Erin Go Bragh!

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They say we all have a little bit of Irish in us on March 17th….so for some fun let’s take a closer look at the day and the man for whom it’s named.

The patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick was of course a real person. Born at the end of the fourth century in Roman Britain to wealthy parents, he wasn’t particularly religious when he was young.

As a teenager, he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland. He escaped, returned home, and began studying for the priesthood – going back later to Ireland as a missionary to convert the natives to Christianity.

Hundreds of years of storytelling about St. Patrick have contributed to making his life a bit of a mystery. Folklore says that it was St. Patrick who superimposed the sun, a powerful symbol for the pagans at the time, onto the Christian cross to create what we know as the Celtic cross (and thereby making it seem more natural to the Irish). Another legend is that he used the shamrock to teach about the Trinity. True or false?

Nobody knows.

What is known, though, is that St. Patrick accomplished something quite astounding – carrying the Gospel Message to a people that the rest of the world at the time considered to be barbarians. It must have taken a great deal of courage to return to the land of his captivity where slave trading was common and human sacrifice still took place. He’s said to have remained in Ireland for the rest of his life, dying there on March 17th in the mid-5th century. Interesting story!

Now, fast forward to the present – and see how much you know about Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day:

1) What does Erin Go Bragh mean?
2) Which American city dyes its downtown river Emerald Green for
a few hours each St. Patrick’s Day?
3) In which Irish city is the real Blarney Stone located?
4) What’s the official emblem of Ireland?
5) In which country did the first St. Patrick’s Day parade take
place?
6) Which state has the highest proportion of residents of
Irish descent?

Happy Spring!

Answers: 1) Ireland Forever 2) Chicago 3) Cork 4) Harp
5) USA 6) Massachusetts

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