St. Patrick's Day

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St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was born in the year 387, probably in Scotland. When he was sixteen he was captured by Irish pirates who sold him as a slave. Six years later he escaped to mainland Europe, but we do not know exactly where he lived. We know that he became a priest and that he returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary. By the time he died on 17 March 461, he had converted the inhabitants of the British Isles to Christianity.

St. Patrick’s Day is probably celebrated more than any other saint’s day. It is Ireland’s national day, and it is as lively as a certain day which is celebrated in Norway two months later. There are processions, fireworks and parties, and lots of Guinness is drunk. Ireland’s national colour is green, and on 17 March everyone in Ireland wears it. And not only in Ireland. St. Patrick is remembered in other countries where people have Irish ancestors, for example in the USA, Australia and Britain. 


Read the article two or three times and then do this short activity. Try not to look at the text until you have finished.

Put suitable words and phrases in the gaps:

  • People all over the world __________ St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Patrick was sixteen when he was captured by __________.
  • People with Irish __________ remember the saint on 17 March.
  • St. Patrick is Ireland’s __________ __________.
  • Celebrations on 17 March and 17 May are very __________.
  • Patrick __________ __________ in 387.
  • We do not know __________ where Patrick lived in Europe.
  • When he returned to Ireland, he __________ the people to Christianity.


Activity for the link below

Look at the article on  the website and click on “More” for the complete text. When you have read it, answer these questions. Do not copy sentences from the article, but use your own words.

Copyright: Getty Images

a) Why is 17 March celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day?

b) Where and when did Irish Americans first celebrate the day?

c) What are shamrocks and leprechauns? (You click on entries in the left-hand column.)

d) Why did so many Irish people come to the USA in the 1840s?

e) Why did most Americans look down on them?

f) How did the press present the 17 March parades in the 1840s?

g) How did the Irish become a powerful force in American life?

h) Why did the Irish government decide, in 1995, to let pubs open on 17 March?



St. Patrick's Day (

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Sist oppdatert: 08.01.2010

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