vision to bring Christianity to Ireland and he returned to Ireland to convert the Pagans to Christianity.


St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St Patrick’s Day! Saint Patrick’s Day, often affectionally called Paddys Day, is celebrated world-wide. To wish someone a happy St. Patrick’s Day in Irish, use ‘Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit’.

The Feast of Saint Patrick, is the most important cultural and religious celebration held in Ireland. But with about 70 million people claiming Irish heritage or ancentry world-wide, it is no wonder that this day is celebrated around the globe. Wearing of the ‘green’ and shamrocks and attending your local parade is all part of the day. Many famous buildings around the world go green for St. Patrick’s Day.

The g hotel Galway: Mother's Day & St Patrick's Day 2015

St Patrick’s Day Parade

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all over the world, with many communities coming together to organise their own local parish/town/city parade. With bands, floats and various organisations participating in parades, they are a great spectacle and the streets are thronged with onlookers. The national parade in Dublin City is organised by the St. Patrick’s Day Festival Committee, but there is so much more to the festivities than just the parade, read more here.


Saint Patrick and the Cross

Celtic CrossSilver Cross Necklace, Celtic Cross Necklace made in Ireland by Boru Jewelry

The Celtic Cross is also referred to as the High Cross, the Irish Cross and the Cross of Iona. It has pre-Christian origins, but is associated with Celtic Christianity. The Celtic Cross is traditionally a Christian Latin cross with a circle around the centre arms. The circle and cross combination symbolises the harmony and stability of powerful divine energies of a solar life source.

The circular shape was an important pagan symbol. Incorporating this pagan circle on the cross, helped to convert pagans to Christianity. Some believe the idea of this Celtic symbol was cleverly conceived by St. Patrick in an effort to convert the Druids.


Carndonagh Cross Wall Ornament, in bronze, made in Ireland by RynhartCarndonagh Cross

In 412, St Patrick founded a monastery at Carndonagh, which is located on the beautiful Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal. Carndonagh – Carn Domhnaigh – means ‘The Sunday Cairn’, or ‘Burial Mound of the Church’. The only remaining element of the monastery is a high cross, known as the Carndonagh High Cross, also known as the Donagh or St. Patrick’s Cross.

This cross is one of the earliest, dating to the 7th century, and most important of the crosses found in Ireland. The original high crosses were carved on big slabs of granite stone. It is thought the Carndonagh Cross is one of the first cut in the shape of a cross, rather than carved into a slab.

The Carndonagh Cross is carved with Celtic knotwork representing the Tree of Life and Christian icons depicting Jesus and his followers. This national monument can be visited at Carndonagh.


Saint Patrick and the Snakes Croagh Patrick | mountain, Mayo, Ireland | Britannica

Ireland is the only country with no snakes! St. Patrick is credited with banishing the snakes from Ireland in the fifth century A.D.

Legend has it, while praying and fasting for the 40 days of Lent on a mountain in Co Mayo, snakes (demons) began to attack Patrick. He chased them all into a lake, named as Demon’s Hollow or Log na nDeamhan, thereby banishing all snakes from Ireland.

Originally called Cruachan Aigli (Cruachan = conical mountain; Aigli = eagle), this mountain is now called Croagh Patrick and considered a holy mountain, which c.100,000 people climb each year.

However, it is known that there were never snakes in Ireland as there are no signs of snakes in Ireland’s fossil record. Because of the ice age, the island of Ireland was just too cold for snakes and there was no land bridge from Britain or Europe for the snakes to slither over once the Ice Age ended.

The snakes and serpents referred to are more likely to have a connection to religious conflict with the Druids.  Serpents are a symbol of the devil and evil throughout the Bible. They were also emblems of the Druids and their Pagan ways. The legend of St. Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland has more a of a connection to the conversion of Paganism to Christianity. Stories of battles with saints and serpents are likely to have a meaning of saints overtaking former Pagan holy grounds and erecting churches.


Saint Patrick and the Shamrock

The Harp is the official emblem of Ireland, however, the shamrock is probably the most recognised symbol of Ireland. So what is Shamrock and what is it’s connection to St. Patrick?

Ceramic Shamrock Ornament made in IrelandThe Shamrock is variant of white clover. Shamrock comes from the Irish seamróg – seamair óg – meaning ‘young clover’. This plant normally has 3 leaves. It is said to be lucky to find a clover or shamrock plant with 4 leaves, as it is so rare. This was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland. The Druids believed by carrying a shamrock, they could ward off evil spirits and danger. The shamrock enabled them to see the evil spirits and escape in time.  The Shamrock, young clover, symbolised the rebirth of spring. Also, the three leaves of the shamrock was likened to the goddess Danu, who existed in ancient times and was referred to as the maiden, mother and crone of Ireland.

St. Patrick lived at a time of paganism in Ireland. He used the three leaves of the Shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity when he was trying to convert pagan Celts to Christianity. The Holy Trinity in Christian doctrine, is the unity of the three in one Godhead, i.e. God (the Father), Jesus (the Son) and the Holy Spirt. Saint Patrick used the shamrock as a analogy, using each Shamrock leaf to represent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit respectively. Saint Patrick would have explained to the pagans that the shamrock was like the idea of the Trinity, that in the one God there are three divine beings. As the shamrock was sacred to the Druids, Saint Patrick’s metaphor was another very clever ploy.

The Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) presents a bowl of shamrock to the President of the USA each March, while on official visit just before St. Patrick’s Day. Happy St Patrick’s day!


The Breastplate of St. Patrick

St. Patrick’s Breastplate is said to have been written by St Patrick in 433 A.D., as he appealed for devine protection.

Breastplate of St. Patrick

Christ with me, Christ before me,

Christ behind me, Christ within me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Chrsti when I lie down,

Christ when I sit down,

Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man

who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone

who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear who hears me.


Click to view all Ireland themed gifts, Irish symbols, inlcuding Shamrock gifts, currently in stock at Totally Irish Gifts


Wishing you a very Happy St Patrick’s Day!


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