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
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
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. To this day some of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades take place in the USA.
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 original colour 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.
7. 13,000,000 pints of Guinness are sipped
Yep – a whopping 13,000,000 pints of Guinness (the most popular of the many Irish beers) are drank on March 17th across the world!
St. Patrick facts FAQs and Related Reads
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. Here are some related reads you should find interesting:
- 73 Funny St. Patrick’s Day Jokes For Adults And Kids
- The Best Irish Songs And The Best Irish Films Of All Time For Paddy’s Day
- 8 Ways That We Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day In Ireland
- The Most Notable St. Patrick’s Day Traditions In Ireland
- 17 Tasty St. Patrick’s Day Cocktails To Whip Up At Home
- How To Say Happy St. Patrick’s Day In Irish
- 5 St. Patrick’s Day Prayers And Blessings For 2023
- 33 Interesting Facts About Ireland
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.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.