Happy St. Patrick’s Day! – But who is this St. Patrick actually?

As most of you might know the 17th March is St. Patrick’s Day and thus Ireland’s national holiday. The Irish people wish eachother a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! or in Irish Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit! On the 17th March the streets of Dublin are full with tourists and they come to see the St. Patrick’s parade in the city. And if you ask yourself why they actually chose this date as the national holiday it’s because the 17th March was the day when St. Patrick passed away. Today you can see many people wearing a green cape at the street parade in Dublin. And afterwards you will certainly go to the pub and enjoy a pint of Guinness. I think you can imagine what is going on at Temple Bar that day. Here you can see me standing in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

But who is this St. Patrick actually?

Many of you now will certainly answer that he was an Irishman. Well, I hate to disappoint you but this is a big mistake as St. Patrick was not an Irishman actually. After a legend St. Patrick originally came from Wales but has been abducted as a slave from Wales to Ireland in the 5th century when he was only 16 years old. And here you can see another historical and cultural connection between the Celtic nations again. The legend also says that in this loneliness he found his way to God and that he escaped from Ireland to France. After having arrived in France he became a monk and later also a priest. At the age of 45 years he finally became a bishop. Someday he had a dream in which he became the task to convert Ireland to Christianity. In 432 AD he finally returned to Ireland where he started founding churches, monasteries and schools to proclaim Christianity in Ireland. The famous cathedral which you can see on this picture is St. Patricks cathedral which is not very far away from all other famous sights in Dublin.

The trinity and the cloverleaf

He started teaching the Irish people about trinity and that’s why Dublin’s Trinity College is named after this religious symbol. St. Patrick started teaching the Irish about trinity using a cloverleaf as example. In Irish this cloverleaf is called seamróg which you might know in the English form as shamrock. This shamrock became a national symbol along with the cláirseach the harp about which I already told you in my article about Irish music and about Dublin’s Trinity College where you can see it in the Long Room. That’s why green is also Ireland’ national colour. You might know that the Irish jack is green, white and orange. And this has a historical and political meaning. The green stripe symbolizes Ireland itself while the orange stripe symbolizes England. The white stripe between them is a sign of peace as both nations had a hard history full of conflicts and fights. Here you can see the Irish jack and you will see even more of it at the street parade during your stay in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day.

Dublin 2018 037

St. Patrick’s Day as a tourist attraction

Today St. Patrick’s Day actually has a more touristic meaning for Dublin as many tourists are planning their city trip to Dublin especially for this occasion. But we don’t want to forget that St. Patrick’s Day is not only celebrated in Dublin but in all parts of Ireland and even abroad. And when I say all parts of Ireland I also mean the so-called Gaeltacht areas where people speak Irish as their first mother tongue. By the way if you want to know more about the Celtic languages then check out this article. And now I’m going to tell you how to wish somebody a happy St. Patrick’s Day in Irish. In Irish you say Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit to one person or Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh to several persons. Another possibility is to say Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig ort to one person or Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh to several persons which means St. Patrick’s bless to you. The answer to this wishes is usually Go mba hé duit to one person or Go mba hé daoibh to several persons. So enjoy this day if you are currently in Dublin!



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