Northern Ireland

St Patrick's Day, from the archives

Young woman at Slemish
Image caption A young woman, standing 'on the very spot' where St Patrick tended sheep on Slemish Mountain

St Patrick's Day has been portrayed in as many ways as there are myths about his life and times.

Here are three films from the archives depicting places where he is thought to have lived, and looking at how he should be remembered.

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Blarney tones

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Media captionArchive: St Patrick's tourist promo

While modern-day advertisements to promote tourism are slick and often voiced by Hollywood stars, this Tourist Board film from 1962 promoting the St Patrick pilgrimage is very much of its era.

The film charts a journey "through green country alive with memories", from Slemish Mountain near Ballymena, County Antrim via Downpatrick to Armagh.

The narrator, with a perfect newsreel-English accent, intones: "Back in the fifth century, St Patrick was brought to Northern Ireland as a 16-year-old slave boy, who was put to work on a farm, the legend runs, on Slemish Mountain."

A young woman, speaking in a stage Irish brogue, says: "Sure St Patrick himself was a herdsman at this very spot."

"If you walk through our lovely country in his footsteps, you'll end up wishin' from your heart at a wishing well," she says.

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Unchanged since the fifth century?

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Media captionA look at rural County Down where St Patrick grew up, preached and died.

The life of St Patrick remains a source of enduring argument, with many places in Ireland associated with the patron saint.

In this 1935 British Pathé film, they visit "the peaceful fertility and pleasant aspect of County Down, where St Patrick spent his boyhood".

Amid footage of thatched stone cottages and picturesque rural scenes, the narrator says "the land hasn't changed much since his day".

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Holiday question

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Media captionPatrick Burns asks the people of Belfast whether 17 March should be a public holiday

The question of whether people in Northern Ireland should get the day off work for St Patrick's Day proved to be a controversial one in this BBC report from 1978.

BBC reporter Patrick Burns took to the streets of Belfast to ask people what they thought.

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