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17 Surprising Fact’s About St. Patrick’ Day

17 Surprising Fact’s About St. Patrick’ Day

If you’re looking for fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll find some weird and wonderful ones below.

Now, while some of the various St. Patrick’s Day facts are well known others, like the fact he isn’t from Ireland, tend to surprise many.

Oh… and he didn’t really drive the snakes out of Ireland, but more about that below!

Fun facts about St. Patrick

st patrick's day background

Photos via Shutterstock

The first section of our guide focuses on fun facts about St. Patrick – Ireland’s Patron Saint, while the second focuses on St. Patrick’s Day facts about the celebration itself.

Below, you’ll discover tales about pirates, snakes and the original colour associated with St. Patrick (it wasn’t green!).

1. He wasn’t Irish

If you’re not familiar with the story of St. Patrick, you may not be aware that he is not in fact Irish. St. Patrick is British. It’s believed that he was born in either Wales or Scotland. This is arguably the most frequently misbelieved of the many facts about St. Patrick.

2. When he was born

St. Patrick was born in Roman-Britain (Britain was under Roman rule for 350 years) circa 386 A.D. He didn’t arrive in Ireland until 433. 

3. When he died

St. Patrick died in 461 in Saul, County Down, at the fine old age of (roughly) 75.

4. He was abducted at 16

This is another of the lesser known St. Patrick facts that I had never really heard. St. Patrick was abducted at the age of 16 and brought to Northern Ireland as a slave. He was forced to tend to sheep for 6 years in the mountains.

5. His remains are believed to be at Down Cathedral

It’s believed that the remains of St. Patrick are buried at Down Cathedral in County Down.  This magnificent Cathedral is a Church of Ireland cathedral and it’s found on the site of a Benedictine Monastery.

6. His name wasn’t Patrick

One of the more surprising St. Patrick’s Day facts revolves around his name. So, apparently ‘Patrick’ is a name that he picked up along the way at some point. St. Patrick’s real name was ‘Maewyn Succat’. The best of luck pronouncing that!

7. He didn’t banish snakes

For as far back as I can remember, I was told that St. Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland. However, there were never snakes in Ireland…

It’s believed that the St. Patrick snakes link is all about symbolism. In Judeo-Christian tradition, snakes are the symbol of evil.

It’s said that St. Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland represents his fight to bring the word of God to Ireland.

8. He escaped Ireland by boat

According to St. Patrick’s Confession (a book that is said to have been written by St. Patrick), God told Patrick to flee his captures and make his way to the coast where a boat would be waiting to take him back home.

9. A dream led him back to Ireland

After escaping his captures in Ireland, St. Patrick returned to Roman-Britain. It’s said that one night had a dream that the people of Ireland were calling him back to tell them about God. 

10. Not before he spent 12 years in France…

After having the dream that called him back to Ireland, he was worried. He felt unprepared for the task ahead. 

St. Patrick decided that he must follow his studies first, to better equip himself for the task ahead.

He travelled to France where he trained in a monastery. It wasn’t for 12 years after the dream that he returned to Ireland.

11. The shamrock

St. Patrick is often associated with the shamrock. It’s said that, upon returning to Ireland, he used the three-leafed plant as a metaphor for the Hold Trinity. It is now one of the more notable symbols of Ireland, along with the Celtic Cross.

St. Patrick’s Day facts and trivia

St. Patrick's Day origin

Photos via Shutterstock

The next section of our fun St. Patrick’s Day facts focuses on the day itself – March 17th.

Below, you’ll find some handy St. Patrick’s Day trivia that’ll go perfect in a quiz.

1. Why March 17th?

St. Patrick’s Day is held on March 17th as this is the day that St. Patrick died. On March 17th we celebrate his life along with Irish culture.

2. The first parade wasn’t held in Ireland

I’d never heard this St. Patrick’s Day fact before today! The first St. Patrick’s Day parade wasn’t held in Ireland – it was held in Boston in the United States in 1737. Mad stuff.

3. Ireland’s first parade

The very first St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland was held in County Waterford in 1903. 

4. A national holiday

St. Patrick’s Day is a bank holiday in Ireland. This means that many people have the day off, as it’s a national holiday. Schools, government offices and many private workplaces close for business on March 17th.

5. Green isn’t the original colour associated with St. Patrick

Interestingly enough, the first colour to be associated with St. Patrick wasn’t green – it was blue. I can’t image people legging it about the place with blue face paint on!

6. The largest parade in the world

This is one of the few St. Patrick’s Day facts that I did know..! The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world takes place in New York City. The parade attracts a staggering two million+ people every year.

St. Patrick facts FAQs

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What was the original color of St. Patrick’s Day’ to ‘What St. Patrick’s Day facts are good for kids?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What was the original color of St. Patricks Day?

This is one of the more interesting facts about St. Patrick. Although blue was the color that was originally associated with Ireland’s Patron Saint, green was always associated with the day itself.

Did St. Patrick banish snakes from Ireland?

One of the most surprising facts about St. Patrick is that he didn’t banish snakes from Ireland. It’s believed that the ‘snakes’ symbolised his fight to bring Christianity to Ireland.

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Zita Denholm

Monday 9th of March 2020

I had heard most of the facts before - all the history stuff. The date of the Boston Parade was new, but unsurprising - and yes, New York was always on the radar. 'The sidewalks of New York are thick with blarney/ For sure you'd think New York was old Killarney'...…(It's a great Day for the Irish, song).

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