The Real(ish) Story of St. Patrick’s Day


Of course everyone knows that St. Patrick is the patron saint of four-leaf clovers because he was partial to the color green.  But there are other little known facts about St. Patrick that the average person might not know.

For Instance, back in the days when St Patrick was alive, they had a lot of snakes slithering around Ireland.  It was quite disconcerting.  The whole place just gave you the Heebie Jeebies.  In fact, this is why the Irish Jig was invented -- to keep from stepping on them.  But that’s another story I haven’t made up yet.

Anyway, St. Patrick, who happened to not like snakes very much, decided to take it upon himself to rid the entire Emerald Isle of them. He went about this by writing down his goal and sticking it up on the village mirror in addition to chanting “six slippery snakes slid slowly seawards” in his spare time.  (Counter-intuitively, this was considered fun in those days.)

It must have worked because St. Patrick is credited, history-wise, with getting rid of the entire Irish snake population in one fell swoop. The story goes somewhat but not very much like this.

You see, St. Patrick was nothing if not charming.  He had it all, looks, education and a flashy carriage in which to ride around impressing peasants right and left.

So St. Patrick, being a man of the cloth, (he had a huge and impressive cloth collection) decided that everyone hopping around all the time to sidestep snakes was depleting the citizenry of their usual vim.  (Vigor hadn’t been invented yet.)

Since arm-twisting was going to be out of the question, St. Patrick finally decided to coax the snakes out of Ireland by inviting them over to his house under the ruse of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

He then began the task of charming the pants off them (in those days Irish Snakes wore plaid pants with little matching berets). He accomplished this by slathering on the blarney pretty thickly, followed promptly by a plethora of pandering and polishing it all off with a prodigious pitcher of empty promises.  Pat was pretty proud!

When he realized he was running low on straws for the rum and Cokes, he quickly herded his limbless revelers outside and managed to lure them over the White Cliffs of Dover where they toppled, snake-like, into the sea – dead as doornails (very large doornails but doornails just the same).

And of course we all know what happened next.  St. Patrick painted the White Cliffs of Dover green to commemorate the occasion and who wouldn’t?

So next time you have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll know why.