St. Patrick is known as the patron saint of Ireland.
Although he was not a born Irish he has become an integral part of the Irish heritage, mostly
through his service across Ireland of the 5th century.
Patrick was born in the later half of the 4th
century AD. There are differing accounts about the exact year and
place of his birth.
According to one account, he was born about
390 A.D. while the other account says it is about 373 AD. Again, his birth
place is said to be in either Scotland or Roman England.
His real name was probably Maewyn Succat.
Though Patricius was his Romanicized name, he was later came to be familiar as Patrick.
Patrick was the son of Calpurnius, a Roman-British army officer.
He was growing up as naturally as other children in Britain. However, one
day a band of pirates landed in south Wales and kidnapped this boy
along with many others. Then they sold him into slavery in Ireland.
He was there for six years, mostly imprisoned.
This was when he dreamed of having seen God. Legend says, he was
then dictated by God to escape with a getaway ship.
Finally, he did escape and went to Britain. And then to France.
There he joined a monastery and studied under St. Germain,
the bishop of Auxerre. He spent around 12 years in training.
And when he became a bishop he dreamed that the Irish were calling
him back to Ireland to tell them about God.
By the end of the 7th century Patrick had
become a legendary figure and the legends have continued to grow since then.
There are many legends associated with St Patrick.
It is said that he used
the three-leafed shamrock to explain the concept of the Trinity;
which refers to the combination of Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Legend also has that,
Saint Patrick had put the curse of God on venomous snakes in Ireland.
And he drove all the snakes into the sea where they drowned.
True, these are mostly legends. But, after some 1500 years,
these legends have been inseparably combined with the facts.And
together they have helped us know much about the Saint and the
spirit behind celebration of the day. Patrick's mission in Ireland
lasted for over 20 years. He died on March 17, AD 461. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick's Day ever since.
~ The Leprechaun ~
The leprechaun is a tiny elf connected with St. Patrick's Day. The
word 'leprechaun' is from a mixture of 'luchorpan' or 'small person'
and a word meaning 'one-shoemaker.' As a St. Patrick's Day symbol,
the leprechaun is a smiling, merry little elf. However, legend tells
us that he is always grumpy, untrustworthy and very tricky. In ancient
myths, the leprechaun guards a hidden pot of gold which humans try
to find but without success.
As one story goes, an Irishman caught a
leprechaun, managed to make him reveal which tree his pot of gold was
buried under. The Irishman tied a red handkerchief around the trunk of
it so he would remember the location when he went away to find a
shovel. When he returned, he found that the leprechaun had tied a red
handkerchief exactly like his own around every other tree in the
~ Blarney Castle ~
Blarney Castle was originally a timber hunting lodge built in the
10th century, which was replaced by a stone castle in 1210. The
present day construction was completed by Dermot McCarthy, King of
Munster in 1446. The Castle remained the ancestral stronghold of the
McCarthy family until the arrival of Oliver Cromwell with cannon guns
in 1646. Fifteen years later with the arrival of King Charles II on
the English throne saw the return of the McCarthys to the Castle.
Following the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, all Irish chiefs were
stripped of their powers and the McCarthys were again forced to leave
Blarney Castle. The Castle was sold to Sir James Jefferyes, Governor
of Cork in 1703. The Castle is now owned and managed by the Trustees
of the Blarney Castle Estate.
~Kissing The Blarney Stone ~
The world famous Blarney Stone is situated high
up in the battlements of the castle. The stone is believed to be half of the Stone of Scone which originally
belonged to Scotland. Scottish Kings were crowned over the stone,
because it was believed to have special powers.
The stone was given to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 in
return for his support in the Battle of Bannockburn. Queen Elizabeth I
wanted Irish chiefs to agree to occupy their own lands under title
from her. Cormac Teige McCarthy, the Lord of Blarney, handled every
Royal request with subtle diplomacy, promising loyalty to the Queen
without "giving in". Elizabeth proclaimed that McCarthy was giving her
"a lot of Blarney", thus giving rise to the legend. You too can
acquire the gift of eloquence by kissing the stone!
~ An Irish Blessing ~
May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks.
May your heart be as light as a song.
May each day bring you bright happy hours,
That stay with you all year long.
For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way.
May the road rise up to meet you,
may the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and the rain fall soft upon your fields,
and until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Erin Go Bragh - On the Lighter Side