Saint Patrick's Day
Learn about Saint Patrick and find resources on Irish people, culture, and history.
17 March is Saint Patrick’s Day. It is the day when Irish communities around the world celebrate their culture with music, dancing, parades, and traditional food and drink. Saint Patrick is the Catholic patron saint of Ireland and often associated with symbols of Ireland such as the shamrock and the colour green.
Who was Saint Patrick?
Patrick was an Englishman who was captured as a boy by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. He managed eventually to escape and made his way to France where he studied to become a priest. When he was made a bishop he was sent back to Ireland to spread the Christian faith among the tribes there.
One story tells of Patrick getting rid of all the snakes in Ireland by praying. A more likely story is how he explained the Christian belief of the Trinity or the idea that God is three in one - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit - by using a shamrock with its three parts. The shamrock is now the emblem of Ireland.
Some people believe that Saint Patrick died on 17 March, 460 AD. Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated around the world, wherever people of Irish descent live.
In the catalogue
More catalogue searches
Ireland and things Irish
- Christchurch Irish Society
The local society is a useful source of information on Irish groups, culture and events.
- New Zealand Consulate General of Ireland
All things Irish in New Zealand – events, Irish cultural groups etc. and information for Irish people living in New Zealand.
- The history of St Patrick’s Day
The History Channel has collected material on the history of St Patrick’s Day on its website.
- St Patrick
from the online Catholic Encyclopedia: New Advent.
- Saint Patrick's Day research starter
from Encyclopædia Britannica (Use at a library or enter your library card & password / PIN)
- Information about Saint Patrick
from the BBC
- Saint Patrick
More information, links and references at Wikipedia.
- Saint Patrick's journey
Interactive game from the BBC
- Shamrocks and shenanigans
A set of St Patrick’s Day images from DigitalNZ.