St Patrick was born second half of 4th century, most likely in Scotland or Wales. He is known as the ‘Apostle of Ireland’, our primary patron saint of Ireland along with St Bridgid of Kildare. Early medieval tradition credits him with being the first bishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland and the founder of Christianity in Ireland.
According to records, when he was 16, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland. He escaped and returned to his family.
He became a cleric and dreamed that the Irish were calling him back to tell them about God. For 20 years he travelled the length and breadth of the island, baptising people and establishing monasteries, schools and churches as he went.
Records tells us he died on 17th March and he left behind an organised church and island of Christians. Today St Patrick’s Day is celebrated worldwide as a religious and cultural holiday. He is believed to be buried in Downpatrick, Co Down or Armagh.
Legend tells us that St Patrick used the shamrock, a three leafed plant to explain the Holy Trinity – Christian teaching of three persons in one God. It is our symbol for St Patrick’s Day.
Legend also tells us that St Patrick fasted for 40 days on top of a hill and banished the snakes in Ireland by chasing them into the sea – we still have no snakes in Ireland!
Croagh Patrick, Co Mayo
Legend tells us that it was on this mountain that St Patrick fasted – today thousands of pilgrims make the trek to the top of the mountain (764 meters high)
Lough Derg (red), Co Donegal
It is claimed that Patrick killed a large serpent on this lake and its blood turn the water red, hence its name. Pilgrims spend three days fasting and praying on Station Island.
St Patrick's Day Parades in Donegal
Ballybofey & Stranorlar 3pm
Donegal Town 3pm
Glenties 12 noon