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It's official. The Irish know how to throw a good party

More Scots celebrate St Patrick's Day than mark the patron saint of Scotland

Irish people around the world are gearing up for St Patrick's Day celebrations, but it seems that you don't have to be from the Emerald Isle to join in the festivities. It's been revealed that more Scots will be celebrating with their Irish cousins this Thursday than will mark St Andrew's Day later in the year, according to a survey released today by ancestry website Genes Reunited.

As many as 62% of Scottish respondents said they celebrate St Patrick's Day, but only 53% said they commemorate their own patron saint, St Andrew's Day. Of those Scots who will be sharing in the fun this week, 50% said they will be doing so because they have Irish ancestors, while the remainder admitted to just looking forward to a 'great party'. Only 40% claimed to know the origins of the great Irish saint.

Martine Parnell, head of Genes Reunited, said: "It seems that everyone wants to have Irish ancestors on St Patrick's Day and it's easy to find out if you have any Celtic links by doing a simple search on Genes Reunited. With 29 million names listed, finding an Irish connection may not be as hard as you may think."

Irish pride remains strong among those surveyed. One Irish member said: "Everywhere you go in Ireland you will get a smile or a 'hello', and wherever an Irish person goes they carry that warmth with them."

Another member said that being Irish meant "to be loved the world over for our friendliness and to welcome people with open arms".

St Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, was born in Wales around AD385. He considered himself a pagan until his studies at a monastery in Gaul, France, converted him to Christianity. He spent the rest of his life in Ireland, where he was appointed second bishop, converting pagans to Christianity and died there on March 17th AD 461. According to legend, St Patrick raised people from the dead and in a hilltop sermon he drove all the snakes from Ireland.

St Andrew, whose day is celebrated on November 30th, is thought to have been a fisherman in Galilee, responsible for spreading Christianity through Asia Minor and Greece. He was crucified by the Romans and, according to legend, St Rule, a Greek Monk, was instructed in a dream to take St Andrew's remains 'to the ends of the earth' for safe keeping. In his quest to do so, he was shipwrecked off the east coast of Scotland.

Media Enquiries

Press Team : e. press@genesreunited.co.uk; t. +44 (0)207 845 7800 or +44 (0)207 994 0149

In Australia, Vicki Dawson : e. press@genesreunited.com.au; t. +61 (02) 9836-3587

Jenni Hayward (Mission PR) : e. jenni@thisismission.com; t. +44 (20) 7845-7800

Notes to the Editor - About Genes Reunited

Genes Reunited was launched in 2002 as a sister-site to the Internet phenomenon Friends Reunited. Since then it has grown to become the UK's largest genealogy website.

It marked a revolution in genealogy and ancestry by combining them with Internet social-networking. Members are able to build their family tree by posting it on the site and investigating which ancestors they share with other members. They can also search historical records such as census, birth, death, marriage and military records.

It currently has over 11 million members and over 750 million names listed. One new name is added to the site every single second.