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    St Patrick’s Day – A celebration of everything Irish.

    We would like to wish a Happy and peaceful St. Patrick’s Day to all those across the globe who are Irish by birth, descent or association.  Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit (Pronounced: “Law Fay-la Paw-rick sun-uh dit”) – translated as “Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you. 

    Keep a piece of the Emerald Isle in your heart this St. Patrick’s Day and soak up the beautiful sights and magical sounds of Ireland on our virtual tour below….

    Saint Patrick’s Trail

    Saint Patrick was a man of prayer, an exile, a refugee; a justice seeker and a creative teacher. The story of St. Patrick has fascinated the world for centuries, and you can still see his legacy clearly all around the land of 40 shades of green. St. Patrick’s trail travels all over Ireland, from the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary up to County Down and County Armagh in Northern Ireland and over to Croagh Patrick in County Mayo on the Wild Atlantic Way.

    At 16 years of age, Patrick was one of many who was captured and brought to Ireland and sold as a slave. He says “that it was here in exile and in loneliness that he came to know God”. (© Confessio.ie). After 6 years of slavery he escaped, went home and studied. He says he could constantly hear the voice of the Irish calling him back. Eventually he was ordained a priest and came back to Ireland as a missionary in 432 AD. His mission in Ireland was far from easy as he preached the Gospel and spoke out against injustice. He is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.

    St. Patrick in Ireland © Tourism Ireland

    Awaken Ireland

    The theme of this year’s Saint Patrick’s Day Festival is Dúisigh Éire! Awaken Ireland! It is a clarion call to the Irish across the world to throw off the long dark months and rise to embrace brighter days ahead.

    With more than 100 events to enjoy at this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival, from performance, literature and art to virtual tours, sustainability and politics, there’s something for everyone to enjoy! Broadcasting globally, March 12 – 17, daily 9.30am – 10pm on SPF TV at stpatricksfestival.ie and rte.ie/culture and in homes across Ireland on the Oireachtas TV channel.

    St. Patrick’s Day traditions, legends and facts

    March 17th is a special day when we recall the life of Ireland’s Patron saint – St. Patrick – his transformative spirit, and the enormous legacy he has left behind as exile, migrant, teacher and saint.

    The Shamrock.

    Did you know, a clover must have three leaves to be considered a shamrock. It the clover has more leaves or less leaves then it is not a shamrock. Hence all shamrocks are clover, but not all clover are shamrocks…..

    This three leaf clover called the shamrock is one of the most widely recognized symbols of Ireland and is often referred to as the unofficial symbol of this country. The official symbol of Ireland is actually the Irish harp. The shamrock is sometimes referred to as the national plant of Ireland, and it is worn with much pride as a symbol on St. Patrick’s Day.

    The word “shamrock” derives from the word seamróg or seamair óg in the Irish language, which means “little clover”. St. Patrick allegedly used the three-leaf shamrock to teach the pagan people about Christianity as he traveled around Ireland. He said the leaves illustrated the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit of the Holy Trinity. The three leaves on a shamrock also represent faith, hope and love, and it is considered as a symbol of luck.

    A bowl of shamrock is annually presented to the US president in the East Room of the White House in Washington. © AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

    More Saint Patrick’s Day trivia – Did you know?  

    Did you know that Boston, Massachusetts was the first place in the world to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in 1737?

    Green is a color synonymous with March 17th, but did you know that the colour most commonly associated with St. Patrick was BLUE?

    St. Patrick’s Day Parade Dublin City © Fáilte Ireland.

    Locations in Ireland associated with St. Patrick

    St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin City © Tourism Ireland

    St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin City.

    Built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint between 1220 and 1260, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin City offers visitors a rich and compelling cultural experience and is one of the few buildings left from medieval Dublin. St Patrick baptized people here 1500 years ago.

    It is the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland and is the largest cathedral in the country. Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, was dean of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in the 1700s and he is one of many burials on site. The phrase “to chance your arm” originates from a feud that played out within the walls of St Patrick’s.

    Croagh Patrick, County Mayo.

    Westport’s most-famous spiritual attraction is undoubtedly Croagh Patrick, or The Reek as it is also known. A hugely important site of pilgrimage, every year the holy mountain, named in honor of Ireland’s patron saint, attracts thousands of pilgrims who climb its sacred stoney path to the summit, following in the footsteps of St Patrick.

    But Croagh Patrick’s status as a spiritual site goes back even further than 441 AD, when the patron saint spent 40 days and nights fasting on its slopes. In fact, it has been a site of worship since 3000 BC, when pagans would go to the mountain – then called Cruach Aigle – to perform sacrificial rituals to their gods in a bid to get in their good books and ensure a good harvest.

    Summit of Croagh Patrick, County Mayo at sunset © Gareth McCormack and Tourism Ireland

    Armagh City, County Armagh, Northern Ireland. 

    Armagh is at the heart of celebrating the life of Saint Patrick and the ‘At Home with St Patrick’s festival 2021’ promises a lively and varied showcase of the best culture, music, song and dance from the city to the comfort of your own home. Events take place from Friday 12 – Wednesday 17 March online.

    As you approach Armagh, you will notice its most distinctive landmarks right away. From opposite hills, two striking cathedrals face each other across a valley, both honoring St Patrick.

    St Patrick’s RC Cathedral & St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh City © Tourism Ireland

    Saint Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral Armagh.

    The imposing twin spires of the Saint Patrick’s R.C Cathedral overlook the city from an elevated site. The Cathedral is built on a site known as Tealach na licci (Sandy Hill) where legend has it that Saint Patrick brought a young deer for sanctuary.

    Catch your breath at the top of the hill, take in the view of our beautiful city and then enter St Patrick’s R.C Cathedral Armagh and wonder at the awe-inspiring interior.

    Saint Patrick’s RC Cathedral, Armagh © Photographer/Creator: Emma Mc Ardle. © Image from Tourism Ireland

    Saint Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral Armagh. 

    Saint Patrick first built a stone church on the hill of Armagh in 445AD and there has been a Christian church on the site where the Cathedral stands ever since. The plan of the Cathedral, as it now stands, is the design of Archbishop O’Scanlain in 1268 and it was last restored in 1834. The High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, was buried in the Cathedral grounds in 1014.

    The Church of Ireland Cathedral of St Patrick, Armagh, is set on a hill from which the name of the city derives – Ard Macha – the Height of Macha. Macha is the legendary pre-Christian tribal princess, some say fearsome goddess of war and fertility.

    Saint Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh © Photographer: Tony Pleavin. © Tourism Northern Ireland.

    Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary. 

    According to legend, St. Patrick banished Satan from a mountain cave in Ireland. In a fury, Satan took a bite from the mountain and spat it out, creating the Rock of Cashel hill you see today in County Tipperary.

    The Rock of Cashelalso known as ‘St. Patrick’s Rock’, was originally the seat of the Kings of Munster. According to legend St. Patrick himself came here to convert King Aenghus to Christianity.

    Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary © Tourism Ireland © Photographer: Brian Morrison

    Downpatrick, County Down. 

    The Saint Patrick Centre in Downpatrick is a great starting point for any visitor who wishes to know more about Ireland’s patron saint. The exhibition at the Saint Patrick Centre, ‘Ego Patricius’ – The Story of Saint Patrick”, explores the legacy of St. Patrick, ancient and modern, and recalls the saint’s own story – in his own words. A series of interactive displays allow visitors to explore how Patrick’s legacy developed in early Christian times and reveals the fabulous artwork and metalwork which was produced during this Golden Age. The exhibition also examines the major impact of Irish missionaries in Europe between the fifth and ninth centuries, a legacy which remains to this day.

    Outside Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, on the highest part of Cathedral Hill lies the grave of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and Saint Columcille, giving rise to the well-known couplet: “In Down, three saints one grave do fill, Patrick, Brigid and Columcille.” A massive granite stone marker was placed on Cathedral Hill in the early 1900’s to protect the grave from the many pilgrims who visited.

    Saul Church in County Down is built on the site of Saint Patrick’s earliest place of Christian worship in Ireland, founded by the Saint in 432 AD. Originally made of wood, the church has been rebuilt many times.

    St. Patrick’s Memorial Church, Saul, County Down © Tourism Ireland

    The Irish Tricolour Flag

    On March 7th 1848, Thomas Meagher first flew the Irish tricolour publicly in Waterford City, as a symbol of Irish independence and the Irish emblem of peace. He wanted a new Ireland, where Irish Catholics and Protestants joined forces for independence.  “The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the ‘orange’ and the ‘green’.”

    Irish Flag and American Flag © Getty Images

    A Whole Lot of Green….. 

    Global Greening is established to bring a message of positivity, friendship, solidarity and hope to the 70+ million people across the globe who claim links to the island of Ireland, especially at a time when Irish diaspora overseas cannot travel home.

    Saint Patrick Centre, Co. Down © Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon District Council © Photographer/Creator: Chris Halpin.

     

    The Empire State Building going green for St. Patrick’s Day ©  Tourism Ireland.

     

    St Patrick’s Day – Global Greening – London Eye © Tourism Ireland.

    We are encouraging you to take part in the Tourism Ireland “Light a Green Candle initiative” for the St. Patrick’s Day @ Home event.

    Please light a green candle at 7pm (GMT) on March 17th, take a photo or video and upload it to your social media handles and use #GlobalGreening to become part of the conversation. We are all waiting patiently to welcome you back to Ireland – when the time is right.

    A Taste Of Ireland – Homemade Irish Scones

    Classic Irish Scones with Kevin Dundon & Dunbrody House, Co. Wexford © Discover Ireland.

    Here is a YouTube Video from Discover Island with the tasty recipe for a little taste of Ireland at home – Step into the kitchen at Dunbrody House in County Wexford, with star chef Kevin Dundon and learn this easy to follow recipe for classic Irish scones! Special thanks to Kevin for lending his culinary expertise!

    A Taste of Ireland Video with Kevin Dundon © Tourism Ireland.

    Variations of the name Patrick.

    As you can see from the list below there are many variations on the name Patrick from around the world, and there are some famous Patrick’s too …..

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to a world full of Patrick’s © Tourism Ireland

    Patrick, Pat, Packey, Paddy, Paddie, Padhraig, Padraic, Pádraic, Pauric, Pádraig, Padraic, Padric, Patrece, Patric, Patrik, Patryk, Patsy, Patrice, Patricius, Patricia, Patricio, Patrizio, Patrizius, Patsy, Patten, Patton, Patty, Pati, Patti, Pattie, Particia, Pasty, Patresa, Patrese, Patria, Patrica, Patrisha, Patriceia,  Patricja, Patrizia, Patricka,  Patriece, Patricio, Patrika, Patrique, Patrikia,  Patrishia,  Patrizzia,  Patryce,  Patrysha,  Pattrice, Tricia, Trish, Tish, Trisha, Trisia, Trysha, Trysia, Teesha, Tichia, Tisha, Trecia, Tricha, Trisch, Patryk, Patrycy, Patrycjusz, Patrycja

    How to enjoy the perfect pint of Guinness in Ireland

    Learn about Guinness on your next vacation in Ireland – Explore the Guinness Storehouse, discover how Guinness is made, learn how to pour the perfect pint, follow the iconic black stout from St. James Gate to the Irish pub and uncover the secrets behind the perfect pint.

    Here is a short YouTube video from Discover Ireland with some tips of how to enjoy the perfect pint – As we say in Ireland “Sláinte” (pronounced Slahn-chə], (with a silent ‘t’) – this Irish word is translated “as a toast to your good health“.

    Video “How to enjoy the perfect pint of Guinness in Ireland” © Tourism Ireland

    Plan a vacation in “the land of saints & scholars”.

    Ireland is known as the land of saints and scholars. Why not plan a trip of a lifetime to explore the trail of Saint Patrick around Ireland in 2022?  Discover pre-Christian and early Christian Ireland, it’s hidden gems and the incredible scenic Irish drives at your own relaxed, leisurely pace. We also have a “40 shades of green pub tour” scheduled for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 so you can discover the Emerald Isle for yourself.

    Get in touch with Specialized Travel Services to start planning your vacation –  We will ensure that you experience the heritage, history, myths and legends of Ireland, while travelling in comfort in one of our luxury chauffeur drive vehicles. You can relax and enjoy the breathtaking views while exploring peaceful and scenic areas off the beaten track. Take a look at some of our private chauffeur drive vacations on our website for additional inspiration of where you can visit on your vacation here.

    Our “Gift of Ireland” gift certificates allow you to choose a customized vacation that is both personal and wonderful. There is flexibility to use our gift certificates for any of our travel services, including self-drive tours, escorted tours, private group tours and tailor made vacations. You can use the “Gift of Ireland” towards hotel accommodation, airport transfers, visitor attractions, a round of golf, afternoon tea, a medieval castle banquet or a romantic evening meal….. The list is endless. Plus they are valid for 5 years from date of purchase. The “Gift of Ireland” really is the special gift that keeps on giving!

    We look forward to hearing from you – you can click here to complete our contact form or you can also send us an email – newyork@special-ireland.com

    “Greening the world” on St. Patrick’s Day © Tourism Ireland

     

    Note: Featured image at the top of the blog is of “Walkers at Croagh Patrick, County Mayo & St. Patrick Statue” © Chris Hill and Tourism Ireland.

     


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      Saint Patrick Centre, Co. Down © Photographer: Chris Halpin © Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon District Council
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      St. Patrick's Day Parade Dublin City © Tourism Ireland
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      Niagara Falls – Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative © Tourism Ireland
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      Down Cathedral & St Patrick's Grave, Co. Down © Tourism Ireland
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      Slieve Patrick statue of St. Patrick, Co. Down © Tourism Ireland/ Photographer Brian Morrison
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      Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary © Tourism Ireland

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