Edinburgh is not short of Irish themed bars or genuine Irish people and our Gaelic relatives from over the Irish Sea definitely know how to celebrate St Patrick’s Day! You can be sure the city will be a field of green on Thursday night, as people head out to celebrate the Irish Saint on St Patrick’s Day in Edinburgh. We thought we’d take a wee look into the history of St Patrick and see what the craic is!
Who was St. Patrick?
Born near the end of the fourth century, Patrick was born into a wealthy family in Britain. He was kidnapped by Irish raiders when he was 16 and taken over to Ireland, where he spent 6 years as a prisoner in Country Mayo. Whilst held captive he worked as a Shepherd, away from people and so became increasingly lonely and isolated. He turned to religion for solace and became a devout Christian, some believe this is when he began to dream of converting the Irish to Christianity. Patrick was a prisoner for more than 6 years before he escaped, walking nearly 200 miles from County Mayo to the Irish coast. In his surviving writings Patrick claims God spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland.
After a successful escape to Britain, an Angel visited Patrick in his dreams and told him to return to Ireland as a missionary, so he began a 15 year long study of religion eventually being ordained as a priest. After he was ordained, Patrick was sent back to Ireland to minister Christians living there and to convert the Irish – he did not introduce Christianity to Ireland which some believe. Instead of forcing out Irish traditions and rituals, Patrick began to incorporate them into his teachings. He created what we know as the Celtic cross, placing a sun which is a powerful Irish symbol, on top of a cross, so that the symbol would be more familiar to the Irish. The rich Irish tradition of myth, legend and storytelling plays a huge part in the exaggeration of Patrick’s life.
History of St Patrick’s Day
The Irish have celebrated St Patrick’s Day for over 1,000 years on the 17th March – the day on which St Patrick is thought to have died around 460 AD. Traditionally it’s a “day off from Lent” for Irish Christian families, where families would dance, drink and feast on Irish bacon and cabbage. The first St Patrick’s Day Parade was held in the US in 1762 when Irish soldiers serving in the British military marched through New York, playing Irish music and reconnecting the Irish with their roots whilst so far from home. Since that date, the popularity of St Patrick’s Day celebrations has risen dramatically – especially in the USA. So whilst St Patrick’s Day is traditionally a religious holiday spent with family and at church, now the pubs are opened and filled with people dressed in green, painted with Shamrocks and downing Guinness like it’s going out of fashion!
St Patrick’s Day In Edinburgh
There are a whole host of Irish themed celebrations on in Edinburgh, both on the day and either side. Head down the Cowgate for their Festival from the 16th-20th March for live music, comedy and tons of Guinness. You’ll find Jedward there on the 16th, The Rubberbandits on the 17th and also an apperance by Edele Lynch from B*witched! The Balmoral Hotel will be serving up specially created Irish cocktails from the 17th-19th March but the place to be on St Patrick’s Day is the Old Town! From Biddy Mulligans, Drop Kick Murphys and The Three Sisters you’re not short of somewhere for a pint, Irish themed shots and great craic!
If you’re looking to escape all the madness of the celebrations, The Dunstane could be your haven. Check out out latest special offers and book a last minute break now