Updated: Nov 12, 2020
“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess” Oscar Wilde
You misunderstand, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet, novelist and one of the most quotable men to have lived. Famous for his Irish wit, he became a symbol of an intellectual age and one of many literary ambassadors of Ireland. On St Patrick's Day we celebrate everyone and everything Irish. Sláinte means 'health' in Irish and we say it when we have a drink, like the British 'cheers'
I see, when is it?
St Patrick's day is the 17th March, the greenest day of the year
Oh yes, green is the traditional colour of Ireland, maybe because of the lush green landscape. It's so symbolic that they even dye the Boston river green as part of the celebration. It's also 'good luck' to wear something green on the day. So don't forget your green pants!
But, it's an Irish celebration right?
Yes, but everybody is Irish on St Patrick's day, it's a very widely celebrated festival that indulges the Irish culture and some bloody good craic whether you have Irish roots or not.
It's Irish for 'a good time.'
Everybody loves a good time! But who is this Patrick fella?
I'm glad you finally asked. Saint Patrick, like most saints, didn't come from the place he represents as a Saint. He was in fact British, again like most Saints, his life was far from ordinary.
Oh, I love this real life Game of Thrones stuff, go on....
Exactly, life is often stranger than fiction. The young boy Patrick was a farmer on the British coast. One day he was out in the field looking after the families animals when some Irish pirates captured him and took him to Ireland as a slave.
Whoa! #OMG @pirates
Yep, just minding his own business then BAM, pirates. Well, that was life in the 5th Century. He lived there for 6 years as a slave, then one day he escaped and made it back to his family in Britain.
Crikey. I'm sure he was relieved
He was ready for revenge.
Yeah! Game of thrones style! Get the axe!
On the contrary, his revenge was not total. In fact, it was passive. He wanted to forgive the people that had captured him. He turned to religion, trained to become a Bishop and returned to the country that had held him captive, to deliver them the gift of God. He became the founder of Christianity in Ireland.
Wow, farmer pirate slave to National Saint
He did well, to be sure. He is also reputed as having 'driven all the snakes' from Ireland. Of course there were never any snakes, it is a metaphor for the 'pagans' who were having a great time eating grass and dancing until Patrick said 'NO.'
The party was over?
Nope, nowadays we have St Patrick's day, the biggest Irish festival in the World, all over the world. There are very few places it doesn't reach. So you need to be prepared.
Wear something green. Have at least a pint of Guinness and take the opportunity to use these useful Irish phrases:
Tabhair póg dom, táim Éireannach - /TOO-irr pogue dum, toyme AY-ron-ock/ - Kiss me, I'm Irish
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! - /ban-ock-tee na fay-lah paw-rig ur-iv/ - St Patrick's day blessing upon you
An bhfuil tú ar meisce fós? - /on will too air mesh-ka fowss?/ - Are you drunk yet?
Póg Mo Thóin - kiss my 'area that I sit on'