7 things you didn't know about St Patrick

South Wales Argus: 7 things you didn't know about St Patrick 7 things you didn't know about St Patrick

1. Ireland used to be dry for St. Patrick’s Day

Until 1970, Ireland's pubs were shut on St. Patrick’s Day. Between 1903 and 1970, all pubs in Ireland were closed, as St Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday.

2. Was St Patrick Welsh?

The village of Banwen near Neath claims that St Patrick was born there. This claim is based partly on his own writing: ‘I was picked a stone out of the bog. I Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many, had for Father Deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest, of the settlement of Bannavem Taburniae.

He had a small villa nearby where I was taken captive. I was about 16 years of age.’ The Romano-British settlement of Bannavem Taburniae, along the Roman Road Sarn Helen, is taken by many to be Banwen.

3. Blue is the colour of St Patrick

St Patrick himself is said to have dressed in blue vestments and the Order of St. Patrick, a chivalric order founded in 1783 adopted blue as its colour. These led to blue being associated with the saint.

4. He died on his feast day

St Patrick is believed to have died on 17 March, in 461AD.

5. There are St Patrick's parades in the most unlikely places

Buenos Aires in Argentina holds a parade which attracted 50,000 people in 2006. The South Korean capital Seoul has held a Saint Patrick's Day parade since 1976. Russia held its first parade in honour of the saint in 1992.

6. He didn't banish snakes from Ireland

Legend had St Patrick ridding Ireland of snakes, although it is unlikely they ever existed in Ireland.

7. Shamrock explained

St Patrick is believed to have used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.

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