Maybe this is common knowledge, but I just learned the history of St.Patrick today...
He was actually not Irish, but was born in 390 A.D. in Wales.
After six years he wrote that he heard a voice telling him that he would soon go home, and then that his ship was ready. Fleeing his master, he traveled to a port two hundred miles away where he says he found a ship and, after various adventures, returned home to his family, now in his early twenties.
Back in Wales, he had a vision and felt the Lord was telling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. This would make him one of the earliest Christian missionaries traveling abroad to spread the Christian faith.
It is said that his method of sharing the message of Christ was to live in solidarity with those whom he was trying to reach. Approaching the Irish as equal while showing no pretense of superiority allowed them to become more receptive of Christian teachings.
He obviously lived a very very long time ago, so who knows if this is completely accurate, but a really neat story nonetheless.
The pictures are from a trip to Ireland my Dad took Anne, Kristian, and me on several years back... 2003 I believe? Kristian and I were not yet married, so we often comment on how brave my Dad was! He says traveling with a daughter's boyfriend is a sure-fire way to get to know who he really is. Good thing Kristian really is wonderful.
Just learned one more thing... The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland, but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762.
And this is the origin of the same parade I heard all day from my office window.
It is the world 's oldest civilian parade and the largest in the United States, with over 150,000 participants.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!