In what is the first global St Patrick’s Day doodle actually designed by an Irish person, Google’s interactive doodle to celebrate Ireland’s national holiday will have plenty of Irish eyes smiling.
Today’s doodle consists of six dancing and fiddling shamrocks equipped with fiddles, banjos and bodhráns. In the centrespace normally reserved for the two Os of Google, two little shamrocks perform Irish dancing while the shamrock at the end claps time.
What is particularly special about this particular doodle is the fact that it was deisgned by an Irish artist called Eamonn O’Neill, an Arklow-based writer and illustrator.
17 March is a national, religious and cultural holiday in Ireland and it celebrates Ireland’s patron saint, St Patrick.
St Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. At the age of 16 he was kidnapped from Roman Britain by Irish raiders and spent six years as a slave.
On his return he trained for the priesthood and returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary.
The tradition of the shamrock extends to a myth whereby St Patrick used the three-leafed plant as a way of illustrating three persons in one God and as a result the shamrock is the symbol of St Patrick’s Day.
The absense of snakes in Ireland also gave rise to the legend that St Patrick chased them into the sea.
Across the world today St Patrick’s Day will be celebrated not only in Ireland by the Irish but by diaspora in the US, the UK, Australia, Japan, and basically anywhere else anyone fancies joining in the craic.