Leigh Hatts  

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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