(c. 389-c. 461) the national saint of Ireland. He was probably born in Wales, the son of a Roman father. Patrick became a monk in Gaul (= France) and went to Ireland in 432. He converted many people to Christianity, and there are many stories about his great powers, including one which explains why there are no snakes in Ireland. Patrick is said to have tricked them all so that they went into the sea and drowned. He is also said to have used the shamrock plant to explain the Christian idea of the Trinity, because it has three leaves on one stem. That is why it is traditional for Irish people to wear a shamrock on St Patrick's Day, 17 March.