FIRST UP, THERE COULD BE NO ST. PATRICK’S DAY WITHOUT THE MAN HIMSELF, ALTHOUGH YOU MAY BE SLIGHTLY DISILLUSIONED TO DISCOVER THAT NOT ONLY WAS ST. PATRICK NOT IRISH – BUT HIS NAME WASN’T ACTUALLY PATRICK.
According to his own record, St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain and kidnapped at the age of 16 to be brought to Ireland as an enslaved shepherd boy. He remained in captivity tending to animals for around six years,during which it is said that he felt a calling to Christianity – despite his then pagan surroundings.
Eventually he escaped and, after an arduous journey, returned to his family in Britain and continued his religious studies.Most historians believe that our patron saint of the Emerald Isle was actually originally christened Maewyn Succat but chose the name Patricius (derived from the Latin root Patr- for father) when he joined the priesthood.
Shortly after he was ordained, he is said to have a calling from God, to return to the country of his captivity and bring the words of God to those who lived there. While there is evidence of Christianity being practiced in Ireland far before the days of St. Patrick, he is widely recognised with converting a predominately pagan population into the Christian land we know today.
He is credited with baptising thousands of people, establishing hundreds of churches, and appointing an abundance of priests, nuns and monks to help him expand the Christian faith in Ireland.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on the 17th of March – the proposed date of his death. The exact year of his passing is widely disputed, but most agree that it would have occurred in the mid to late fifth-century