Close Icon
st patricks day clover

We all know that St Patrick’s Day is a celebration of all things Irish, but how much do you actually know about the patron saint of Ireland?

St Patricks Day is a public holiday for the people of Ireland to commemorate their patron saint. Instead of discovering where the best place is for a pint of Guinness, we thought we would dig deep and discover some surprising facts about St Patrick that you may not know.

Discover 9 hard-to-believe facts about St Patrick below…

1. His birth name wasn’t Patrick

st patricks day 17th march


Let’s begin with possibly the most surprising St Patrick’s Day fact of all. His name wasn’t actually Patrick.

Technically speaking, the 17th of March each year should mark St Maewyn’s Day. St Patrick’s real name was in fact Maewyn Succat, but he changed it to Patricius when he became a priest.

2. St Patrick wasn’t actually Irish

union jack ireland flag

Another common misconception about the patron saint is that St Patrick wasn’t actually born in Ireland.

Roman Britain was the actual birthplace of St Patrick in the 4th century AD, however it is often debated whether it was in England, Wales or Scotland.

3. Traditionally, pubs were closed on St Patrick’s Day

closed sign

Today, St Patrick’s Day is known worldwide as being a day of non-stop drinking, singing and partying, however it wasn’t always this way.

For the most part of the 1900s, Paddy’s Day was celebrated as a highly religious holiday, which saw all the pubs and other businesses in Ireland close for the day.

3. Blue was the original colour of St Patrick’s Day

northern ireland union jack flag

When we go out and enjoy a pint of Guinness or 2 on St Patrick’s Day, our hats, face paint and t-shirts would traditionally be blue.

‘St Patrick’s blue’ was the original colour synonymous with this popular Irish holiday, this switched to green in conjunction with the Irish independence movement in the latter part of the 1700s.

4. St Patrick isn’t actually a Saint

st patricks day leprachaun

Another surprising fact about St Patrick is that he technically isn’t even a Saint, as he was never formally canonised by a Pope. However, he is still widely considered a Saint in Heaven.

5. St Patrick used the Shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity

irish three leaf clover

St Patrick is the reason that the shamrock is associated with Ireland, and St Patrick’s day in particular.

It is believed that Paddy used the three-leafed clover to explain the Holy Trinity while introducing Christianity to the people of Ireland.

6. The smallest St Patrick’s Day parade in the world ran for just 26 yards

st patricks day parade

Between the years of 1999 and 2007, the little Irish village of Dripsey put quality ahead of quantity as it hosted the shortest St Patrick’s Day Parade the world has ever seen.

The celebration ran a measly 26 yards between the village’s 2 pubs. Today, the shorts Paddy’s Day Parade is held in Arkansas, USA, spanning just 98 feet.

7. The odds of finding a 4-leaf clover are around 10,000/1

four leaf clover

Finding Ireland’s lucky charm is more of a rare occurrence than you may think.

According to NASA, you are in fact over 3 times more likely to get hit by a meteorite than you are to find a 4-leaf clover.

8. The city of Chicago dyes its river green on St Patrick’s Day

chicago river dyed green

For over 50 years, Chicago has celebrated St Patrick’s Day by dyeing its river bright green. This was originally done by mistake as a group of plumbers used dye in order to discover sources of illegal pollution, however the city saw it as a fitting tribute to Ireland’s favourite holiday.

Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, once requested that the fountains outside the White House were also dyed green.

9. The first St Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York

st patrick's day parade

The St Patrick’s Day Parade in New York has been running since 1762 and is the oldest and largest St Patrick’s Parade in the world.

Heading up Fifth Avenue from East 44th Street, the parade contains around 150,000 people, and approximately 2 million come out to watch.

If you want to know the history of more of Ireland’s traditional holidays, you can find out all there is to know about Halloween in Ireland. Learn about the holidays origins and how to protect yourself from the paranormal ghouls and spectres.


Truly get into the Irish spirit this St Patrick’s Day by sampling some of the most flavoursome traditional Irish foods.