Saint Pádraig, the patron saint of Ireland, was from a Roman-era British family, born in 385 AD. His father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest. At sixteen, Patrick was kidnapped and shipped as a slave to Ireland. In a dream, he recounts, God instructed him to escape and head for the coast where a boat would be waiting for him. He did as he was instructed and returned to Britain where he joined the seminary, preparing to take holy orders for the priesthood.
In 432, now a bishop, Patrick returned to Ireland, answering a calling to convert the Irish to Christianity. Irish folklore tells of Saint Patrick driving Ireland’s snakes into the sea and of using a three-leafed clover to explain the concept of the Trinity. After thirty years of evangelizing, Saint Patrick died in Ireland on 17 March 461. He is venerated by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox churches.
In the 17th century, the Roman Catholic church dedicated 17 March as a feast day in honor of Patrick. It is also celebrated with parades and parties—in Ireland and throughout the Irish diaspora.
The cufflinks, shown above, are made of Connemara marble from the west coast of Ireland. Though fashioned in the thirties, the stone has been in the Irish ground for millennia—including the time when Saint Patrick trod those fields.