Saint Patrick’s Day: Myths, Facts, & Writing Prompts

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17. When going to school, I would always find something green to wear on this special day. I really didn’t want to be pinched, and if I failed to wear green, the inevitable happened. Who was St. Patrick, and what does green have to do with this day?

St. Patrick depicted with shamrock in detail of stained glass window in St. Benin's Church, Kilbennan, County Galway, Ireland. wikipedia

St. Patrick depicted with shamrock in detail of stained glass window in St. Benin’s Church, Kilbennan, County Galway, Ireland. wikipedia

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. What did he do to deserve this honor? If you listen to legend, he drove all the snakes out of Ireland and into the sea. But you know what? Ireland never had snakes in the first place, so that one cannot be true.

It is said that St. Patrick used a shamrock to explain the trinity to the Irish. This is also supposed to be a legend, but I can see how it would have been a good item to use for this explanation.

The legend about the shamrock is partly responsible for the color green with being associated with St. Patrick’s Day, but it was not the first color to be linked with this day. It started out being blue. Why? Because this was the color of the vestments that this saint wore.

School on St. Patrick’s Day would have been a lot easier for me if blue was the color everyone associated with this day.  Blue is my favorite color, and finding something to wear that had no trace of blue in it would have been hard for me to do.

shamrock, wikipedia

shamrock, wikipedia

Why did the color green become associated with this day?  The color green is also the color of Ireland, and this is the country that St. Patrick is most often linked with.

What are some facts about this great man? He was born in England to wealthy parents. Up until he was around sixteen years old, he was probably a pagan. When sixteen, he was captured by Irish marauders and taken to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. He said that one day God told him it was time to leave Ireland, so he walked two hundred miles and caught passage on a boat headed for Britain.

The Wild Geese Restaurant in Adare, Ireland, wikimedia commons

The Wild Geese Restaurant in Adare, Ireland, wikimedia commons

Later in a dream, an angel told him that he was to become a missionary in Ireland. To achieve this, he went to school in France and received training for being a priest. Eventually, he was made a bishop.  He then returned to Ireland of his own free will to witness to the people there. Once there, he did convert many of the Irish from paganism to Christianity. The Irish had many pagan rituals of their own. In order to ease their conversion to Christianity, he combined many of their rituals with Christian celebrations.

St. Patrick is believed to have died on March 17. That is why this day is chosen to celebrate his memory and the things he did. How does all of this tie in with fiction writing?

Writing Prompts – Fiction
Choose one of the legends associated with this day and write a story about it. Or you can use one of the modern ways of celebrating this day – wearing green, eating and/or drinking green food and beverages, etc. – and use as a focal part of your story. And you could always throw in a leprechaun or two.

Even better, choose a fact or myth about St. Patrick’s Day (more can easily be found on the internet), write a story about it, and have it take place in a city with an Irish sounding name, one that you would associate with this day.

girl writing, etc.usf.edu

girl writing, etc.usf.edu

Below are some of the towns that you can choose from.
Mount Gay-Shamrock, WV
Shamrock, TX
Shamrock Lakes, IN
Shamrock, OK
Emerald Isle, NC
Dublin, CA
Dublin, OH
Clover, SC
Clover, IL
Clover, MN
Clover, PA
Cloverleaf, MN
Irishtown, IL

What if your character was a real leprechaun, but no one else knew it?  What would be like for him to have grown up in one of these towns?  What would it be like for him to live in one of these towns?

What if a criminal (burglar, murderer, etc.) took advantage of living in a town that was associated with leprechauns and St. Patrick’s Day?  Would he leave behind proof that said a leprechaun had committed the crime?  Would his crime sprees always take place around this holiday?

Look at the picture of The Wild Geese Restaurant in Adare, Ireland.  Create a St. Patrick’s Day story that takes place there.

Recommended Article: Leprechaunophobia – the Fear of Leprechauns

Amazon link: St. Patrick: The Irish Legend

Recommended Articles: 
Leprechaun Facts
Leprechaunophobia – the Fear of Leprechauns
Favorite Irish Folk Tales – a Review

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