Interesting Facts about St. Patrick's Day
Posted by Niamh Allabyrne on the 13th of March 2013 at 09:52:40
With only a few days to go before we bedeck ourselves in green, drink a Shamrock Shake or some Green Beer, prepare the corned beef and peel the potatoes perhaps while singing as song or two and doing a jig – here are some facts that you may not know about Ireland’s most famous holiday – St. Patrick’s Day!
- The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was actually held in Boston on March 18th 1737, followed by the New York Parade in 1762. Ireland’s first parade was in Dublin in 1931.
- St. Patrick isn’t actually Irish – nobody is quite sure where he hails from exactly, but he either came from Scotland or from an old Roman family in Wales.
- Anyone that has been to Ireland is keenly aware of our weather situation! As the saying goes when Irish eyes are smiling the whole world smiles too – sadly this is usually on the one day of summer we get each year! With this in mind, it is no wonder that no right-minded snake ever actually ventured to Ireland and so while we can credit Patrick with bringing Christianity to the heathen Irish – he did not banish the snakes from Ireland!
- In the USA, corned beef and cabbage has long been considered a staple of the St. Patrick’s Day table - I for one have never actually tasted/seen corned beef! The dish seemed to have become popular when Irish immigrants substituted pork for the cheaper meat of corned beef and over time, the dish grew in popularity and association within the Irish-American community.
- The only other country in the world which celebrates St. Patrick’s Day as a national holiday is the Caribbean island of Montserrat. In the early 17th century, a large number of Irish refugees settled on the island and over time St. Patrick’s Day became one of their national holidays! Know where I’ll be celebrating next year!
- There is some dispute over Patrick’s date and place of death and even where he is buried. However, it is largely held that he died in County Down in Northern Ireland between the years 463Ad and 493AD, and was buried in the grounds of Down Cathedral. A large stone in the grounds marks the spot, with only the simple Patric engraved on it.
- Although everyone associates the colour green with St. Patrick and indeed with Ireland itself, the saint was actually affiliated with the colour blue and Ireland’s national colour is actually blue –( royal blue to be exact) not green. It is thought that as Patrick preached using the green shamrock as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, overtime his associated colour changed from blue to green!
- St. Patricks’ Cathedral in Dublin was founded in 1192 on March 17th and was constructed over the site of 4 earlier churches. Within the grounds there is a stone slab known as St. Patrick’s Well Stone, which covers the remains of a much earlier well where, it is thought, St. Patrick baptised Christian converts.
- There are a few relics pertaining to St. Patrick still in existence, most notably the St. Patrick Bell held in the National Museum of Ireland. His four gospels are held in The Royal Irish Academy.
- Patrick has also been credited with establishing the Leap Year tradition in Ireland, where every 4 years on February 29th, woman can propose to men. It is thought that St. Brigid – a contemporary of Patrick had complained that Irish women were waiting too long for a marriage proposal from their Irish beaus and so Patrick set up the tradition of Leap Year, just to keep her quiet!
So, I hope you learned some facts about St. Patrick and perhaps even inspired you to take a trip to the Emerald Isle! From Croagh Patrick in Mayo to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin and the cathedrals of Down and Armagh, click to Custom your tour of Ireland and follow in St. Patrick’s footsteps!