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St. Patrick's Day 2020

St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and 17th March, better known as St Patrick's Day, is Ireland's national holiday.

History of St Patrick

Captured by raiders as a 16-year-old in northern Britain, Patrick was taken across the Irish Sea by pirates. He spent six years in captivity here, during which time he worked as a shepherd. Escaping from six years of bondage after receiving a spiritual vision, Patrick returned to Ireland decades later, to share his Christian faith with Irish pagans, and working to abolish slavery and human sacrifice in the process.

Patrick is also famed for using the three-leaf shamrock to share information about the Trinity, and the shamrock is now a well-known symbol of Ireland, worn on 17th March, St Patrick's Day. Legend also has it that St Patrick banished snakes from the island of Ireland.

Modern St Patrick's Day

St Patrick's Day attracts levels of publicity and media attention unmatched by the national day of any other country. It provides a unique opportunity to increase awareness of Ireland and our history, culture and values across our network Missions abroad, and to celebrate our bonds with the global Irish family, our diaspora of over 70 million.

It is a great time for Ireland to engage with and thank long-standing partners, friends and voluntary and community organisations around the world for their ongoing support and their contributions to this country and to the Irish overseas.

Scott Base, Antarctica: The most southerly site to go green on St Patrick's Day

This year, the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Attorney General and Ministers will undertake a programme of visits in Europe and the United States over the St Patrick's Day period. These visits are an important opportunity to convey key messages to Ireland's partners and communities overseas, and to maximise the promotion of Ireland's trade, investment, economic and tourism interests. By renewing relationships with the Irish overseas, enabling enhanced levels of political, commercial and media engagement in the markets involved, generating opportunities for Irish business, and facilitating discussions on a range of important bilateral issues, these visits provide an extremely valuable means of advancing Ireland's strategic interests.

Once again this year, hundreds of sites across the world will be illuminated in green for St Patrick's Day. This is the eleventh year that Tourism Ireland's Global Greening campaign, supported by our Embassy network, will make the 17th March a truly global celebration. Read more about the famous landmarks going green in 2020 here.

St Patrick's Day 2020: A Message from President Michael D. Higgins