Most people have come to know and love St. Patrick’s Day for two reasons: day drinking and dying everything green — but the Irish holiday has a vast history. So before you put on that green drinking hat, brush up on your St. Paddy’s Day history!

  1. Who is St. Patrick?

    Saint Patrick was a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary in Ireland. When he was about 16 years old, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland, looking after animals; he lived there for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland.  By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated by the Irish for over 1,000 years! St. Patrick was not actually Irish, having been born in Roman Britain. Kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave, he is often credited for explaining the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) by using the three leaves of the shamrock.

  2. No snakes were driven out of Ireland!

    Ireland never had snakes to begin with. It is often thought that the snakes represented the pagans with whom St. Patrick had some issues with.

  3. It used to be really hard to get a drink in Ireland

    The Irish are often known for their love for a drink, but from 1927 to 1961, the only place to get a drink on March 17 was the Royal Dublin Dog Show — a grand occasion, except for the dogs — because of the strict laws against the sale of alcoholic beverages on religious days. Guess the church and state were concerned that there would be too much consumption of “the drink” on this holy day.

  4. There are no lady leprechauns

    Something we didn’t know is that there are no lady leprechauns! According to the book ‘A History of Irish Fairies‘, there is no record in Irish folklore of leprechauns having a female counterpart in their ranks or even a solid record of how they procreate or reproduce.

  5. The first Irish Parade was in 1762

    That’s right, in 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City for the first Irish Parade!