St. Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. He was born in the fourth century and is famous for bringing Christianity into Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day falls on the 17th of March.

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St. Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. He was born in the fourth century and is famous for bringing Christianity into Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day is a very well known Irish national holiday, which is celebrated not only in Ireland but all around the world. It falls on the 17th of March.

History of St. Patrick

St. Patrick was born to wealthy parents in the late fourth century. Until the age of 16, he thought of himself as a pagan. He was kidnapped and sold as a slave at this age by Irish marauders. It was during this capture that he turned to God.

He managed to escape after being a slave for six years and then studied in a monastery in Gaul for 12 years. This was when he knew that his ‘calling’ was to try and convert all the pagans in Ireland to Christianity.

St. Patrick went around Ireland founding monasteries and successfully converting people to Christianity. The Celtic Druids were very unhappy with him and tried to arrest him several times but he always managed to escape.

After 30 years of being a missionary in Ireland, he finally settled down in a place called County Down. He died on the 17th of March, AD 461.

Legend and Folklore

Shamrocks, leprechauns and the blarney stone are associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Shamrocks are three-leaved clovers found growing in patches on grass. You are thought to be lucky if you find a four-leaved clover, so do keep it if you ever come across one!

Leprechauns are little Irish fairies, and they are thought to work as shoe-makers for other fairies. The Irish say that if a leprechaun is caught by a human, he will reveal where he hides his pot of gold. On this day, pictures of shamrocks and leprechauns are hung everywhere. Some people even dress up as leprechauns complete with their big green hats!

The village of Blarney is situated northwest of the Irish city of Cork. Blarney comes from the Irish word ‘An blarna’, meaning the plain. Blarney Castle is a very famous castle in this village and is 90 feet tall. The world famous Blarney Stone is on the top story. It is said that if one kisses this stone, one will be given the gift of eloquence, meaning to have beautiful speaking abilities. Nowadays, the word blarney means the ability to influence and coax with fair words and soft speech without offending.

Legend also says that St. Patrick could raise people from the dead. He is well-known for driving the snakes out of Ireland, although many people dispute how true this is! Another great story was how he used the shamrock, with its three leaves, to explain the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost) to his followers.

What Do People Do on St. Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated world-wide with people dancing and singing in Irish pubs, watching the St. Patrick’s Day parade, drinking ‘green’ beer, wearing green clothes and just generally having a good time. Children in Ireland have a tradition of pinching their friends who don’t wear green on this day!

Traditional Food and Drink on St. Patrick’s Day

Bacon and cabbage is what most people have on this day. Another popular dish is Irish soda bread and potato pancakes. Irish pub owners go crazy on this day, putting green food colouring into their beers and traditional Irish Guinness Stout is a sell out in all Irish pubs! People also drink lots of Irish coffee, which is made with warm whiskey, sugar, coffee and topped off with cream. Sounds delicious? It is!

Irish Proverbs

The Irish have many proverbs but here are some favourites.

  • Better the coldness of a friend than the sweetness of an enemy.
  • Be nice to them on the way up. You might meet them all on the way down.
  • Let your anger set with the sun and not rise again with it.

Irish Humour

The Irish are famous for their jokes and good nature. Here’s an example:

Definition of an Irish husband:
He hasn’t kissed his wife in 20 years but he will kill any man who does!

Now that you know almost everything about St. Patrick’s Day, go out on March the 17th and enjoy yourselves! Why not try and spot a leprechaun or two to find your pot of gold…?

Whatever it may be, don’t forget to wear green on this special day!



Language level

Intermediate: B1


I think the article is a bit difficult with many unknown words, especially without a preparation task to help reading. But perhaps it's more like a real reading material in test.

Hi BING70,

We're happy to help you with any words or phrases that you don't understand, or I expect you could find many of them in the Cambridge Dictionary.

We're going to publish a new article on Saint Patrick's Day in March 2019, with both preparation and follow-up tasks, so be sure to look for it in March.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for the hardwork of you all.
And a Happy New Year!

Hello BING70,

Thanks, and Happy New Year to you too!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi there
There's no preparation task.
My Best

Hi alishan1991,

That is correct. Usually we provide a preparation task as well as a reading task but on this page there is only the reading task. A preparation task will be added in the future.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, I know about the St Patrick's day but I don't have idea about Branley stone and the incredible ability that will given who kiseed.

It was a very insightfull and well-written article about the history of st patricks' day

The article is very interesting. I loved the history and specially to middle age is so fantastic. In my country doesn't exist a party in particular but if we have many parties and carnavals around the year. For instance, we have the Carnaval of Barranquilla, this folklorike party with comparses where people use disguises with colours and flowers and the music is the most important performance, principally people plays percussion instruments. On the other hand the end of carnaval is celebrated with the Joselito's died, Joselito is a principal person into carnaval. A legend said that He was a citizen in Barranquilla that he loved drinking and dancing, and unexpected day he drunk so much, he was found in the street, he was just died and the family did her funeral, but for their surprise, Joselito woke up and he said "I was not died, i was in a party time", for this reason He means the death of carnaval, but also He means the opening every year.

Hello! It is a very cool story, about tradition St.Patrik.