7 Surprising Saint Patrick’s Day Myths


St Patrick’s Day 2015, Dublin, Ireland ~ Photo credit: Giuseppe Milo (www.pixael.com) via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC

I thought we would have a little fun today looking at some popular misconceptions surrounding Saint Patrick and Saint Patrick’s Day.

When repeated often enough, it’s amazing how even the smallest premise can become legendary.

I hope you find at least some of  these as surprising as I did.

Myth #1

Saint Patrick was Irish.

Despite being the best known, and one of only three Irish patron saints, Saint Patrick was actually born in what is now England.

Myth #2

Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland.

There is strong historical evidence that there were already Christians in Ireland when Saint Patrick began preaching there in the 5th century.

Myth #3

Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland.

Probably not. Ireland is surrounded by water and chances are that snakes never existed there. The legend probably began as a way to illustrate Saint Patrick’s conversion of the pagans to Christianity

Myth #4

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations began in Ireland.   

It was Irish immigrants to the United States that began organizing parades and other events to honour Saint Patrick’s Day.

Myth #5

Corned beef is the traditional Irish meal of Saint Patrick’s Day.

No, once again this custom was initiated in the United States where, corned beef, was readily available and cheaper than the “bacon” the Irish traditionally had as a meal.

Myth #6

All is green on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Sorry, the traditional colour associated with Saint Patrick is blue, the colour of the old Irish flag.

Myth #7

The Irish love green beer.

Once again, this custom was “born in the USA.” The Irish don’t drink, and probably never will drink, green beer.

Saint Patrick's Day

The Chicago River, Saint Patrick’s Day ~ Photo credit: maxintosh via VisualHunt / CC BY

Oh well, whether you drink green beer, eat corned beef or have Irish ancestors isn’t nearly as important as getting out and enjoying the day and celebrating a little Irish culture.

The Irish have a toast that I find most appropriate this time of the year.

“If you’re enough lucky to be Irish…you’re lucky enough.”

Have a very happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone!

What are your plans for the day?



  1. We’ll probably wear green and have potatoes for supper. And maybe we’ll try to get a peek at the river in Chicago this week. We’re not Irish though. :)
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  2. Pat Bacon says:

    As you are aware we have strong Irish roots, but the actual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, to me, is reminiscent of my school days, when the nuns made a big deal of it. Irish prayers, stories, such. Also, because we always gave up candy for Lent, we were “allowed” to eat a piece of candy on that day. ( I know, sad, eh?)

    One of my fav’s is-

    May the sun shine on your face
    May the wind be always at your back
    And may you be half and hour in heaven
    Before the devil knows you’re dead.

    I believe this was a compilation of a couple of quotes, but there was no google then and I liked how it sounded to me then. Cheers!

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