St Patrick’s Day was once drink free

St Patrick in Cornwall Road near London’s Waterloo Station

Within living memory Dublin was quiet on St Patrick’s Day with all pubs closed. It was a little like Christmas Day with Mass in the morning before noon followed by family lunch and a snooze.

Today 17 March is a break in Lent not only in Ireland. Even Edinburgh, which has St Andrew, is marking the day.

St Patrick was born about 400 and a century before St David.

In Wales St David’s relics are far from the capital and St David’s Day starts with a walk from St Non’s Chapel on the coast to St David’s Cathedral in St Davids.

So in Ireland there is a morning walk from Saul, where Patrick died in 461, to the Church of Ireland Down Cathedral where a wreath of flowers is placed on St Patrick’s outdoor tomb.

The cross community celebrations in Downpatrick include a free Irish stew lunch.

The statue includes one of the snakes allegedly driven from Ireland by St Patrick

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