Saint Patrick - Ireland's Patron Saint Rendered in Stained Glass

Shades of Patrick

As the world celebrates Ireland’s patron saint with parades, ceili dances, Irish gifts and raised glasses, it is a grand time to take a closer look at the name Patrick. By now, word has reached most of the world that the Irish call him Paddy, not Patty. But not everyone knows why. The answer is that in the Irish language, Patrick is Padraig or Padraic. Ironically, in the Irish version the D is silent and the name is pronounced ‘pah-rig’ or ‘pah-rik’.

Inspired by Saint Patrick

The name, like the saint himself, actually has roots outside of Ireland. Patrick comes from the Latin Patricius. St. Paddy was Roman British, so that might be what his parents called him. The name means father or nobleman. After Patrick dealt with the snakes, converted Ireland to Christianity, and eventually became one of our patron saints, his name became enormously popular among Irish people in Ireland and around the world.

Patrick was the 19th most popular name given to baby boys in Ireland in 2023. Paidi was 34th, Paddy 96th, and Padraig is at 215. That’s a lot of Patricks, but the name was even more popular decades ago. Patrick spent the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s and most of the ‘90s in the top ten, and has remained in the top 25 since.

Beloved Patricks

St. Patrick has to rank as Ireland’s best loved Patrick, but we have a few others who have done us proud. How many do you know?

  • Padraig Pearse

    Pádraig Pearse

    He played a crucial role in Ireland’s fight for freedom from Britain. Like many who fought for Irish independence, he was also a poet. No doubt he honed his leadership skills during his time teaching school. Pearse was executed for his leading role in the 1916 Uprising, but his legacy is woven into Ireland’s culture and identity.
  • Patrick Kavanagh

    Joseph Mischyshyn / Dublin – Grand Canal – Poet Patrick Kavanagh / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Paddy Kavanagh was one of Ireland’s most celebrated poets. Born in 1904 to a shoemaker in rural County Monaghan, he left school at 12. Hardly a likely start for a writer, but he devoted himself to studying literature. He once walked 50 miles to Dublin to meet his literary mentor George Russell. His works include the poem The Great Hunger and the novel Tarry Flynn.
  • Padraig Harrington

    Padraig Harrington – Golfer Padraig Harrington / CC BY-SA 2.0

    This sporting superstar from Dublin has shown the world that not only does Ireland have stunning golf courses, we can also produce world-class golfers. This year, he joins those honored by the World Golf Hall of Fame, a fitting tribute to a man who has such a string of wins to his name.
  • Patrick Henry

    Patrick Henry

    Who may have carried an Irish name and an Irish passion for freedom, but he lived and died in Virginia. As one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, he gave us the stirring phrase “Give me liberty or give me death.”
Irish Gifts Personalized with Your Name

All of these Patricks have given the world some classic Irish gifts with their achievements in politics, the arts and sports. In March as we don our green and celebrate with shamrocks, be sure to raise a glass to all the Patricks and Padraigs and Paddys in your life who are named for Ireland’s patron saint.