17 Saint Patrick’s Day Quotes to Celebrate the Irish

In the fifth-century, there lived a spoiled and rebellious young Roman who lived a life of luxury in Britain. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped from his family’s estate and sold into slavery, carried across the sea a short distance to Ireland. Placed in captivity for 6 years, he endured harsh weather and brutal conditions as he tended his master’s sheep on the Emerald Isle. Arriving in Ireland an Atheist, the man claimed to hear the voice of God speak to him. Shortly afterwards, he converted to Christianity and developed a deep relationship with God.

After escaping his master and fleeing back to Britain, this Christian man continued to cultivate his spiritual wisdom and deepen in faith. Though his family welcomed back their long-lost son and assumed he would go back to a life of privilege, the man heard a different call. He returned to Ireland as a missionary, keen to bring a new and better way of life to a people who had once enslaved him. For decades he worked as a teacher and writer – facing opposition, threats of violence, and criticism from jealous church officials. He stayed strong in his mission, and eventually became a prominent religious figure. His perseverance and strength was (and is) a source of inspiration to many, and after his death he was canonized.

The name of this man? Saint Patrick.

Shadows falling across a large pile of smooth pebbles

“I pray to God to give me perseverance and to deign that I be a faithful witness to Him to the end of my life for my God.” – Saint Patrick

Myths and legends have always circulated around the lives and works of Saints, and Saint Patrick is no different. Centuries after his death, many started to claim that he used the shamrock, a three-leafed green plant, as a teaching tool to explain the Holy Trinity to Pagans. A fine and beautiful story, the association between Saint Patrick and the shamrock took root, and the plant became a symbol for Saint Patrick and for Ireland. Today, it is commonly used in the religious celebration that is held to mark his death on March 17th: Saint Patrick’s Day.

Saint Patrick’s Day has been held since the early 17th century to commemorate the arrival of Christianity to Ireland. Now, however, it is much more widely recognized as a celebration of Irish culture and heritage. Within the last century, the thousands of Irish immigrants and expatriates who were looking to reaffirm their roots began to invest their energies into celebrating the holiday. Their efforts have made the holiday a worldwide celebration, from Canada to Brazil and Argentina, the United States, Australia, and of course, Ireland. Stereotypes of the Irish have, of course, crept into the celebration of “St Paddy’s Day.” Not all Irish people love to drink, but on the whole they are indeed a friendly and charismatic bunch – even if they do occasionally like to complain, and often talk about the weather.

A Guinness can laying in a puddle on a cobblestone street

“Anyone acquainted with Ireland knows that the morning of St. Patrick’s Day consists of the night of the seventeenth of March flavored strongly with the morning of the eighteenth,” – Anonymous

One thing that’s for sure: celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day is fun! However you’re celebrating – joining a local parade, drinking a green beer, digging out your leprechaun outfit, or scattering Shramrock confetti wherever you go – March 17th is also a great excuse to learn more about the culture and heritage of one of the most vibrant countries on earth. So, whether your family has Irish heritage, you’ve visited the Emerald Isle, or you’d just like to get into the spirit of Saint Patrick’s Day, we’re here to help! We’ve put together a list of quotes that celebrate Ireland and the unique spirit of the Irish people. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

A stream flowing through a lush, green field on a cloudy day in Ireland

“The heart of an Irishman is nothing but his imagination.” – George Bernard Shaw

“If it was raining soup, the Irish would go out with forks.” – Brendan Behan

“You cannot conquer Ireland. You cannot extinguish the Irish passion for freedom. If our deed has not been sufficient to win freedom, then our children will win by a better deed.” – Patrick Henry Pearse

Vibrant green clovers against a dark gray stone background

“Every St. Patrick’s Day every Irishman goes out to find another Irishman to make a speech to.” – Shane Leslie

“Irish history stretches back into the dark days of the Celts, yet there is a light, laughter and a sense of laissez-faire in the Irish men and women of today.” – Richard Benson

“The list of Irish saints is passing counting; but in it all no other figure is so human, friendly, and lovable as St. Patrick.” – Stephen Gwynn

Sunrise on an Irish coastline with large rocks in the foreground

“St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time – a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.” – Adrienne Cook

“Oh, Paddy, dear, an’ did ye hear the news that’s goin’ round? The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground! No more St. Patrick’s Day we’ll keep, his colour can’t be seen, For there’s a cruel law agin’ the Wearin’ o’ the green.” – Anonymous

A green plate stacked with clover-shaped cookies with green icing and sprinkles

“May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks. May your heart be as light as a song. May each day bring you bright, happy hours. That stay with you all the year long.” – Irish Blessing

“That’s what the holidays are for – for one person to tell the stories and another to dispute them. Isn’t that the Irish way?” – Lara Flynn Boyle

“Grant me a sense of humor, Lord, the saving grace to see a joke, to win some happiness from life, and pass it on to other folks.”

– Irish Prayer

The grand, vaulted, two-story library at Trinity College in Dublin

“Ireland is a land of poets and legends, of dreamers and rebels.” – Nora Roberts

“May St. Patrick guard you wherever you go, and guide you in whatever you do and may his loving protection be a blessing to you always.” – Irish Blessing

“If you hold a four-leaf shamrock in your left hand at dawn on St. Patrick’s Day you get what you want very much but haven’t wished for.” – Patricia Lynch

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