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Mar 17, 2017

So who was St Patrick?

St Patrick was a real man who was born in around 385 AD.

He may have been named Maewyn Succat, and changed to Patrick when he later became a bishop. He may be thought of as Irish now, but his exact birthplace is unknown.

It was most likely in England, Wales or Scotland. In his teens, he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland, where he was put to work as a herdsman.

After six years, he managed to escape and possibly fled back to his home. He became a Christian priest before returning to Ireland as a missionary in the mid fifth century.

He spent the next 30 years establishing schools, churches, and monasteries across the country.

Patrick was later appointed as successor to St Palladius, the first bishop of Ireland. He is said to have died on March 17 in the year 461.

The flag of St Patrick is a red saltire on a white background. The association with Ireland's patron saint dates back to the 1780s, when the Order of St Patrick adopted it as an emblem.