St. Patrick’s Day on the Aran Islands

St. Patrick’s Day – is probably one of the most well-

known feast days throughout the world. It is celebrated in

numerous countries outside of Ireland as well as here on the

“Emerald Isle” and in many cases with parades much larger than

you would even see here. It is estimated that 70 million worldwide

join in the celebrations on this day.


When we think of St. Patrick’s Day we automatically think of

green, from the beautiful fresh Shamrock to food and green beer

and everything in between.


But how much do we actually know about St. Patrick? How he

came to be one of the most celebrated Saint’s in the world?

I will tell you as much as I know and forgive me if I am wrong –

St. Patrick was actually born “Maewyn Succat” and was born in

Kilpatrick in Scotland in approx. 387 AD.


It is told that when he was sixteen years of age Maewyn was

captured by Celtic raiders and spent some time in Ireland as a

slave.  He spent a lot of time learning customs and languages of

Celtic Druids and began to convert these people to Catholics.

We understand that he had a dream one night in which God

spoke to him and said “your ship is ready” and St. Patrick knew

that we would escape by ship back to Britain. Some- time later he

dreamt about getting a letter which claimed that it was “the voice

of the Irish”. On opening the letter, he could hear “Irish ”voices

begging him to return to Ireland.


He decided to study and become ordained as a Bishop in the

Catholic Church and returned to Ireland to start a Church here.

He was met with many obstacles along the way but stayed

determined and eventually by combining old Celtic beliefs and

traditions with the Catholic Faith founded a strong base for the

Religion in Ireland.


St. Patrick is also said to have banished snakes from Ireland,

Legend has it that he stood on a hilltop, dressed in his formal

green attire, and waved his staff to herd all the slithering

creatures into the sea, expelling them from the Emerald Isle

forever,  there hasn’t been a snake seen in Ireland since 461 AD

(expect for the odd household pet and zoo creature),  I , for one

am very glad of this .


Symbols for St. Patrick’s Day:

Probably the most famous is the Shamrock; the shamrock is

a type of clover with three leaves. It was used by St. Patrick

to explain the meaning of the Holy Trinity, with The Father,

Son and Holy Spirt.  To this day, the Shamrock is looked on

as a symbol of good luck and is worn pinned to clothes on St.

Patrick’s Day.


Wearing the Green, Blue was the colour originally

associated with St. Patrick, but as Ireland is known as “The

Emerald Isle” due to its green infrastructure. Green became

more associated with the feast of the Patron Saint. Also the

green in the flag and the clover St. Patrick used in his

teachings about Catholicism played a big role in why green

is the colour now associated with all things Irish.


Other symbols of St. Patrick’s Day are: Leprechauns, The

Harp, and The Celtic Cross.  While I can tell you of the

beautiful music from a traditional Harp and have pages and

pages of history in relation to the Celtic cross… The

Leprechauns are a whole other story… but if you do seen

someone with a crock of gold, at the bottom of a rainbow,

don’t let him go and oh yeah, give me a call. !!

St. Patrick’s Day is reported to be celebrated by over 70

million worldwide, (give or take a few).  The celebrations

include some or all of the following, in whatever order suits



Attend Mass (if you wish) – Mass is celebrated by Catholics

to remember the Saint. Wear Green. Pin Shamrock on you.

Attend a parade, held locally throughout all of Ireland and

in many many countries worldwide.


Eat green food (some not naturally green, but green for the

day).  Drink green drinks, (some also not naturally green, but

green for the day).


Listen to and enjoy some traditional music, dance if you can.

Catch up with family; it is almost a “mini Christmas

celebration” for families.


Just celebrate being Irish or just being with the Irish.

If you plan to be in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day, be sure to find

out from the local tourist information, what is happening, where,

what time and be sure to join it.


St.Patrick’s Day on the Aran Islands.

There will be lots of great events on the Aran Islands on St.

Patrick’s Day – There is a parade on Inishmore starting at 1pm,

with music and celebrations all day in the many bars.  Where you

can immerse yourself in tradition, music, great food and above all

great craic.


The weekend before, there is the first ever Aran Celtic

Music Festival,  It is a three day celebration of Celtic music, dance and



Renowned artists from Ireland and the Celtic Diaspora

coming together for a unique fusion of our shared culture

on the intimate setting of the Aran island of Inis Mor.


Seated concerts and readings, dance floored Ceilis and some

of the best pub sessions you will ever have the pleasure of

taking part in will create three days of unforgettable Celtic



Please see the festival website :,

where you will see the full list of events and everything you

need to know about the weekend.

Who knows , I might just see you there ….!

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!

Marcella Gemmell .

Leave a Comment