St Patrick’s day has become synonymous in recent times with pints of Guinness, novelty hats, shamrocks and all-round rowdy behaviour.
But what do you know about the patron saint of Ireland? Boost your knowledge before you paint the town green with these five facts:
St Patrick wasn’t Irish - Patrick’s parents were roman citizens, and it’s thought that he lived in modern day England - although Wales and Scotland have also laid claim.
He drove all the snakes from Ireland - According to legend Patrick drove all the snakes from the Emerald Isle. Whether there were any snakes there to begin with is debateable, but some scholars argue that the term ‘snakes’ is figurative and actually refers to non-Christians.
St Patrick’s day was a dry holiday in Ireland until the 70s - Irish law enshrined St Patrick’s as a day of religious observance rather than a national holiday until 1970. This meant that all the pubs were closed!
St Patrick is more often depicted wearing blue than green - Nowadays we associate St Patrick’s day with one colour - green. In many depictions of the Saint however, he is depicted wearing blue. Green as a colour became associated with Ireland - and St Patrick - much later.
St Patrick was a slave - While still a boy, St Patrick was kidnapped and sold as a slave. He escaped in his twenties and joined a monastery. The rest is history - or perhaps legend.