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Saint Patrick used the shamrock to illustrate the holy trinity

PROBABLY FALSE

Updated: 2008/03/29 AM 9:35:08   Comment

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The story was first recorded 1200 years after his death.

"There is no historical evidence that St Patrick had any connection with shamrock; nothing can be traced in historical documents to confirm the legend that he preached to the Irish people using a trefoil (three leaflets on one stalk) as a parable for the Holy Trinity (Three Persons in One God)."[1]

Historians say the first written references to "shamrocks" as part of St. Patrick's Day celebrations don't appear until the early 18th century, 1200 years after his death.[2][3][4][5]

"The story was first recorded in 1726 in a book about the wild flowers of Ireland written by an English dissenting (protestant) cleric, Dr Caleb Threlkeld, who recorded that:

' This Plant [white clover] is worn by the People in their Hats upon the 17. Day of March yearly (which is called St. Patrick's Day.) it being a Current Tradition, that by this Three Leafed Grass, he emblematically set forth to them the Mystery of the Holy Trinity.'"[1]

Sources:

  1. http://www.tippitiwitchet.co.uk/shamrock.html
  2. St. Patrick Revealed: The man behind the green beer and the myth.  SLATE 

  3. The truth behind the shamrock  BBC
  4. Myths of St. Patrick's Day  History News Network  By Edward T. O’Donnell 3-11-02

  5. Ireland's 'young clover' a St. Patrick's Day legend  USA Today



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