To be sure, to be sure

St Patrick’s Day. Classic aged care celebration day.

So what’s it all about?

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales about AD 385.

Far from being a saint, until he was 16, he considered himself a pagan. At that age, he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village. During his captivity, he became closer to God.

He escaped from slavery after six years and went to Gaul where he studied in the monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre for a period of twelve years. During his training he became aware that his calling was to convert the pagans to Christianity.

His wishes were to return to Ireland, to convert the native pagans to Christianity. But his superiors instead appointed St. Palladius. But two years later, Palladius transferred to Scotland. Patrick, having adopted that Christian name earlier, was then appointed as second bishop to Ireland. He almost didn’t get the job of bishop because he lacked the required scholarship.

Patrick was quite successful at winning converts. And this fact upset the Celtic Druids. Patrick was arrested several times, but escaped each time. He traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion of the Irish country to Christianity.

His mission in Ireland lasted for thirty years. After that time, Patrick retired to County Down. He died on March 17 in AD 461. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick’s Day ever since.

The shamrock is used as a traditional icon because it is said that  Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity.

Follow the link for a craft idea:

You could also encourage residents to try their hand at writing limericks:

Films could include Finians Rainbow, Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance or anything Daniel O’Donnel.

Get residents and staff wearing green – I once had green hairspray which I used to make staff and some game resident’s hair green. Fun!

Food could include Irish oat pancakes (see below for a recipe) or anything green. I added green cordial to soda water and then a spoonful of icecream for lime soda spiders, which went down well.

Go to Never Too Old To Learn (yellow book) for an Irish quiz or you could find photos of famous Irish people (think Peter O’Toole,  Maureen O’Hara, George Bernard Shaw, Pierce Brosnan etc) and use them in a discussion group.  See the link for ideas:


Oatmeal Pancakes

Pancakes made from oatmeal? Yes, if you’re Irish, and why not. These are delicious Remember that you should not overmix pancakes – lumps don’t matter.

  • 1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled


In large bowl, mix together oatmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt.

In separate bowl, combine sugar, milk and butter. When well mixed, add to dry ingredinets. Stir lightly, just to combine.

Heat oiled griddle or frying pan until very hot. You can test its heat by sprinkling a few drops of water in pan. If drops sizzle, pan is ready.

Pour batter onto griddle using a small measuring cup. When bubbles appear on the top of the batter, lift cake to see if it is brown on bottom. When brown, flip over and cook on second side.

Serve imediately.

Yield: about 14 – 16 4 inch cakes.

this recipe from

Contributor: mary merz


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