Here are 14 things you never knew about St Patrick’s Day. If nothing else, this list of St Patrick’s Day facts will give you some talking points for the pub on March 17th this year:
1. Patrick was not Irish
He was Welsh.
2. Patrick was not Patrick
His real name was Maewyn Succat but he changed it when he became a priest.
3. Patrick was a Slave
He was snatched by pirates on the Welsh coast and sold in Ireland.
4. You Didn’t Know This
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Dublin It was in New York in 1766.
5. Green was not our Colour
Green was not Ireland’s national colour – it was blue. In fact, blue is still the colour of the Irish Presidential Standard.
6. The Snakes Leave
Well, OK, not real snakes, but every year almost every Irish politician goes to another country to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, including our Taoiseach who goes to America every March 17th.
7. River of Green
The Chicago River is dyed “Kelly” green every year. It lasts for about five hours.
8. Another Pint?
Every day about 5.5 million pints of Guinness are downed around the world. On St. Patrick’s Day it’s about 13 million.
9. Mythical Snakes
St. Patrick did not actually drive the snakes out from Ireland – we never had any in the first place.
10. We are Not Alone
March 17th is a public holiday throughout the island of Ireland and also in Newfoundland, Labrador and Montserrat which all have sizable Irish communities.
11. March On
There are parades in almost every town and village in Ireland but around the world, the big ones are in the United States, Britain, Canada, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
12. JFK Wasn’t Very Irish
Apparently President John F Kennedy forgot about St Patrick’s Day until the Irish ambassador turned up at the White House with a bowl of shamrock on 17th March.
13. The Long Walk
The St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin is over 3 kilometers from start to finish.
14. March 17th is a Sad Day
It’s the day St Patrick died.
Now go forth, armed with the truth for at least 14 arguments.