Unpacking The Myths And Legends Of St Patricks Day

St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th of March is a massive celebration in Ireland but with 30 000+ Irish men and women living South Africa it’s also very big here. And while we ‘Saffers’ pride ourselves on our green and gold, it’s the one day we’re not wearing it in support of the ‘Bokke’ but rather to avoid having our bottoms pinched by a leprechaun.

As amusing as it sounds this famous holiday is shroud in mystique and legend and if there is one to enjoy it it’s with a glass of Irish whiskey. To better understand what St. Patricks Day is all about, the team at Pogues Irish Whiskey reveal a few interesting facts.

Who is St. Patrick and why do we celebrate on 17 March?

St. Patrick isn’t Irish at all, in fact he was born in Great Britain in 386. At the age of 16 he was kidnapped by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. After six years working as a slave he eventually escaped to France in 408, where he was ordained as a bishop in 432. He was then sent by Pope Celestine to Ireland to support Christians there and spread the religion. 17 March is the day St. Patrick died.

What does St. Patrick have to do with whiskey?

As the legend goes St. Patrick enjoyed a tipple or two of whiskey while out on missionary work. On one such day, he stopped at an inn for a drink but after realising he didn’t have enough money on him to pay he decided to tell the innkeeper there was a devil in the cellar feeding on dishonesty. The innkeeper took Patrick’s words to heart and let the spirits flow from then on. The next time St. Patrick visited the inn, he found the innkeeper filling each drink to the brim. He banished the cellar devil and proclaimed that everyone should have a drink of whiskey on his feast day.


Naughty, mythical creatures typically described as short, red-haired faeries dressed entirely in green suits with often a clover accent. Leprechauns are mischievous beings and practical jokers and according to legend if captured by a human, they often grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom. Ask any Irishman, who will warn you not to get tricked into asking for a fourth, or else you will lose them all. Get to the end of the rainbow, and there is where you will find your leprechaun protecting its pot of gold.

Why wear green?

The mythical belief is that green makes you invisible to leprechauns.

St. Patricks Day drinks worth trying

Irish Derby

  • 50ml Pogues Irish Whiskey
  • 35ml pink grapefruit juice (use 100% juice, not from concentrate)
  • 10ml honey
  • Grapefruit wedge, to garnish


Tip the whiskey, grapefruit juice and honey into a cocktail shaker. Shake to combine, then double- strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge before serving.