Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, below are some random facts about Ireland and its history:

  • St. Patrick was not Irish.  He was a native of Britain during late Roman times.  He was captured and enslaved as a teenager.  He later escaped and returned to become Ireland's patron saint.
  • In the 12th Century, the Pope issued the Laudabiliter authorizing the Angevin King Henry II to invade Ireland for "corrigendis moribus et virtutibus iuserendis" (straightening morals and imposing virtue).  The Pope who issued the Laudabiliter, Adrian IV, was the only English Pope (thus far).
  • The title of the Coen brothers' film, No Country for Old Men, is borrowed from the first line of William Butler Yeats' poem, Sailing to Byzantium.  W.B. Yeats is generally acclaimed as Ireland's greatest modern poet.  His brother, Jack, is generally regarded as Ireland's most important painter.
  • According to Tain Bo Cualinge (the "Cattle Raid of Cooley"), the men of Ulster are incapacitated for several days each year by labor pains.  The Tain Bo Cualinge dates from the 7th Century and tells the tale of a cattle raid by Queen Medb of Connacht that is opposed by the hero of Ulster, Cú Culainn.   W.B. Yeats features Cú Culainn in several of his works, including Cuchulain's Fight With the Sea.
  • The Irish revolutionary who later became Taoiseach (prime minister) and president of Ireland, Eamon De Valera, was born in New York.
  • California state law requires that the grass on the state flag be Irish Green.  Cal. Gov. Code § 429.

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St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin


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