Country Living (UK) - - A Month In The Country -

The Feast of St Patrick, on 17 March, may well be the most in­ter­na­tion­ally cel­e­brated of all the saints days, but few know much about the man him­self. The pa­tron saint of Ire­land, or Maewyn Suc­cat as it’s be­lieved he was once called, was born in Ro­man Bri­tain in 385AD but was kid­napped by Ir­ish pi­rates when he was 16 and shipped as a slave to Ire­land. Af­ter es­cap­ing six years later, he be­came a Chris­tian pri­est and then a bishop, even­tu­ally re­turn­ing as a mis­sion­ary and play­ing a ma­jor role in con­vert­ing the coun­try to Chris­tian­ity. The day of his death has been marked as a feast day since the 17th cen­tury and, his­tor­i­cally, the Len­ten re­stric­tions on eat­ing and drink­ing were lifted for the oc­ca­sion, hence the hol­i­day’s tra­di­tion of im­bib­ing al­co­hol.

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