The thirsty would have us believe that he taught his countrymen the art of distillation and that Poteen, the traditional drink for his day, was named for him. Yet, history tells us that Patrick and his followers maintained strict abstinence.
He is credited also with driving all the snakes from Ireland; but experts doubt that Ireland ever had snakes, given her climate and isolation.
Tradition tells us that Patrick planted shamrocks and used the triple leaves to explain the Trinity. Botanists tell us that the plant has been found throughout the world, for centuries.
Even his birthday is disputed - A.D. 367 or 386, 389, 395 have been offered as possible dates - and his place of birth - Bannarem Taberniad - is said to have been located in Scotland, Wales or even France.
Only the day of his death, March 17, seems to be accepted although you can get arguments on the year - 461 or 462 A.D. An unproven but often told legend claims that he lived to 120 years, or as old as Moses.
Indeed, to confuse things even more, some historians believe there were two St. Patricks whose deeds were so entwined that they are now attributed to one man, which would at least explain his long life span.
What has been accepted is that he was born of a well-respected family and that at age 16, he was captured by Gaels and taken to Ireland, where he was sold as a slave. After serving as a shepherd where he experienced visions that he considered divinely inspired, he escaped by boat to Brittany.
For the next 18 years he devoted his life to religion, becoming first a priest, then a bishop. In the year 431 he was named Patricus and sent to Ireland on a mission to convert pagans to Christianity.
All of which is little known and of no concern to those who celebrate March 17 in spirited style. And you don’t have to be Irish to celebrate.
On St. Paddy’s Day it seems most everyone has a bit o’ Irish in him.
The green is seen on so many folks.
The girls in the office where I worked would each receive shamrock plant in a small clay pot from a gentleman who had offices in our building.
They would grow and we’d combine them in a large pot and have a beautiful large shamrock plant.
I wear the green and can honestly claim a drop or two of Irish blood.
My father’s mother’s maiden name was Donnelly and her brothers all had red hair that turned snow white as they aged.
Her name was Isabelle and a true Irish lassie she was.
Enjoy the saint’s day; it’s Irish for sure that you are on that day only.
Have a happy 17th.