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The Legend of St. Patrick

Facts and Legends about Saint Patrick

FACT
St Patrick was not the first missionary to visit Ireland. Christians were in Ireland before St Patrick. Palladius was sent by Pope Celestine in 431.

LEGEND
St Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. It is said he after giving a sermon from Croagh Patrick mountain, Co Mayo, the Saint rang his bell, all the snakes in Ireland fled into the sea and drowned. However it is very unlikely that Ireland had any snakes. The snakes were later used as a metaphor to represent paganism.

FACT
Saint Patrick spent fourty days of Lent on Craogh Patrick in 441AD, following the examples of Christ and Moses.

FACT
The mountain is still surrounded by mystery and is annually visited by devout pilgrims. Every year thousands of pilgrims, many in bare feet, climb the 2,500ft to the peak of Croagh Patrick to pay homage to Saint Patrick's Christian mission in Ireland. The mountain has a granite figure of the saint at its summit. Many people hold their wedding ceremonies at the mountain top.

LEGEND
Irish immigrants took their rich heritage and St Patrick's Day celebrations with them wherever the settled.

FACT
The first St Patrick's Day parade celebration was in 1737 hosted by the Charitable Irish Society in Boston. The second was established in 1780 by the Friendly Sons of St Patrick in Philadelphia. The annual tradition of celebrating Saint Patrick and Irishness was spread throughout Ireland, America and the world and continues today.

FACT
St Patrick became a hero in Ireland. No fewer than 60 churches and cathedrals are named after him - both Roman Catholic and Anglican. Armagh, where Saint Patrick returned to and set up a monastic establishment, is today called the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland. It is home to St Patrick's Church of Ireland cathedral and St Patrick's Roman Catholic cathedral.

LEGEND
Legend indicates that Saint Patrick used the shamrock as a metaphor to explain the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). It has been associated with Ireland since that time. The shamrock is a tiny three-leafed weed belonging to the clover family.

FACT
The shamrock was traditionally worn in Ireland as a symbol of the cross. It is not however the national emblem of Ireland - it is the harp.

LEGEND
St Patrick's Day is a day to wear green as it was Patrick's colour. Green is associated with Saint Patrick more because it is the colour associated with Ireland, the shamrock and the colour of Spring. Many also believe Patrick wore green vestments.

FACT
The cross of Saint Patrick has a red saltire on a white background. This symbol is used in the flag of the Royal Dublin Society and in the arms of the Queen's University of Belfast. Blue is also associated with Patrick. It was found on the badge of the Order of the Knights of Saint Patrick founded in 1783 by George III.

 

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