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History of St.


St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. His real name was Maewyn and it is thought
that he was Scottish or Welsh. He first came to Ireland as a slave. It was during his
time as a slave that he converted to Christianity. After many years, he escaped and
returned home to his family and trained to become a priest.

St. Patrick returned to Ireland as a bishop. He spent many years travelling the
country, building churches and converting the pagan Irish people to Christianity. His
time in Ireland lasted 30 years and he died on March 17th AD431. He is said to be
buried in Downpatrick, County Down in Ireland.

Myths and legends

There are many myths and legends surrounding St. Patrick, but the most famous one
is that he drove all the snakes out of Ireland. It is now thought that snakes were a
symbol for paganism. Although, legend or not, the only snakes you will find in Ireland
are in the zoo!

The shamrock is the national symbol of Ireland. It is a small green plant with three
leaves. It is believed that St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Catholic Holy
Trinity - the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost - to the pagan people of Ireland.
Nowadays, people wear a shamrock on their coats on St. Patricks Day.

The Blarney stone is a famous stone set into the wall of Blarney Castle in the village
of Blarney in County Cork. Legend says that if you kiss the stone you receive the gift
of the gab. That is, the gift to talk with eloquence and to talk sweetly and
convincingly. To kiss the stone you have to lie on your back, bend backwards and
downwards while holding onto an iron rail. The Blarney stone is set into the walls of
the castle, ninety feet in the air!

Leprechauns are Irish fairies. They resemble small old men, about two feet tall.
Legend says if you catch a leprechaun he has to give you his treasure. But be
warned, they are tricky little things and if you take your eyes of them even for a
second they will disappear, taking your treasure with them.

Facts and history

Every year on St. Patricks Day, millions of Irish people all over the world take to the
streets to watch the annual St. Patricks Day parade. There are usually different types
of floats and lots of singing and dancing. The biggest parades are in New York and
Boston. In Ireland, St. Patricks Day is a national holiday: the schools close and many
people have a day off. People dress in green, dye their hair green, wear shamrocks,
drink green beer, etc. The colour green is associated with Ireland because of the
green hills and fields of the country.

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Taken from the Lesson Share section in
The population of Ireland, also known as Eire, is 3.5 million. Its capital city is Dublin.
Its flag is green, white and gold and its currency is the Euro. Ireland lies to the west of
Great Britain; the sea separating the two countries is called the Irish sea. Ireland has
two languages: English and Gaelic. The national sports are Hurling (a game played
with a stick called a hurley and a ball called a slither) and gaelic football. The
principal river in Ireland is the Shannon.

Ireland was under British rule for centuries. In 1916, Irish rebels tried, unsuccessfully,
to overthrow the British. Finally in 1921, Ireland gained its independence from Britain
and the Republic of Ireland was formed. Britain retained control of the six counties in
the north of Ireland and Northern Ireland was formed.

The Irish potato famine occurred from 1846-1848. The potato crops failed several
years in a row, at a time when poor Irish people depended on the potato for food.
Millions of people either died of starvation or left the country to go to America. Many
more people died before they reached America because the travelling conditions
were so bad. The ships that people travelled on became known as coffin ships.

Music and culture

Ireland is known as the isle of poets and scholars and boasts many famous writers
in its history. Oscar Wilde (Picture of Dorian Grey), James Joyce (Ulysses), Bram
Stoker (Dracula) and Samuel Beckett (who won a Nobel prize for literature) to name
but a few.

Ireland is also well known for its musical traditions. Many tourists travel to Ireland
every year to hear traditional music in bars and clubs. After Riverdance first aired on
Irish TV during the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, a huge renewed interest in Irish
traditional dance and music took place.

In the early 1970s in Dublin, a group of school boys decided to form a band. Larry
Mullen, Paul Hewson (aka Bono), Adam Clayton, Dave and Dick Evans and Ivan
McCormick met for the first gathering in Larrys house and U2 were born. They have
gone on to become one of Irelands most famous exports and have sold millions of
albums worldwide. Other famous contempory Irish personalities include, Sir Bob
Geldof (previously of The Boomtown Rats) and the bands Boyzone and Westlife.
Famous actors include Pierce Brosnan (The World is not enough; The Thomas
Crown Affair), Liam Neeson (Star Wars The Phantom Menace; Gangs of New
York), Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects; Enemy of the State), Brenda Fricker(A
Time to Kill; Home Alone) and Colin Farrell (Miami Vice; The Recruit).

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Taken from the Lesson Share section in
St. Patricks Day Jeopardy - Questions
History of St. Patrick - 100
Q: St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, but was he born there?
A: No

History of St. Patrick - 200

Q: What was his real name?
A: Merlin
B: Maewyn x
C: Merwyn

History of St. Patrick - 300

Q: In what country is St. Patrick buried?
A: Ireland

History of St. Patrick - 400

Q: What small, green plant with three leaves did St. Patrick use to explain the Holy
Trinity to the Irish pagans?
A: The shamrock

Myths and legends - 100

Q: According to legend, what must a leprechaun give you?
A: His treasure

Myths and legends - 200

Q: According to legend, if you kiss the Blarney stone what will you get?
A: The gift of the gab

Myths and legends - 300

Q: What is St. Patrick said to have driven out of Ireland?
A: Snakes

Myths and legends - 400

Q: Name six things that happen on St. Patricks Day.
A: Schools are closed; people have a day off; parades; wear green; singing; dancing;
drink green beer; wear shamrocks; dye hair green.

Facts and history - 100

Q: What is the capital of Ireland?
A: Dublin

Facts and history - 200

Q: The ball used in a game of Hurling is called:
A: a slither x
B: a sliver
C: a slinger

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Taken from the Lesson Share section in
Facts and history - 300
Q: What colour is the Irish flag?
A: Green, white and gold

Facts and history - 400

Q: In 1921, Ireland gained its independence from which country?
A: Britain

Music and Culture - 100

Q: Who of the following is an Irish James Bond?
A: Sean Connery
B: Pierce Brosnan x
C: Timothy Dalton

Music and culture - 200

Q: Which Irish writer wrote Dracula?
A: Samuel Beckett
B: James Joyce
C: Bram Stoker x

Music and culture - 300

Q: Which Irish writer wrote A picture of Dorian Grey?
A: Oscar Wilde

Music and Culture - 400

Q: What is the real name of U2s Bono?
A: Paul Hewson

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Taken from the Lesson Share section in
St. Patricks Day Jeopardy Teachers Notes
By Graine Lavin

Skills: Reading, speaking and listening

Level: Intermediate, upper intermediate, advanced
Age group: Young adults/adults
Materials: Information cards, sticky tape or thumbtacks
Time: +/- 50 minutes

Before class:
Print the information cards on different coloured card or paper (for example, all the
information on the history of St. Patrick is on blue paper, myths and legends is on
yellow paper and so on). Cut the 13 cards up and stick them onto the walls around
the classroom, taking care to spread them out.

Step one:
Write March 17th on the blackboard and elicit from the class which national holiday is
celebrated on this day. Ask the students to tell you everything they know about St.
Patrick, what happens on the day and anything they may know about Ireland. Go
through any new vocabulary at this time.
Estimated time: 5 10 minutes

Step two:
Explain to the class that they are going to play St. Patricks Day Jeopardy, a quiz
on all things Irish. Tell them not to worry because they will have a chance to study for
the quiz first. Put students into teams of 4, 6 or 8, depending on how many students
there are in your class and how many teams you want competing. On the blackboard
write the categories and the colour code for each. Direct the students attention to the
coloured cards on the walls and explain that the cards contain all the information they
need to answer the quiz questions. Give the teams a few minutes to decide which
members will study which categories. Tell them they have 10 minutes to read and
retain as much information as possible. Encourage them to spend the first few
minutes studying their own category but also move around and read the others as
Estimated time: 5 minutes

Step three:
While the students are moving around reading the information, draw the Jeopardy
Quiz table on the blackboard. When finished, move around and explain any new
vocabulary as needed.

History of Myths and legends Facts and history Music and culture
100 100 100 100
200 200 200 200
300 300 300 300
400 400 400 400
Estimated time: 10 minutes

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Step four:
Have the students sit in their teams. Remove the information cards from the walls.
Explain the rules of the quiz:

Each category has 4 questions, starting with easy questions for 100 and building up
to more difficult questions for 400. In turn each group chooses a category and a
question. They are allowed to confer but the first answer shouted out is the answer
that is taken. If they get the question correct they win the money but if they get it
wrong they lose the money. The winners at the end are the group with the highest

Estimated time: Until end of game/class

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Taken from the Lesson Share section in