Saint Patrick is regarded as the most famous Saint to hail from Ireland; he even has a holiday dedicated to him. Every March 17th, the alleged day and month of his death, the world wears green and celebrates Irish culture via Saint Patrick’s Day.
Although Saint Patrick is known throughout the world, facts about his life are scarce. He was supposedly born in Wales in 387. At the age of 16 he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave. He escaped after six years and returned to his family and became a cleric. Legend says that he returned to Northern and Western Ireland around the year 432 as an ordained Bishop and it is believed that he died in either 457 or 461. However, the dates and locations of his whereabouts have been lost to time and so any speculation about his life is just that—speculation. However, Saint Patrick lives on in legends (notably about how he supposedly drove all snakes out of Ireland) and so his memory continues to warrant annual celebration of both Saint Patrick and Ireland as a country.
In places around the globe Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated, usually with parades and crowds dressed in green. Dublin and Cork both have lively Saint Patrick’s Day parades. Internationally, New York, Chicago, and other areas with significantly large Irish communities make an effort to commemorate the occasion.
It is ironic that so little is known about the man who inspired a holiday and whose name is synonymous with a nation. Yet scholars still hotly debate the fact versus fiction of Saint Patrick’s biography and the actual details of his life will probably never be known for sure. Despite this, Saint Patrick’s Day and Ireland thrive and that is testament to the long-lasting influence this mysterious Saint.