Festival to honour Patron Saint

ST PATRICK is the Patron Saint of Ireland, and the festival to honour him takes place every year on March 17, which is the anniversary of his death when he was laid to rest in County Down at the aptly named town of Downpatrick.

He was actually of Romano-British stock from the British mainland and he lived from

AD385-461 and he came from a Christian family with his father being a deacon and his grandfather a priest.

At the age of 16 he was kidnapped by a marauding band from Ireland and transported across the Irish sea as a slave.

He was a slave for six years before escaping back to Britain, but during this time had become deeply religious and thus trained in the priesthood after his escape.

He had also developed a great liking for the wild Celtic people of Eire, and after many years of study returned to evangelise and convert the Irish from their Druidical customs to Christianity.

He was very successful and converted all of the northern half of the country during his lifetime, becoming the Bishop of Ireland and centuries later the Patron Saint.

St Patrick’s Day is offi cially observed by the Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Lutheran Churches but as an Irish Festival is celebrated in more countries than any other festival.

March 17 occurs during the Lenten period of fasting and abstinence but from medieval times the church allowed the lifting of Lenten restrictions during this special day — which added greatly to its popularity and led to its strong association with eating and drinking!