A New Spin on an Old Tale: St. Patrick and the Snakes of Ireland

Before I wrote adventure tales and rhyming picture books, I wrote audio theater scripts. These are scripts written specifically to be broadcast on the radio or on audio recordings. Some were actually performed on stage with costumes as well, and they’d be excellent for reader’s theater as well. Every March, I think about one of my favorite scripts, Holiday, based on the story of St. Patrick and the snakes in Ireland. Of course, I had to put my own spin on the tale, my version is from the reptilian point of view. 

The Problem with the Old Tale

As you may know, one of the tales celebrated on St. Patrick’s Day is the driving of snakes from Ireland. But did you know that there weren’t any snakes in Ireland, to begin with? Yes, you read that correctly. There were no snakes in Ireland for St. Patrick to drive out. So why is there a holiday celebrating this nonexistent situation? I won’t call them a problem because snakes are an important part of any ecosystem.

But this should make you aware of discrimination against reptiles, as demonstrated in the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Do we as humans worry about the impact of the false advertising about St. Patrick? Maybe not, but reptiles do!


Think about the damage that is done to an ecosystem when all the snakes were removed. This is happening in many areas today, so we can observe the negative impacts on the environment. And if you’re going to drive an animal out, why not rats or mosquitoes? But don’t worry, because, you see, there were never any snakes in Ireland, to begin with.

My Spin on the Classic 

My version of the tale is kind of a Bob and Ray-type show. The hosts of this show are a green iguana, known as either Dudley or Didi Dewlap, and the iguana’s side-kick a water monitor, Miles or Molly Monitor. Like my science-based books, I attempt to educate in these humorous scripts. I’ve included an excerpt from Holiday, so you can read what I mean.

Gray book cover, illustrated with two iguanas standing in front of microphones

Excerpt from HOLIDAY

Dudley / Didi Dewlap

Miles / Molly Monitor

DUDLEY: Miles, I’m going to create a holiday!

MILES: A holiday!

DUDLEY: Yes, a holiday.

MILES: Oh, you mean like one of those proclamations that the city council or President declares? Today is so-and-so day!

DUDLEY: Not at all. Mine will be a holiday celebrated by people around the world.

MILES: Really. Tell us about it!

DUDLEY: Have you noticed that everyone wears green on March 17?


DUDLEY: So everyone must be celebrating Green Iguana Day!

MILES: What?

DUDLEY: March 17 must be Green Iguana Day.

MILES: Uh Dudley…

DUDLEY: Everyone around the world will wear green and be one with their iguana friends for the day! There’ll be parades, everyone will eat green food, you know how igs like their leafy greens, and….


MILES: There’s already a holiday on March 17.

DUDLEY: There is?

MILES: St. Patrick’s Day.

DUDLEY: St. Patrick’s Day? Never heard of it.

MILES: It commemorates the Catholic missionary who drove the snakes out of Ireland.

DUDLEY: How horrible! Once again humans celebrate the discrimination of reptiles, total disregard for their vertebrate brethren.

MILES: Don’t get upset, Dudley.

DUDLEY: Why not?

MILES: There weren’t any snakes in Ireland, to begin with.

DUDLEY: No snakes?

MILES: No snakes.

DUDLEY: Then why celebrate? Are humans so desperate for excuses to party that they have to make up a holiday about the persecution of our innocent slithering cousins?

MILES: It actually honors the country of Ireland.

DUDLEY: How silly. A holiday honoring green iguanas makes a lot more sense.

MILES: I actually have to agree with you on that.

DUDLEY: So humans, join with me in making March 17 green iguana day!

MILES: Wear green

DUDLEY: Eat greens

MILES: Shine your scales

DUDLEY: And cuddle an iguana!

MILES: Where’re you going?

DUDLEY: Off to lead the reptile revolution!

MILES: Many humans do find reptiles revolting…

This is a sample of the type of discussion that the two lizards have about events in the world. You can find Holiday and other scripts in the collection Conversations with Dudley Dewlap. These amusing 5-10-minute scripts are suitable for all ages. And a side note to you educators, purchase of script copies includes the performance rights!

Most importantly, while you’re celebrating Ireland and everything green this March 17, why not make amends toward persecuted reptiles and celebrate green iguanas, too!

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