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Celebrating St Patrick’s Day 2021

Today’s celebration of St Patrick as Ireland’s national patron saint will, as it was last year, be different from normal.  The Church of Ireland celebrates St Patrick’s Day in several ways, alongside other Churches and people living in the communities which it serves across the island.

The sites of Slemish, Armagh, Saul and Downpatrick are particularly prominent in the story of St Patrick.  Our National Cathedral, in Dublin, is also named in his memory.

Click below for a photo gallery of scenes around Slemish:

Slemish, viewed from the south.
Slemish, viewed from the south.

Slemish, where Patrick is believed to have tended flocks during his time of slavery, is located outside Ballymena, in the Diocese of Connor.  He built his first church in Ireland at Saul, near Downpatrick – a site marked by a small, beautiful Church of Ireland parish church today.

Saul Church, the cradle of Irish Christianity.
Saul Church, the cradle of Irish Christianity.

Patrick was laid to rest nearby in Downpatrick, in the grounds of Down Cathedral.  A wreath is placed on the grave each year.

Down Cathedral, Downpatrick.
Down Cathedral, Downpatrick.

While it is not currently possible for congregations to meet in church buildings, a number of videos have been produced to celebrate St Patrick’s Day this year.

The Archbishops of Armagh have recorded a message in their respective cathedrals in Armagh and walked the route between them

The Diocese of Down and Dromore has recorded a video of a prayer pilgrimage between Saul and Downpatrick, which will be broadcast at 10.00am here and followed by an online service – on the theme of ‘When Faith Gets Shaken’ – at 12.00noon (on the same channel).  A preview is available below.

A Service of Choral Evensong, from St Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin, led by Dean William Morton, will be broadcast at 7.00pm this evening on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, which is available online here.

Churchyard and south transept, St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
Churchyard and south transept, St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, has hosted a St Patrick’s themed concert which was live streamed on Saturday (13th March).  Presented by New Irish Arts, it featured music and stories to celebrate Ireland’s patron saint, with the New Irish Choir & Orchestra, directed by Jonathan Rea.  The concert, which is suitable for the whole family, also features additional additional outdoor filming.  It is available to watch until Monday, 22nd March. Tune in here.

In an interview recorded for St Patrick’s Day 2019, Bishop Alan Harper described the life and times of Patrick.  You can listen to it again at this link.

And in some ways, Patrick is remembered every day in the life of the Church.  A large number of our parish churches carry his name and depict his life in their stained glass, curated online on our Gloine website, thanks to years of research undertaken by Dr David Lawrence.

We hope that you enjoy this collection of stories – visual and in sound – to mark this St Patrick’s Day, and we look forward to when we can return to worship Jesus in our buildings across the island to which he brought the Gospel.

Window celebrating the life of St Patrick, Down Cathedral.
Window celebrating the life of St Patrick, Down Cathedral.

Church of Ireland Press Office

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