Counter Culture Mom Logo

Revisiting the REAL story of St. Patrick’s Day

By Summer Lane

Photo: Deposit

Every year, we jokingly pinch our friends and family who forget to wear the color green on St. Patrick’s Day. Children giggle at the thought of finding a pot of gold at the end of an Irish rainbow, and carboard cutouts of four-leaf clovers grace the walls of nearly every elementary classroom in America. Pubs and breweries advertise Irish beers and cocktails, while supermarkets sell corned beef and cabbage.

And hey – don’t forget the leprechauns!

St. Patrick’s Day today is a mixed bag of Irish traditions, seasoned with a hefty dose of American flavor.  The Irish people who emigrated to the United States and settled in New York City’s Lower East side may have had a lot to do with introducing the green-infused celebration of St. Patrick to the States, per

However, while Americans largely associate St. Patrick’s Day with Shamrock-themed parties and bubbling beers, the story of the real-life Saint Patrick is a fascinating tale indeed.

St. Patrick the missionary

According to Ligonier, Patrick was born in 385 in Roman Brittania, in the modern city of Dumbarton, Scotland. He had an incredibly adventurous life, surviving being kidnapped by barbarian pirates at the age of 16, and then becoming a shepherd and farm laborer.

Per Ligonier, he escaped his pirate captors and returned to Britain with an inspired vision for his life: to see Ireland converted into the Christian faith.

Ligonier writes thusly:

“Patrick had no less of a goal than seeing pagan Ireland converted. These efforts did not set well with Loegaire (or Leoghaire), the pagan king of pagan Ireland. Patrick faced danger and even threats on his life. He took to carrying a dagger. Yet, despite these setbacks, Patrick persisted. Eventually the king converted and was baptized by Patrick and much of the people of Ireland followed suit. A later legend would have it that Patrick rid all of Ireland of snakes. Snakes were not native to Ireland at the time. Instead, Patrick rid Ireland of marauding ways and a cultural and civil barbarianism by bringing not only Christianity to Ireland, but by bringing a whole new ethic. It was not too long ago that a New York Times’ bestselling book argued that St. Patrick and his Ireland saved civilization.”

St. Patrick was a church builder, and is considered to be a saint in the Catholic church. It is still hotly debated as to whether Patrick was an Irish Protestant or a Roman Catholic. There are significant theological differences between the two, but Christianity Today even notes that there is no “plain ‘yes’ or ‘no’” answer to that question.

It is in the unknown that the legend of St. Patrick was born, and it is unfortunate that a purportedly very godly man’s holiday has been reduced, in some ways, to some of the same superstitious traditions that Patrick himself was dedicated to liberating the Irish from.

Leprechauns, for example, stem from the Celtic people’s belief in fairies, whom they believed were tiny men who could use magic to wield good or evil powers, per

In America, the story of St. Patrick has been significantly watered down, but for those who are interested in the real story of Patrick, “The Apostle of Ireland,” it’s fun to dig in a little deeper and discover the roots of this rich Irish holiday that was brought to our shores by the fascinating culture of Irish immigrants.





The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team. This specific article was written by Summer Lane, and may not be reproduced, except to quote for reviews or interviews, without the express permission of the author. 




Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of 30 books, including the hit Collapse Series and Resurrection Series. She is an experienced journalist and columnist who reports on news within the U.S. and abroad. Additionally, she analyzes politics and policies in weekly op/Eds on The Write Revolution.

Summer is also a mom and wife who enjoys rural country living, herding cats, and gardening. She is passionate about writing about women’s issues, parenting, and politics from a theologically-grounded perspective that points readers to the good news of the gospel.

Download Our New Counter Culture Mom App to get our trending news and pop culture alert notifications. Connect with other parents in the Parent Chat section to gain helpful ideas on how to counteract the Pop Culture Cult!

Be sure to contact us if there is an issue you would like to have us write about! Our mission is to help parents deal with today’s lifestyle trends and how to biblically navigate them.

No Comments

Post A Comment