March 17th is Saint Patrick’s Day! Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and was born in Britain, probably in Wales, around 385 A.D.
The son of a Roman official, when he was 16 he was captured by seafaring raiders who carried him to Ireland and sold him into slavery.
The Christian Patrick spent six lonely years, becoming fluent in the Irish language, herding sheep and, according to him, praying 100 times a day. He managed to escape to home, but later he had a vision in which the Irish people begged him to return and minister to them. He studied for the priesthood in France, then made his way back to Ireland.
He spent his last 30 years in Medieval Ireland, baptising pagans, ordaining priests, and founding churches and monasteries. His persuasive powers must have been astounding because Ireland fully converted to Christianity within 200 years and was the only country in Europe to Christianise peacefully.
Patrick’s Christian conversion ended slavery, human sacrifice, and most inter-tribal warfare in Ireland. Unlike all the other UK patron Saints he didn’t meet a grizzly end, he died in 461 at an extremely healthy age of 76. His death would become a holy day and, much later, it would become Ireland’s national holiday.
The holiday has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, drinking, Leprechauns, Shamrocks, and a whole lot of green, even the Beer. It is now celebrated globally in countries with people of Irish descent.
With only a few exceptions, there has been a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in New York each year since 1762!
Unfortunately we don’t have a Southport u3a St Patricks’Day Parade, but if you would like to know more about us please get in touch using our contact form.