Here are some facts about St. Patrick and his namesake day:
— St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was not Irish but Welsh. When he was about 16, he was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave. After escaping, he went home and entered the church, but returned to Ireland as an ordained bishop.
— St. Patrick's Day is observed March 17 because it is believed that he died on March 17 in the year 461 AD.
— St. Patrick's Day is a national holiday in Ireland and a provincial holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador.
— The very first St. Patrick's Day parade was not in Ireland but in Boston in 1737.
— The phrase "drowning the shamrock" is from a custom of floating a shamrock on top of whiskey before drinking it.
— About 10 per cent of Canadians, or more than three million people, are of Irish descent. The population of Ireland is 4.1 million.