St Patrick's Day Parade makes its way through Dublin's streets

5 Irish Beer and Whiskey Alternatives to Guinness and Jameson for St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day gave the faithful a reprieve from Lenten prohibitions, and on that one day they could dance and drink all they wanted.

"After I arrived in Ireland, I tended sheep every day, and I prayed frequently during the day", he wrote in his "Confessions". "They said they felt the cold and felt sorry for us".

I've also found the modern-day definition of Irishness expanding, thanks in part to plays such as Lynette Linton's brilliant #HashtagLightie - which followed the drama of a London-born, black-Irish family - and a 2016 exhibition in the London Irish centre, #IAmIrish, that curated portraits of mixed-heritage Irish people.

Every Irish school kid is told the tale of how St Patrick converted the ancient Irish pagans by explaining the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity, using a shamrock he plucked straight out of the ground.

"He said he was ready to die in Ireland in order to make his mission successful", Freeman said.

Several public buildings have been turned green to celebrate the festival, including Aras an Uachtarain, Leinster House, the Four Courts, the National Gallery of Ireland, Christchurch Cathedral and City Hall. Green dates back to the 1700s, when supporters of Irish independence from England used green as the color to represent their cause. Each year, the crew shakes an orange powder - a top secret recipe - into the Chicago River from a sifter and it stays green for about five hours.

In 1962, pollution-control workers in Chicago employed dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges in the river.

Other parades are to be held across the region including in Londonderry, Newry, Armagh and Downpatrick.

Today, the phrase is most often seen emblazoned on shirts or in Irish pubs as people join in the celebration of St. Patrick's Day on March 17.

Saint Patrick, also known as the Apostle of Ireland, is one several saints of the country.

"People go to church and they go on pilgrimages and they celebrate St. Patrick - they don't celebrate being Irish, because everybody's Irish!" he said. You can keep your corned beef.

And how about the iconic corned-beef-and-cabbage meal served up on Irish plates everywhere? However, the Hibernians have not forgotten that March 17 is also a day of celebration, for both the Irish and the "would be" Irish. When this happens, the parade is held on Saturday the 16th.