St Patrick’s Day 2008

An Post commemorates St Patrick's Day 2008 with the issue of a new postage stamp on 11 February.

Although the Irish have celebrated St Patrick's Day as a religious feast for hundreds of years, celebrating the day as a national holiday is little more than 100 years old.

In the mid seventeenth century, the feast of St Patrick was extended for use in the Universal Church following the influence of Luke Wadding OFM. This year's religious celebrations were moved to 15 March, due to 17 March occurring in Holy Week, which takes priority over other feasts. This last occurred in 1940, when the feast day was celebrated on 3 April.

Popular legend suggests that St Patrick banished all the snakes from Ireland and the image used in this year's stamp shows St Patrick blessing a crowd of people while standing on a number of snakes.

The image is reproduced courtesy of the National Library of Ireland and is from the Brocas Collection. The engraving is by a member of the Brocas family after an earlier engraving by Leonard Gaultier, based on a work by Thomas Messingham.

Denominated at 78c, this allows postage paid from Ireland to anywhere in the world. Also available for this issue is a First Day Cover.

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