Here’s a brief history of St.Patrick himself:
The person who was to become St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Roman Britain about AD 385. His given name was Maewyn, and he almost didn't get the job of bishop of Ireland because he lacked the required scholarship.
Far from being a saint, until he was 16, he considered himself a pagan. At that age, he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village. During his captivity, he became closer to God.
He escaped from slavery after six years and went to Gaul where he studied in the monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre for a period of twelve years. During his training he became aware that his calling was to convert the pagans to Christianity.
He wished to return to Ireland and to convert the native pagans to Christianity, but his superiors instead appointed St. Palladius. However, two years later Palladius transferred to Scotland. Patrick, having adopted that Christian name earlier, was then appointed as second bishop to Ireland.
Patrick was quite successful at winning converts which upset the Celtic Druids. Patrick was arrested several times, but escaped each time. He traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion of the Irish country to Christianity.
His mission in Ireland lasted for thirty years. After that time, Patrick retired to County Down. He died on March 17 in AD 461. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick's Day ever since.
• The largest Paddy’s day parade in the world takes place in New York with up and around 2million spectators
• Montreal has the longest continually running St. Patrick's Day parade, celebrating its 183rd consecutive parade in 2007.
• The smallest notable parade in the world takes place in in Hot Springs, Arkansas, held on historic Bridge Street which became famous in the 1940s when Ripley’s Believe It or Not designated it “The Shortest Street in the World
[Edited 2007-03-17 00:57:22]