Some St Patricks Day Bits Of Fun

"It was a bold man who ate the first oyster." - Jonathan Swift

A Wee Bit Of Fun

Ireland

Saint Patrick's Day (March 17th), is an Irish holiday honoring Saint Patrick, the missionary credited with converting the Irish to Christianity (in the A.D. 400's).

Saint Patrick was not actually Irish. Historical sources report that he was born around 373 A.D. in either Scotland (near the town of Dumbarton) or in Roman Britain (the Romans left Britain in 410 A.D.). His real name is believed to be Maewyn Succat (he took on Patrick, or Patricus, after he became a priest). He was kidnapped at the age of 16 by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland (I am not making this up). During his 6-year captivity (he worked as a shepherd), he began to have religious visions, and found strength in his faith. He finally escaped (after voices in one of his visions told him where he could find a getaway ship) and went to France, where he became a priest (and later a bishop).

When he was about 60 years old, St. Patrick travelled to Ireland to spread the Christian word. It's said that Patrick had an unusually winning personality, and that helped him win converts. He used the shamrock, which resembles a three-leafed clover, as a metaphor to explain the concept of the Trinity (father, son, holy spirit).

Legend has it that Saint Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland -- that they all went into the sea and drowned. Poor snakes. I don't know why he would want to do this, except that the snake was a revered pagan symbol, and perhaps this was a figurative tale alluding to the fact that he drove paganism out of Ireland.

Ireland

In America, Saint Patrick's Day is a basically a time to wear green and party. The first American celebration of Saint Patrick's Day was in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737. As the saying goes, on this day "everybody is Irish!" Over 100 U.S. cities now hold Saint Patrick's Day parades, the largest held in New York City.

Green is associated with Saint Patrick's Day because it is the color of spring, Ireland, and the shamrock. Leprechauns are also associated with this holiday, although I'm not sure why. Leprechauns of legend are actually mean little creatures, with the exception of the Lucky Charms guy. They were probably added later on because capitalists needed something cute to put on greeting cards.

An Irish blessing to take with you today: May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.

Ireland

Leprechaun

Irish fairy. Looks like a small, old man (about 2 feet tall), often dressed like a shoemaker, with a cocked hat and a leather apron. According to legend, leprechauns are aloof and unfriendly, live alone, and pass the time making shoes...they also possess a hidden pot of gold. Treasure hunters can often track down a leprechaun by the sound of his shoemaker's hammer. If caught, he can be forced (with the threat of bodily violence) to reveal the whereabouts of his treasure, but the captor must keep their eyes on him every second. If the captor's eyes leave the leprechaun (and he often tricks them into looking away), he vanishes and all hopes of finding the treasure are lost.

Blarney Stone

The Blarney Stone is a stone set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower in the Irish village of Blarney. Kissing the stone is supposed to bring the kisser the gift of persuasive eloquence (blarney). The castle was built in 1446 by Cormac Laidhiv McCarthy (Lord of Muskerry) -- its walls are 18 feet thick (necessary to thwart attacks by Cromwellians and William III's troops). Thousands of tourists a year still visit the castle.

The origins of the Blarney Stone's magical properties aren't clear, but one legend says that an old woman cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who had saved her from drowning. Kissing the stone while under the spell gave the king the ability to speak sweetly and convincingly.

It's tough to reach the stone -- it's between the main castle wall and the parapet. Kissers have to lie on their back and bend backward (and downward), holding iron bars for support. Can you imagine kissing something that has had people's lips all over it for 500 years? Yuck!

Sayings/Quotes

Leprechauns, castles, good luck and laughter
Lullabies, dreams, and love ever after.
Poems and songs with pipes and drums
A thousand welcomes when anyone comes.
~Author Unknown

May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.

Dance as if no one were watching, sing as if no one were listening, and live every day as if it were your last.

May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.

The reason the Irish are always fighting each other is they have no other worthy opponents.

May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.

Here’s to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A pretty girl and an honest one.
A cold beer—and another one!