Believe It or Not!
The Odd of the Irish!

The Odd of the Irish!

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


  • 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.

Other facts

  • 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

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Author: Dan Philibin

1 Comment to “The Odd of the Irish!”
  1. guinness is not a beer its a stout just thought you should know this is blasphemy in ireland

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