St. Patrick’s Day!  A day for celebrating Leprechauns and Shamrocks, so just for a bit of fun we have brought you 7 surprising facts about St. Patrick’s Day.

Today is the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.  It is believed that he died on 17th March, around 460 A.D and the holiday has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture with parades, music, dancing, drinking and a whole lot of green.

St. Patrick is one of Christianity’s most widely known figures, however the majority of his life remains somewhat of a mystery.  There have been many stories associated with St. Patrick, including the famous tale about him banishing all the snakes from Ireland, which is false! and probably the product of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling, but still a fun tale to tell.

So on this day of celebration here are some fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick's Day

1. The Real St. Patrick Was Born in Britain

Folklore and legend have been interwoven in to what is now known about St. Patrick’s life, but most historians believe that St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Britain (not Ireland) near the end of the 4th century. At age 16 he was kidnapped by Irish pirate raiders and sold as a slave to a Celtic priest in Northern Ireland. After toiling for six years as a shepherd, he escaped back to Britain. He eventually returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary.

2. There Were No Snakes Around for St. Patrick to Banish from Ireland

Also among the legends of St. Patrick is one tale that he stood atop an Irish hillside and banished all the snakes from Ireland—prompting all serpents to slither away into the sea. In fact, research suggests snakes never occupied the Emerald Isle in the first place. There are no signs of snakes in the country’s fossil record and water has surrounded Ireland since the last glacial period. Before that, the region was covered in ice and would have been too cold for the reptiles.

3. Leprechauns Are Likely Based on Celtic Fairies

The red-haired, green-clothed Leprechaun is commonly associated with St. Patrick’s Day. The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.” Belief in leprechauns likely stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies.

Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure. Leprechauns have their own holiday on May 13, but are also celebrated on St. Patrick’s, with many dressing up as the wily fairies.

St. Patrick's Day

4. The Shamrock Was Considered a Sacred Plant

The shamrock, a three-leaf clover, has been associated with Ireland for centuries. It was called the “seamroy” by the Celts and considered a sacred plant that symbolized the arrival of spring. According to legend, St. Patrick used the plant as a visual guide when explaining the Holy Trinity. By the 17th century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism.

St. Patrick's Day

5. The First St. Patrick’s Day Parade Was Held in America

While people in Ireland had celebrated St. Patrick since the 1600s, the tradition of a St. Patrick’s Day parade began in America and actually predates the founding of the United States.

Records show that a St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on March 17, 1601 in a Spanish colony in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. The parade, and a St. Patrick’s Day celebration a year earlier were organized by the Spanish Colony’s Irish vicar Ricardo Artur. More than a century later, homesick Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched in Boston in 1737 and in New York City on March 17. Enthusiasm for the St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York City, Boston and other early American cities only grew from there.

In 2020 and 2021, parades throughout the country, including in New York City and Boston were canceled or postponed for the first time in decades due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Lets hope we get to see them again this year.

6. The Irish Were Once Scorned in America

While Irish Americans are now proud to showcase their heritage, the Irish were not always celebrated by fellow Americans.

A devastating potato famine caused widespread hunger throughout Ireland in 1845. While approximately 1 million people perished, another 2 million abandoned their land in the single largest population movement of the 19th century. Most of the exiles, which was nearly a quarter of the Irish nation, sailed across the sea to shores of the United States. But when they arrived the Irish refugees were looked down upon as disease-ridden, unskilled and a drain on the American welfare budget.

7. Corned Beef and Cabbage Was an American Innovation

The meal that became a St. Patrick’s Day staple across the country—corned beef and cabbage—was an American innovation. While ham and cabbage were eaten in Ireland, corned beef offered a cheaper substitute for impoverished immigrants. Irish-Americans living in the slums of lower Manhattan in the late 19th century and early 20th, purchased leftover corned beef from ships returning from the tea trade in China. The Irish would boil the beef three times—the last time with cabbage—to remove some of the brine.

St. Patrick's Day

So there we have it – 7 fun facts about St. Patrick’s day!

So today’s the day to wear green, join in the parades (when they’re not cancelled) and drink beer all in celebration of the holiday which is grounded in history dating back more than 1,500 years.

Training

So what’s all this got to do with training, well the easy answer is not a lot.   We do a bit of training in Ireland, and love to visit as often as we can.  When we are not training we can be tempted by a beer or two, so will be raising a glass in celebration tonight.  But todays post is more about enjoying the day.

If however, you are interested in any of our training courses – here’s a link to our online brochure , our Awarding Body is NPORS or for more information on anything training drop us line or give us a call on 01606 83 2556.

Have a great day!!

From the Kentra Training Team

St. Patrick's Day