Who was Saint Patrick?
Saint Patrick was born in Scotland in 387 AD and legend has it he was kidnapped, brought to Ireland and then sold as a slave to a landowner in Antrim, for whom he worked as a shepherd. During that time, he lived a very solitary life and apparently he managed to find some solace in the Christian faith. St Patrick is credited with introducing Christianity to the Irish citizens and driving snakes from Ireland. Patrick had to explain the doctrine of the Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) to the Irish people and used the 3 leaves of the shamrock to represent each of these. St Patrick died on the 17th of March 461 AD.
St. Patrick’s symbols and celebrations
St. Patrick's Day is a bank holiday in Ireland, so most businesses are closed. Thousands of people living in Ireland and tourists coming from all over the world gather on this day to take part at the traditional parade. All the cities and most of the towns and villages have a parade. People usually wear some green or shamrock. There are many festivals and cèilidh (Gealic folk music and dancing) on St Patrick's Day also.
Shamrock. Irish people celebrating St Patrick's Day started wearing shamrocks in their lapel but nowadays people wear shamrocks in any possible way (shamrock head boppers, shamrock hair clips, shamrock earrings, shamrocks painted on their faces, etc.). The shamrock is considered to be a good-luck symbol all over the world.
Green. The colour associated to Saint Patrick was originally the colour blue. The tradition of wearing green on Paddy’s Day comes mainly from the tradition of wearing shamrocks on this day. In 1790s green was used by the Irish nationalist movement, United Irishmen, as the colour of their uniforms. Irish people celebrating this festivity eventually started wearing green clothes as a symbol.
Parades and festivals. After Dublin, the second city in Ireland with the biggest celebrations is Downpatrick (county Down) where St. Patrick is buried. Every year St. Patrick’s festival has a different theme that varies from town to town. Nowadays there are St Patrick's Day parades in cities all over the world. In New York and Chicago the rivers are turned green to celebrate St Patrick's Day. McDonald's even sells green milkshakes on St Patrick's Day.
Here is a list of the festivals organized in the biggest towns in Ireland.
Dublin. Saint Patrick’s festival will be held for 4 days, from the 14th to the 17th of March. Dublin festival's theme is 'the Present'. There will be a parade on the 17th March and will start in Parnell Square, on to O’Connell Street and will end close to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Bands from all over the world will accompany the parade with music and lots of entertainment.
Other events on during these 4 days include a treasure hunt all, céilí performances, live gigs, funfairs and walking tours.
Going to sports events is part of Paddy’s Day celebrations in Dublin. As a tradition, the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship and the All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship are held on St. Patrick’s Day in Croke Park.
For more information about the festival. Please visit the website http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie.
Cork. Saint Patrick’s festival will be held for 4 days, from the 14th to the 17th of March. Cork festival’s theme is 'Cultural Concepts'. The parade will start from the South Mall at 1 pm and will finish at Merchant’s Quay.
For more information on the events in programme, please visit Cork St. Patrick’s festival official website.
Galway. Saint Patrick’s Galway Parade will be held on the 17th of March. The parade will start at 11:30 am from Lower Dominick Street and will finish at Galway County Council Buildings.
For more information, please visit Galway St. Patrick’s Parade official website.
Limerick. Saint Patrick’s festival will be held from the 14th to the 17th of March and the theme celebrated this year in Limerick will be ‘Spring’. The parade will start at 12 pm from Punches Cross and will finish in Ellen Street. A traditional thing to do on Paddy’s Day in Limerick is to go to St Patrick’s horse race that this year will take place on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th at 12:30 pm.
For more information, please visit Limerick Saint Patrick’s Festival official website.
We, at KA Au Pair Agency, wish all our families and au pairs in Ireland a great St. Patrick's Day!