One Washington man has dedicated himself to dressing up as St. Patrick. How do you make it happen? 

If you are looking to speak with St. Patrick himself, you just need to keep your eyes peeled. You have a good chance of seeing him stroll the streets of Ireland and Washington State spreading Irish culture and sharing Irish cheer. And you never know where he’ll turn up.

He’s been known to visit schoolchildren unannounced and even to climb an 8th-century tower in Clondalkin where he said he noticed motorists who spotted him in his green robes and pontiff hat nearly drove off the road as he waved.

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St. Patrick (Tom Keefe) waiting for dinner

St. Patrick (Tom Keefe) waiting for dinner

Tom Keefe became St. Patrick on a whim when a pub owner in Spokane, Washington asked him to help spice up St. Patrick’s Day celebrations there in 2013. He is proud of his Irish heritage and let’s face it, he looks the part. He also played an integral part in tying Seattle, Washington and Galway together as sister cities back in the 1980’s, when he worked as a legal advisor to then-Seattle Mayor Charles Royer.

He has most recently been spending time in Skibbereen, where he has been working on a book about Native American Indian fishing rights on the Columbian River. He says it was the perfect quiet setting to dig into that project. And he’s made a lot of new friends there. After all, everyone seems to feel like they already know him.

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Tom Keef as St. Patrick in Clondalkin

Tom Keef as St. Patrick in Clondalkin

So, if you see St. Patrick strolling the streets, in Ireland or in Washington State, stop and say hello.

*Erin Meehan Breen is a freelance writer based in Galway. You can find her work including her podcast Erin's Isle, at

Is this a good enough recreation of St Patrick? Think you can do better? Let us know in the comments section, below.

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