A salute to the Saint and other Patricks

Today we salute the Saint whose day is being celebrated, along with a dozen notables who share his name– even though the patron saint of Ireland was neither Irish nor born with the name Patrick. The name, which is Pádraig in Irish, has come to be seen as the quintessential Irish appellation, and is still a top name in the Emerald Isle, while it ranks at Number 164 in the US.

St. Patrick

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A fourth century Briton who was christened Sucat, the future St. Patrick (he chose a name that means ‘nobleman’) had a dramatic early youth, including being kidnapped as a boy by pirates. St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, is actually the date of his death, not his birth. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, Nigeria and Boston, as well as of engineers and paralegals (!)--but whether he drove the snakes out of Ireland remains an open question.

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