Who Was St. Patrick Anyway?

BU profs (and Bostonians) on Ireland’s patron saint

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On this side of the pond, there’s undoubtedly a “traditional” way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — the rites typically involve a parade, green clothing, and copious amounts of ale-induced merrymaking. The Guinness corporation is even leading a charge to make it a national holiday in the United States, as it is in Ireland.

As the city of Boston — host of the nation’s first St. Patrick’s Day Parade, in 1737 — decks itself in green for another year’s celebration, BU Today hit the streets to find out just how much people know about Ireland’s patron saint. Sally Sommers Smith, a College of General Studies associate professor of natural science, and Tony Barrand, a College of Arts & Sciences anthropology professor, also shed some light on St. Patrick, from his arrival in Ireland as a slave to his status as a celebrated missionary who converted the Emerald Isle to Christianity.

This story originally ran March 17, 2008.

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Who Was St. Patrick Anyway?

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