Saint Patrick’s Day, Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”, is a cultural and religious celebration for the foremost patron saint of Ireland (c. AD 385–461). Tradition says that he spent many years evangelising in the northern half of Ireland and converted “thousands”. Patrick’s efforts against the druids were eventually turned into an allegory in which he drove “snakes” out of Ireland, despite the fact that snakes were not known to inhabit the region. He died on 17 March and was buried at Downpatrick.
Birmingham holds the Birmingham largest St Patrick’s Day parade in Britain and has Britain’s only designated ‘Irish Quarter’. It is estimated that Birmingham has the largest Irish population per capita in Britain, with Digbeth being the traditional Irish area in Birmingham.
In my childhood, we would look forward to the postman bringing us shamrock from relatives ’across the water’ and would wear with pride on St Patrick’s Day. (Ed)