Every country lays claim to their own legends. Greece has their gods, England has the Queen, the U.S. has George Washington and Ireland… Ireland has St. Patrick.
Perhaps one of the most legendary people of all time, he’s the man behind one of the most internationally celebrated holidays: St. Patrick’s Day. He’s the reason why we drink green beer, eat corned beef and cabbage, line the streets for massive parades and don our green attire.
But, who is this legendary man? Who’s the real St. Patrick and what’s the story behind the holiday we know and love?
Before we dive into this information gold mine (or shall we pot of gold) let’s debunk a couple of myths.
Myth #1: St. Patrick is Irish.
St. Patrick is in fact not Irish, but British. He was born near what is today known as Scotland.
Myth #2: St. Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland.
As much as we love the idea of St. Patrick getting rid of all the snakes in Ireland, there were never snakes on the Emerald Isle and there still aren’t. Banishing the snakes is really a metaphor for the purging of pagan ideology.
Having cleared up those misconceptions, let’s move on to some interesting facts you might not know about the legendary man and famous holiday…
Fact #1: St. Patrick was kidnapped from his British home by Irish pirates and brought to Ireland where he was held captive as a slave for 6 years. It was during this time he became a devote Christian.
Fact #2: The famed holiday dish of corned beef wasn’t part of the menu until Irish Immigrants started coming to America. Corned beef was much less expensive and more easily accessible than the traditional meal of bacon that was enjoyed in their Irish homelands.
How To Celebrate
Now that you’ve been introduced to the legendary St. Patrick and the holiday he’s responsible for, you must be wondering how to celebrate this special day?
Whether you walk in the shoes of the legend or celebrate like one, there’s no better place to partake in the festivities than the destination where it all began.
1. Visit Rock of Cashel aka St. Patrick’s Rock
This small plateau is home to a stunning 15th century castle that overlooks rolling fields of green Ireland is known for. Visit this popular attraction and walk in the footsteps of St. Patrick as it’s said this is the spot where he converted one of the kings of Ireland to Christianity.
2. Stroll Through St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Dublin’s Cathedral is another site where St. Patrick is said to have stepped foot, baptizing many into Christianity. You can’t visit Dublin without making a stop here. It’s towering spire, beautiful grounds and rich history make it one of the top places to see.
3. Watch Dublin Turn Green
For St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland’s citizens don’t just wear green, their buildings do too. From Trinity College and Christ Church Cathedral, to Ashford Castle and even Giant’s Causeway, these popular monuments and landmarks are all lit green on March 17.
How to Go with Brendan Vacations
Looking to follow the path of St. Patrick while experiencing all Ireland has to offer? Check out these trips:
Best of Ireland – Hit all the highlights of Ireland. See St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, kiss the Blarney stone, see how the famed crystal of Waterford is made, stare out across the Atlantic ocean as you stand upon the towering Cliffs of Moher, make your way around the scenic Ring of Kerry and much more.
Castles & Manors – Make a complete circle of Ireland including castle and manor house stays. Visit the Rock of Cashel where St. Patrick once stood, see the breath taking Cliffs of Moher, enjoy lunch and a few hours of Irish poetry with a local, learn about the famous green marble of Connemara, and beyond.