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St. Patrick's Day
The Wearing of the Green and The Weaving of the Myths

The frustrating thing about trying to make some sense out of the Celtic people is that one frequently finds their cultural landscape hidden, enshrouded in a heavy mist. The Irish have long been prodigious myth-builders, skilled embellishers, and master blenders of folk tales with historical fact. With so many conflicting stories circulating on every aspect of Irish history and culture, it's forever difficult to know just what to believe, and how to go about sorting out the truth from the pseudofacts and out-and-out fabrications. St. Patrick's Day St. Patrick's Day 2004 in Cork City

Blarney Gone Wild

The lore surrounding St. Patrick and his commemorative holiday, celebrated worldwide on March 17, provides copious examples of the Irish penchant for blarney gone wild. Legend would have us believe that Patrick was an Irishman through and through, that this lone cleric singlehandedly drove legions of snakes out of Ireland. Historians have dismissed many of the most famous stories surrounding St. Patrick as mere legend.

In this four-part article, we will attempt to set the historical record a little straighter on the Emerald Isle's world-famous saint. The other pages discuss the topics below:

  • Part 2. Who Was St. Patrick, Really?

  • Part 3. Feast Day in Ireland

  • Part 4. Celebrating St. Patrick's Day Worldwide

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 > Next: Who Was St. Patrick, Really?