17 bizarre facts about St Patrick to celebrate March 17
Life & Style

17 bizarre facts about St Patrick to celebrate March 17

1. St. Patrick is the Patron Saint of Nigeria, and de facto Patron Saint of Montserrat.

2. The link between Dublin, New York, Melbourne, Karachi and Armagh is that they all have a St Patrick’s Cathedral. In fact Armagh has two - and if you don’t know why Armagh has two cathedrals with the same name, you haven’t been paying attention these last 800 years or so.

3. Ireland's first ever St Patrick's Day parade took place in Dublin. But it was, quite oddly, more of a military affair, reviewed by the Minister of Defence.

Enda Kenny gives President Barack Obama a bowl of shamrock in the White House, in Washington DC on St Patricks Day 2011. (Photo: RollingNews.ie/DFA)
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4. The St Patrick’s Day tradition of presenting Irish shamrock to the White House started back in 1952 during President Harry Truman’s time in office. However Truman was not actually in Washington at the time and the then-Irish ambassador John Joseph Hearne simply dropped a box of shamrock off at the White House, almost like an Amazon delivery.

Shamrock is traditionally associated with St Patrick's Day

5. Elvis Costello, Danny La Rue, Morrissey, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page all have Patrick as their middle name due to their Irish heritage.

6. St. Patrick may have been born in the west of Scotland, the west of Wales, or perhaps even Somerset.

Members the Montserrat Emerald United Club get ready to take part in a St Patrick's Day parade in London. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
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7. There are reckoned to be more sports clubs named after St Patrick, than any other saint.

8. It has been claimed that St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey.

9. Between 13million – 16million pints of Guinness are expected to be drunk worldwide on St Patrick’s Day.

10. Although St. Patrick is normally depicted as looking like a cross between Billy Connolly and the Pope, no depiction of his physical features, either on parchment, or a carving on stone or wood survive. Indeed he may well have looked like the back end of a Dublin bus, for all we know.

Ireland is one of the few snake-free places in the world (Picture: iStock)

11. The top speed of snakes is 8mph - so Patrick would have had quite a job driving them out of the country. Indeed, if the legend is true, maybe there's a rusty oul' Celtic bicycle somewhere which could become a religious relic...

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12. Chances are that there haven't been snakes in Ireland since the time the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. So don't bother looking for that bike.

13. The popularity of Patrick as an Irish name owes as much to two Irish historical figures - Patrick Sarsfield and Padraig Pearse - as it does to the Apostle of Ireland.

Easter hot cross buns

14. St. Patrick's Day cannot coincide with Easter Day - but it can occur on the same day as Palm Sunday. This last occurred in 1940, and before that in 1799. St. Malachy in the 12th century (or his forger in the 16th) stated that there will be peace in Ireland only ‘when the palm and the shamrock grow together.’

Which is a pity, because Palm Sunday and St. Patrick's Day will not coincide again until the year 2399. It certainly looks as if it might take that long for Sinn Féin and the DUP to get the Northern Executive up and running again.

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15. St. Patrick shares his feast day with St. Joseph of Arimathea, the patron saint of tin workers, St Gertrude and St Ambrose. So not a lot of competition there.

16. St. Patrick’s official title is First Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh, and Apostle of Ireland.

17. St. Patrick first came to Ireland at the age of 16 as a slave - captured by Irish pirates.