1. St. Patrick was never actually Canonised
St. Patrick has never been given the official saintly nod by any Pope.
2. His name wasn’t Patrick either
Worse still, St Patrick’s real name wasn’t even Patrick. It was actually Maewyn Succat. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
3. He had a dream
In fact, St. Patrick wrote about two particular dreams that shaped his life. Most people know that he was a slave and was taken to Ireland. While here he had a dream in which a voice told him to go to the nearest port and leave Ireland. He did. Years later, in another dream, he says he heard the voice of the Irish people asking him to return: “We beg you holy youth that you shall come and shall walk again among us.”
Patrick got ordained as a missionary in France and came back to Ireland.
4. St. Patrick was a bit of a badass
As well as defying his slave master by leaving, Patrick is believed to have been imprisoned a number of times while in Ireland. There are also stories of him getting himself into disagreements with druids and even getting beaten up.
5. Patrick’s Day isn’t just a national holiday in Ireland
It’s a national holiday on the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean as well as in the Canadian provinces of Labrador and Newfoundland.
6. All pubs used to be closed on St. Patrick’s Day
While there may be a movement at the moment to curb the drinking that goes on today. The sale of alcohol used to be banned completely until the 1960s with pubs forced to until a decade after that.
7. Public drunkenness on Patrick’s Day isn’t a new thing
For all the hand-wringing about how terrible it may be, people have been getting drunk on Patrick’s Day for a long time. This New York Times report from 19 March 1860 jumps straight in, noting that “there were a great many persons very much intoxicated” at the city’s parade. It also contains one of the best descriptions of the phases of drunkenness that we’ve ever read, where the writer describes seeing:
…officers waiting on men and women in all stages of intoxication, from that balmy condition in which a man swears eternal friendship to all the world, and is anxious to embrace everyone he meets, to that in which he is unable to walk without tying knots in his legs, though supported by an official friend on either side.
8. We should all be wearing blue today
The actual color associated with St Patrick is blue. It’s believed the green thing only came about around the time of the 1798 rebellion when the United Irishmen sought to combine the saint with the color green’s association with Irish myths and legends.
9 . The very first parade didn’t take place in Ireland
It actually happened in Boston in 1737 and was organised by 27 Irish emigrants living in the city who wanted to do something to commemorate their heritage.