Patrick was born in Roman Britain and inherited a strong religious background in the early Catholic Church. He came from a wealthy family. His grandfather was a priest the church. His father was a deacon.
Patrick was kidnapped when he was sixteen by Irish raiders and taken back to Ireland where he worked as a slave taking care of his master’s sheep. Working as a shepherd, he could look across the water to the land on the horizon which had been his home.
According to the legend it was during these six years that Patrick found God. God told Patrick to leave the flocks and travel to the coast. God took him to a ship that carried him across the channel, and Patrick was able to return home.
But home was not where Patrick wanted to be. While he had been a slave the Irish people had found a place in his heart. After becoming a priest Patrick carried the belief of Christianity back to the pagan Irish. Returning as a missionary Patrick worked in Northern Ireland converting thousands of the Irish to Christians and driving the druids out of Ireland.
Patrick is recognized as the foremost Saint in Ireland. The day of his death is celebrated as a national holiday. Patrick is thought to have died on March 17, 461 and is buried at Downpatrick a small town about 21 miles south east of Belfast in Northern Ireland.
The custom of a wee drink of whisky, beer or wine comes from the tradition called “drowning the shamrock”. The Lenten restrictions of no alcohol during Lent are lifted for the day a possible reason there are so many celebrants. A shamrock is placed in the bottom of a cup and the cup is filled with alcohol. A toast is given and the cup is drained. The shamrock is either swallowed during the cup draining, or is tossed over the drinkers shoulder for good luck.
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