Here’s a bit of Irish fun! Let’s get our facts straight by exploring common misconceptions about the holiday.St. Patrick was Irish.Though one of Ireland’s patron saints, Patrick was born in what is now England, Scotland or Wales—interpretations vary widely—to a Christian deacon and his wife, probably around the year 390. According to the traditional narrative, at 16 he was enslaved by Irish raiders who attacked his home; they transported him to Ireland and held him captive there for six years. Patrick later fled to England, where he received religious instruction before returning to Ireland to serve as a missionary.
St. Patrick was British.
His birthplace doesn’t mean Patrick was a Brit, however—at least not technically. During his lifetime the British Isles were occupied by the Romans, a group that included Patrick’s parents and thus the saint himself. It is unknown whether his family—thought to have been part of the Roman aristocracy—was of indigenous Celtic descent or hailed from modern-day Italy. When Patrick penned the two surviving documents attributed to him, he wrote in Latin and signed his name “Patricius,” but according to some accounts he was born Maewyn Succat.
St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland.
In 431, before Patrick began preaching in Ireland, Pope Celestine reportedly sent a bishop known as Palladius “to the Irish believing in Christ”—an indication that some residents of the Emerald Isle had already converted by then. One theory holds that the St. Patrick of lore is actually an amalgam of two men: Palladius and the deacon’s son who first visited Ireland as an enslaved man.