By Leah Banks —
TYRONE, GA — St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday to celebrate Irish history, but for the town of Tyrone, it is a day to celebrate and recognize the early settlements established in its history.
The history of St. Patrick’s Day dates back to over 1,000 years ago. The celebration is centered on Maewyn Succat, better known as St. Patrick.
Historians say accounts regarding St. Patrick are somewhat muddled, with tales and legends often having little historical evidence. However, it is believed that he lived around the fifth century. He is known as the patron saint of Ireland.
Patrick was born in Roman Britain, kidnapped, and brought to Ireland as an enslaved person at 16.
He later escaped, but instead of staying away from Ireland, he returned to the country and is credited with bringing Christianity to its people.
In the centuries after Patrick’s death, which is believed to be March 17, 461, the story that surrounded his life became more ingrained in the Irish culture. One of the most known legends of St. Patrick is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) using the leaves of the Irish clover, the shamrock.
Today, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, with hues of green and images of shamrocks filling the air to celebrate the Irish history and legacy St. Patrick provided for all to recognize.
For the town of Tyrone, the history that is cultivated in the Irish heritage is particularly highlighted on this day. For Tyrone Mayor Eric Dial, preserving that history is of the utmost importance in what makes Tyrone unique.
“Something that I was impressed with is that we have Irish history. We were named and founded by Irish settlers,” Dial said.
According to the Tyrone town website, Tyrone is an area that initially belonged to Creek Indians, but Scottish and Irish immigrants settled there in the late 1800s. The reason for their settlement is because the area reminded them around County Tyrone in Northern Ireland.
Their descendants still occupy some of the homes built by those first settlers to maintain their ancestors’ historical impact in the area.
In commemoration of the holiday, Dial celebrates Tyrone’s heritage by attending the St. Patrick’s Day festival in Shamrock Park, but this year the festival was canceled due to weather. Even with that cancellation, that will not stop him from celebrating with everyone.
“Tyrone hosts a St. Patrick’s Day event in Shamrock Park each year with food trucks, vendors, etc. We were scheduled to host the event this past Saturday and had about 40 vendors lined up this year, but the cold weather came in and we had to cancel it. I will still wear green and enjoy the celebration of others, but that’s about it,” Dial said.
This history of Tyrone will be highlighted and explained in Tyrone’s new town museum. The museum plans to open on May 15