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Friday, March 10, 2017

The Truth About Saint Patrick by Sarah J. McNeal

Here’s some things I learned about Saint Patrick while researching for this post that I never knew until now.

March 17 is not Saint Patrick’s birthday, it is his date of death. He was born in 387 AD in Britain and died March 17, 461 AD. When he was sixteen years old, he was kidnapped from his home in Britain by Irish Pirates and taken to Ireland where he became enslaved. At the time, Ireland practiced paganism led by the Druids. Saint Patrick converted many of the Irish to Christianity over his lifetime, and he did so by using traditional Celtic symbols like the Bonfire and the Sun. He demonstrated the Holy Trinity by using the Celtic symbol of the Shamrock. 

Here are a few factoids you may not know about Saint Patrick:
1. Patrick was not his given name. "Patrick’s ‘real’ name was Maewyn Succat, or in Latin, Magonus Succetus," according to Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning, citing Irish legend, in a recent educational infographic it created for the holiday. He took on the name Patrick when he became a priest.

2.  The shamrock is not the symbol of Ireland. That honor goes to the harp. A popular icon of the holiday, the shamrock was used by St. Patrick to teach the Holy Trinity.

There is an Irish tradition called the “Drowning of the Shamrock” in which a shamrock is worn on the lapel for St. Patrick’s Day and tossed in the last drink of the evening.

3.  You may not know this, but there are no female Leprechauns—only males. Just sayin’…

4.  About those snakes Saint Patrick supposedly cast into the sea: some say the snakes were symbolic of the druids and paganism, others say the snakes were really snakes. Ireland never had snakes. When the ocean receded from the land, Ireland had never connected to other land that had snakes, so there were no snakes.

5. If it seems like Guinness is everywhere—it is. Approximately 13 million pints of Guinness will be consumed worldwide on St. Patrick's Day, according to WalletHub, which released a St. Patrick's Day by the Numbers report this week.

6.  The first St. Patrick's Day celebration took place in America in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737.

7.   St. Patrick's Day rakes in a lot of green. The average amount American St. Patrick’s Day revelers will spend this holiday is $36.52 per person, totaling a combined $4.6 billion.

8.  “Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day”, but 33.3 million in America really are, which is seven times the population of Ireland. You’d think we’d get to vote in their elections.

9.  That Pot O' Gold won't go as far as you think. Should you be lucky enough to actually find that mystical pot at the end of a rainbow this St. Patrick's Day, and it contained 1,000 gold coins weighing one ounce each, WalletHub estimated the total current worth at $1.26 million. Now that’s a bummer. Maybe it would be better to enter the lottery.

10.  St. Patrick's Day beers were forbidden for decades in Ireland. Despite the majority of modern-day St. Patrick’s Day celebrations centering around bar crawls and drink specials, from 1903 until 1970 all pubs were closed on the holiday due to religious observances. So, maybe it’s more fun to be in America on St. Patrick’s Day than to be in Ireland.

I hope all of you, no matter your religion or national origin, have a wonderful day on Saint Patrick’s Day. Have fun, drink responsibly, and don’t forget to wear some green or you’ll get pinched.

Sarah J. McNeal is a multi-published author of several genres including time travel, paranormal, western and historical fiction. She is a retired ER and Critical Care nurse who lives in North Carolina with her four-legged children, Lily, the Golden Retriever and Liberty, the cat. Besides her devotion to writing, she also has a great love of music and plays several instruments including violin, bagpipes, guitar and harmonica. Her books and short stories may be found at Prairie Rose Publications and its imprints Painted Pony Books, and Fire Star Press. Some of her fantasy and paranormal books may also be found at Publishing by Rebecca Vickery and Victory Tales Press. She welcomes you to her website and social media:


  1. I love this post! St Patrick is one of my favorite saints ❤❤❤

  2. Sara, I really appreciate your comment. Thank you so much for coming over.

  3. My daddy's birthday is March 17.
    Didn't we, as children/teens wear something green so we couldn't get pinched? Am I remembering that correctly? I don't wear green..green does not go on my body...so I'd have to make a something out of green construction paper to pin to my dress. I really hated to be pinched.
    The one fact I knew...for a fact...is there are no snakes in Ireland.
    So...are you Irish?

    1. Pop and I shared the same birthday on March 18. I missed being born on Saint Patrick's day by about 15 minutes. I had no idea your dad had a birthday on St. Patrick's Day.
      What! You don't wear green? Why, exactly is that? Does it just not go with your skin tone? Half my wardrobe is green. Even though my eyes look blue on photos, they are actually green--same color as my dad's. God, I miss him so much--especially on our birthday.
      I am Scottish, Irish, and German. My heritage began with Neal of Nine Stones (honest, that was his name)who was a king in a small kingdom on the eastern shore of southern Ireland. He stole a Scottish bride from the Isle of Barra, Mabe who became know as "the fairy queen." Later, the clan moved to Barra and became Macneal (and there are many spellings of the name, but it's all the same clan.) Mac-Neal (Scottish)and O'-Neal (Irish) both stand for "son of Neal".
      Thank you so much for coming by, Celia. I always love to see what you have to say because you always have something intriguing to share.

  4. Sarah,
    Been Ghost Hunting and just arrived home. Loved your post. Love St. Patrick's day. We always wear green on the St. Patrick's Day. Wouldn't want to be pinched. lol I have my house decorated for St. Patrick's Day too. :)

  5. Ghost hunting sounds interesting--and scary. Did you find any ghost, Karen?
    I think Saint Patrick's Day is rather fun. I like all the wearin' of the green and all. I'm still looking for my pot of gold at the rainbow's end, too.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to come and visit my post.

    1. Not sure we found ghosts but there were some interesting EVPs. :) I'm working on a post to tell everyone about my time on the Queen Mary.

    2. I'm looking forward to reading your experiences on the Queen Mary, Karen. Do you ever become frightened on your ghost hunting expeditions?

  6. What a fun post, Sarah. We missed visiting Ireland when we were in the British Isles and I will always regret that. Some of my ancestors are also Irish. I love Irish music and the lilt of their speech. Thanks for this interesting post.

    1. Tell me it isn't so, Linda--you went all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to the United Kingdom and bypassed Ireland? For shame...
      Just my way of thinking, but Irish music is a bit melancholy. The penny whistle gives it a haunting quality and there are all those mournful ballads. They do play the hornpipe when They finally get around to playing a jig and they're pretty lively.
      I love to listen to an Irish brogue, too.
      Thank you so much for coming and leaving me a lovely comment, Linda. I really appreciate it.

  7. Loved my trip to Ireland! it's a wonderful place full of mystery, and such interesting history!

    1. Vicki, you lucky thing to have had the chance to visit Ireland. My sister and great-niece went a few years back and had a wonderful experience. My great-niece kissed the Blarney Stone.
      Thank you for your comment.

  8. Fascinating info, Sarah. I adore Ireland and have been there about 10 times in as many years (hence my novels set there). My DNA test result showed I was 23% Irish - yay, I'm so proud of that! In the words of one of my characters, "Ireland is a mixture of scenery, history, and pubs!" The scenery, especially the west coast, is stunning; the history is fascinating from Stone Age to the more complex modern history, and although there now seem to be 'Irish pubs' all over the world, there is nothing in the world like being in a 'real' Irish pub in an Irish village, especially when the local musicians congregate for an impromptu 'seisun' (session), playing traditional Irish music on fiddles, tin whistles and bodhran drums. Okay, I could go on forever about the magic of Ireland, but hopefully my 'Irish' novels paint some word pictures of this beautiful country. And my 4th Irish novel, Irish Deceptions, is released this week!

    1. I've never had a DNA test, Paula. I know my heritage through family stories and the Clan McNeal history book. There's probably so much I don't know, too.
      Wow, you've really visited Ireland A LOT! No wonder your books are based there. I want to wish you great success with your upcoming novel, Deceptions, Paula.
      Thank you so much for coming by and sharing some of your Irish history with us.


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