Believe It or Not!
When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day everyone knows to wear green and plenty of people are willing to tip a pint of green beer or attend a local parade.
Ripley’s presents unbelievable St. Patrick’s Day facts
But there are many lesser-known facts about this holiday and St. Patrick himself. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! has chronicled the unusual St. Patrick’s Day facts and follies for decades.
A Sampling of St. Patrick’s strange-but-true twists include:
- St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, was not Irish. He was a Frenchman. His real name was Succat, his father’s name was Calpurnius and his mother was a sister of St. Martin, the Bishop of Tours.
- St. Patrick (385-461 A.D.) did not see Ireland until he was kidnapped by Irish Raiders! (he was sent to tend sheep as a slave at age 16)
- St. Patrick founded 700 churches, consecrated 700 bishops, ordained 3,000 priests, and baptized 80,000 people.
- St. Patrick’s prayer was written by the saint himself in the sacred book of Armagh and was recited by him “100 times by day” and “100 times by night.”
- The tomb of St. Patrick’s at Down Patrick Cathedral, Ireland does not contain St. Patrick’s body. No one knows exactly where the beloved Saint is buried.
- James Renwick, Jr. (1818-1895), designer of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, never studied architecture and never saw a gothic structure until he had designed one himself!
- A shrine containing a tooth from St. Patrick, constructed of silver in the 14th century, is preserved in the National Museum in Dublin.
- Queen Victoria of England, during the Crimean War, decreed that all Irishmen in the British Army could wear a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day.
- George Washington selected as the password for his troops the word “Boston” with “St. Patrick” as the proper response when the British evacuated Boston on St. Patrick’s Day in 1776.
- There are more than 900 churches dedicated to St. Patrick
- The first celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. was a dinner and a parade by The Charitable Irish Society of Boston, Mass., on March 17, 1737.
- A toast given at a St. Patrick’s Day dinner in N.Y. in 1766 was the wish that the enemies of Ireland be tormented with itching without the benefit of scratching.
- Alcoholic drinks in Dublin, Ireland at one time on St. Patrick’s Day, were sold only at The Royal Dublin Dog Show.
- H&H Bagels of New York City, for St. Patrick’s Day in 1982, distributed from its Manhattan bakeries, 12,000 green bagels!
- Richard Daley as mayor of Chicago in 1965 celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by pouring 100 lbs. of emerald green dye into the Chicago River.
- Eddie Williams of Toronto has walked 32 miles to Oakville, Ontario each St Patrick’s Day to drink a glass of whiskey at his favorite bar. This will be the 33rd consecutive year that he has done this! (the walk supposedly originated in prohibition days when a group of Irish friends walked to Oakville – the only place they could get a pint of beer)
- George J. Hendry, former president and historian of the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day parade held annually in Chicago, Ill. has a birthmark on his face that resembles a shamrock.
- Maryville, Mo. has the world’s shortest annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, measuring only 99.9 feet!
- The Lord Mayor’s coach in which the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Ireland, rides in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, made its first appearance in this event in 1791.
- A green and white candle, burned by Norman Porter on St. Patrick’s day, dripped wax onto a table to form a perfect green shamrock in Rochester, N.Y.
- The ferry on Lake Larne, Ireland, between Larne and Island Magee, was inaugurated by St. Patrick and has never had a drowning in 1,500 years.
- On a normal day, 5.5 million pints of Guinness, the famous Irish beer, are consumed worldwide. That number jumps to 13 million pints on St. Patrick’s Day.
Featured Photo by theperplexingparadox