Snakelessness in Ireland

Glencar Waterfall; Co. Leitrim, Ireland
Glencar Waterfall; Co. Leitrim, Ireland

It’s St. Patrick’s Day (AND it’s also the feast day of the original Cat Lady), so many are celebrating all over the world!

One side of my family’s heritage is Irish and Welsh, so Saint Patrick’s Day is always quite amusing to me.  People all over the world are celebrating a culture they know very little about.  We call it “Everyone-Wants-To-Be-Irish-Day.”

The image below pretty much sums up the silliness of many myths and legends that have been created around this famous day of celebration around the world. So in honor of the Irish, I wanted to share some insight into where this one came from.

MYTH: Saint Patrick banished all of the snakes from Ireland.

Legend states that Saint Patrick, the Christian missionary, rid the slithering scaly reptiles from Ireland’s icy shores by chasing the snakes into the sea after they began attacking him during a 40-day fast that he had on the top of a hill.  This was just around the time that he had semi-successfully converted the Irish people from paganism to Christianity during the fifth century A.D.

saint-patrick-snakes-ireland_happy st patty day_irish blessings

TRUTH:   No, he really didn’t drive the snakes out of Ireland.  At all. 

Yes, it’s true that snakes do not inhabit the island of Ireland today, but they never did.  Ireland is surrounded by freezing ocean waters. These icy waters are way too cold to allow snakes to migrate from Great Britain or anywhere else around the Irish island.  And as it turns out, we can blame the Ice Age, not St. Patrick for the lack of snakes on the breathtaking green isle.

On the cliffs of Sliabh Liag Ireland
On the cliffs of Sliabh Liag — in Ireland.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig (Saint Patrick’s Day) is a religious holiday in Ireland, that happens each year on March 17th.  They celebrate the patron saint of Ireland – Patrick, who lived in the beginning of the 5th century AD.  Saint Patrick is the most recognized Irish saint, however, the real St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish!

Lá Fhéile Pádraig began as a Catholic holiday and became an official feast day in the early 17th century.  But today Lá Fhéile Pádraig represents a week-long (and sometimes longer) celebration of Irish language, music, culture and art.

If you have the opportunity to visit Ireland, go.  But do so with respect in your heart for the Irish, for these people are unlike no other.  Be prepared to meet the kindest, most loving and generous people you’ve ever known.  Prepare to see breathtaking scenery, experience delicious food, and enjoy sincere, open-hearted hospitality.  Oh, and prepare to appreciate the best beer in the world.   Ireland, you have my heart.

♣ An Old Irish Blessing:

Go raibh an bóthar ardú suas chun bualadh leat.
Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl.
Go dtaitní an ghrian go bog bláth ar do chlár éadain,
agus bháisteach ag titim bog ar do ghoirt.
Agus go gcasfar le chéile sinn arís,
Bealtaine Dia a shealbhú tú ar an dtearmann a lámh.

May you have a wonderful life filled with the blessings of ♣IRISH♣ luck!

Brú na Bóinne
Brú na Bóinne, Ireland



You can learn more about the history of St. Patrick Day here and here.

And if you are a cat lover, check out St. Gertrude’s patronage of cats. Today is also her day! She and her nuns kept cats to control the rodent population.


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