Long before the parades and parties, the green beer and great craic, Patrick was a saint. Generations ago, Ireland’s patron saint was celebrated in a far less worldly way. St. Patrick’s Day was a day to attend mass and pray. While the world celebrates Ireland and the Irish on Paddy’s Day now, for some his legacy also runs deeper and provides spiritual solace as well as a connection to Ireland’s culture and one of the best Irish gifts this nation has given the world.
Patrick was born of Roman parents in Scotland, and his father and grandfather were both clergymen. Although he grew up in a devout environment, what really tested and nurtured his faith was his experience as a slave. He was captured as a teenager and brought to Ireland in bondage, where he spent several years enslaved. The Irish were not yet Christians, but Patrick clung to his faith. In fact, he apparently became far more devout while enslaved in Ireland. His writings say that he prayed up to a hundred times a day.
A vision came to Patrick showing him how to escape by sea and return home, and the plan worked, although it took him a long time to find his way back to his village in Scotland. Much later, Patrick had a second vision in which he returned to Ireland and introduced Christianity. As before, he faithfully followed the vision. His followers grew, and many also began to preach and convert as well. The most famous image of St. Patrick comes from this period, when he held a large gathering at Slane and used the three leaves of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity (God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit) to the people.
The spiritual legacy of Ireland’s patron saint has not been entirely forgotten amid the festive fun. For many, part of their Irish heritage is their faith – and that is true of more than one faith. If you are looking for Irish gifts for someone who feels the inspiration of St. Patrick is an important part of their spirituality, you’ll find an abundant selection of Irish and Celtic crosses to choose from, including those featuring the image of St. Patrick himself with shamrocks and swirls.
Irish Crystal holy water fonts are another option for Irish gifts for the very devout. Many homes in cities and villages around Ireland feature a small holy water font just inside the front door, and those who grew up Catholic in Ireland are likely to remember family members blessing themselves when they left the house.
The Irish have always been celebrated for having a way with words, and this is proven by the many lyrical Irish blessings, which are available on everything from wall hangings to jewelry to kitchen cutting boards. Really, there is a wide range of religious Irish gifts available that are perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or any day, so you are sure to find something that is perfect for all of the most devout people in your life.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day from everyone at IrishShop.com!