St. Patrick's Day Facts: Shamrocks, Snakes, and a Saint
New for 2010: St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Shortage
But few St. Patrick's Day revelers have a clue about St. Patrick, the man, according to the author of St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography.
"The modern celebration of St. Patrick's Day really has almost nothing to do with the real man," said classics professor Philip Freeman of Luther College in Iowa.
The real St. Patrick wasn't even Irish.
He was born in Britain around A.D. 390 to an aristocratic Christian family with a townhouse, a country villa, and plenty of slaves.
What's more, Patrick professed no interest in Christianity as a young boy, Freeman noted.
At 16, Patrick's world turned.
He was kidnapped and sent overseas to tend sheep as a slave in the chilly, mountainous countryside of Ireland for