St. Patrick's Day in Ireland is not the boisterous, sometimes rowdy
festival we enjoy in North America. There are parades, and there's
drinking, but it certainly isn't green. Most likely, it's a dark stout
or IRISH WHISKEY.
The Irish version is primarily a religious and bank holiday,
celebrated by relaxing at home with family and friends after Church
Mass. In that spirit, let's concentrate on Patrick, the man behind the
The facts of his life are relatively few. In actuality, there are
more places named after him than provable deeds. He was one of the most
celebrated missionaries of all time, and he is Ireland's patron saint,
but no one seems to know where he was born or exactly where or when he
died. Some say March 17, 461 AD, others believe 493 AD. His burial place
is unknown. He set down many of his own views on his life and mission.
His original writings have long since disappeared, but copies were
made by faithful monks who kept civilization alive by copying
manuscripts, and were well-known literature in the Dark Ages. By his own
telling, he was born in Britain of well-to-do parents who farmed. He
probably lived near the west coast because he was captured by Irish
raiders at the age of sixteen and sold into slavery. He worked as a
shepherd for six years until he escaped and returned to his homeland.
However, visions and the "voice of the Irish" called him back to Ireland
sixteen years after his escape, and he spent more than thirty years
traveling, preaching, and establishing churches.
St. Patrick is not the first to have brought Christianity to Ireland.
Other sources show evidence of missionaries being sent to Ireland as
early as 431 AD. Within two hundred years after St. Patrick's death,
legends about his deeds had begun to proliferate until it is difficult
to distinguish fact from fiction. We can be certain that the number of
churches established was closer to 90 than the 365 some attribute to
him. What is known is that he exerted a powerful influence on Ireland,
transforming her from a pagan country with many ancient religious
practices and beliefs into a Christian community.
provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol,
caffeine, sugar, fat." -- Alex Levine – Irish actor and musician