Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Shamrock

 

17th March is St. Patrick’s Day. St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was born sometime around AD 387 and is believed to have died on 17th March AD 460, more than a hundred years earlier than St. David.

St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain and when he was about 16 he was captured by raiders and taken to Ireland to become a slave for a few years. He went back to Britain, became a cleric, then became a bishop and returned to Ireland. In those days there weren’t many Christians in Ireland and St. Patrick converted a lot of people to Christianity.

Many people believe that St. Patrick used a shamrock leaf - like the one above - to help people learn about the Christian belief that God is made up of three parts. Nowadays the shamrock is the symbol of Ireland.

Legend says that St. Patrick chased all the snakes out of Ireland, which is why there are no snakes in Ireland today, but really there were never any snakes in Ireland to begin with!

St Patrick

© The British Museum 2012 | Credits