1. One of the longest-running and largest St Patrick’s Day parades in North America occurs each year in Montreal,whose city flag includes a shamrock in its lower-right quadrant.

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2. The real St. Patrick wasn’t named Patrick. His birth name was Maewyn Succat, but Ireland’s patron saint changed his name to Patricius after becoming a priest.

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3. Beer used to be banned on St. Patrick’s Day. You read that correctly. St. Patrick’s Day was traditionally a dry observance, which meant pubs were closed for the day. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is arguably one of the largest drinking holidays, with more than 13 million pints of Guinness consumed.

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4. There are more Irish in the USA than Ireland. Well, sort of. An estimated 34 million Americans have Irish ancestry. Some are pure-blood Irish, meaning they or their parents came from Ireland, but many more have mixed ancestry today. By contrast, there are 4.2 million people living in Ireland.

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5. If you happen to come across a leprechaun, be sure to hold on to him. According to Irish legends, people lucky enough to capture a leprechaun can barter his freedom for three wishes.

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A North Van local with a fetish for cheap wine and words. As editor, his job is to make sure that everything posted is useful, entertaining or awesome.

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