Hey, its Saint Patrick's Day! O'Brien...right? The patron Saint and all that. The 4-H bookmark was the closest thing I had, but nice nonetheless. I got this marker out in western Mass at a library. It was put out by UMass Amherst Extension, and the web address they give is for the Massachusetts 4-H, which is based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
According to the web site: "Massachusetts 4-H is a youth development program open to all young people ages 5 through 18 throughout the Commonwealth. It is part of a nationwide system connected to each land-grant institution of higher education and as such, has access to a wealth of resources and curriculum." Kids learn by doing, in non-formal educational settings. Sounds good.
As far as the holiday, the stories about Patrick are a little murky, but I guess that's to be expected for something that happened around 400 CE. His story also seems to have been wound up with a bishop sent to Ireland by Pope Celestine I around 430, called Palladius. This may be due to the similarity of their names, but I'm guessing. In Latin--which was a popular language for writing around then--Saint Patrick is Sanctus Patricius. Sounds close, but maybe I'm crazy.
I think Patrick, who was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave at 16, and then returned to help spread the word of Christianity to the Irish after he was ordained--he escaped and went back to his family in England--did do a lot for the cause in Ireland, but I don't think it was him that drove the snakes out. I think the sea kept the snakes from moving in.
But what the hell. Éirinn go brách! and have a Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Hats off and three cheers for The O'Brien, Conor Myles John O'Brien, Chief of the Name, 18th Baron Inchiquin and Prince of Thomond, and to his family.