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Happy St Patrick's Day!

Happy St Patrick’s Day everyone! 

Following on from our St Andrew’s Day blog last year, we wanted to shine a light on one of the other biggest Celtic celebrations of the year, St Patrick’s Day! So read on to find out more on St Patrick, St Patrick’s Day and, of course, Irish tartans…

Who was St Patrick?

Born in the late 4th century, St Patrick is known throughout the world today as the Patron Saint of Ireland. However, much like St Andrew wasn’t actually Scottish, St Patrick isn’t actually Irish. St Patrick was born in what was then Roman Britain. At the age of 16, St Patrick was kidnapped and taken to Ireland, and, following a vision from God, it’s said he escaped years later before returning to Ireland to bring Christianity to the people of Ireland.

Although St Patrick died in the 5th century, it wasn’t until the 17th century that the Church established St Patrick’s Day as a feast day to honour him. It is believed that Irish citizens celebrated St Patrick’s Day for centuries before this official confirmation. 

With the strong links between Ireland and North America, it’s no surprise that St Patrick’s Day as we know it today is a result of the Northern American St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Homesick Irish soldiers serving in the English military in America in the 18th century are said to have marched through New York City, beginning the famous New York City St Patrick’s Day parade. From that point on, St Patrick’s Day is celebrated throughout Northern America with many unique traditions, including the infamous Green Beer.

A Pipe Band marching through New York City during the New York City St Patrick’s Day Parade
A Pipe Band marching through New York City during the New York City St Patrick’s Day Parade

Did you know… The colour green wasn’t always associated with St Patrick’s Day. The colour most commonly associated with St Patrick was blue until the turn of the 19th century when the colour green started to be associated with the day. The Shamrock that is so instantly recognised as a symbol of St Patrick’s Day and of Ireland has its place in legend. It’s believed that Saint Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the idea of the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans he was trying to convert to Christianity. 

With so many Irish people and people of Irish descent located throughout the world, St Patrick’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated days of the entire year. From New York City and Chicago to Donegal in Ireland and Sydney, Australia, St Patrick is one typically the subject of some of the biggest parties of the year.

The Chicago River is dyed green every St Patrick’s Day as part of the celebrations.

Irish Tartans & Kilts

As it’s St Patrick’s Day, we thought we would also take a look at Irish tartans and Irish kilts. The most famous Irish kilt is known as the Saffron Kilt, which is known for its distinctive solid block of yellow/mustard colour. The solid block of colour is the accepted reason why solid colour kilts are generally thought of as Irish kilts. Solid kilts were, and indeed are, worn in Scotland, however, they were never as popular as tartan kilts and this is why they are more commonly recognised as Irish.

With that being said, there is still a wide range of Irish tartans available to choose from for your kilt. From the Irish National tartan pictured above to the range of Irish County tartans designed by House of Edgar in 1996, there’s an Irish tartan to suit you. Although a relatively recent creation, the Irish County tartans are a fantastic way to celebrate your Irish tartan. With tartans for every County in Ireland, from Antrim in Northern Ireland to Wicklow in the Republic of Ireland, the Irish County tartans are a unique way to pay tribute to your family’s ancestral home.

If you have any queries or would like more information on any of the Irish tartans mentioned, you can contact us at info@macgregorandmacduff.co.uk 

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