The 17th March clues Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast that Saint Patrick, a social and religious holiday commemorated every year in Ireland and also by ireland communities approximately the world. The celebration point out the anniversary that Saint Patrick’s fatality in the 5th century and also represents the come of Christianity in the country. The Irish have actually observed now as a holiday for end 1,000 years, and also while the festival began as a religious feast day because that the patron saint that Ireland, now it has become an international celebration of ireland culture.

The legend St Patrick

In the 1,600 years because Saint Patrick preached his way across the Emerald Isle, the legends and also folk stories bordering his life have end up being ever more ingrained in the ireland culture. The is credited with expelling every snakes from Ireland and also using a shamrock – a three-leaf clover – to explain the divine Trinity come the Pagan Irish. Story of expelling demons and also engaging in duels through the powerful Druids have been passed under over generations, yet in many ways, the true truth of Patrick’s life room even more dramatic 보다 the tales.




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Patrick was born right into a wealthy household in roman inn Britannia in 385 advertisement and originally brought the name Maewyn Succat. He lived a fairly peaceful presence until the period of 16, as soon as he was torn indigenous his home by irish pirates and taken together a slave. That was marketed to a regional chieftain in Ireland named Miliue the Antrim and also was compelled to herd sheep and swine for 6 years, bitterly isolated and also poorly clothed for the harsh winters.

In Saint Patrick’s Confessio, he reflect on the factor for these events:

“At that time, i did not understand the true God. Ns was taken into bondage in Ireland, together with thousands of others. Us deserved this, because we had actually gone away from God, and also did not save his commandments. We would not listen to our priests, who advised us around how we could be saved. The Lord lugged his strong anger ~ above us and also scattered us amongst many nations also to the end of the earth. The was amongst foreigners the it was viewed how tiny I was.”

It was throughout this time as a servant that Patrick turned come religion and pleaded come God because that a way to escape his hell. Finally, his answers come in the type of a vision, in i m sorry he to be told to flee to the coast, wherein a ship would certainly be wait to take it him home. Patrick make a break because that it and also travelled v 185 mile of wilderness to the shoreline. Simply as he had actually dreamed, a British delivery stood waiting. Patrick boarded the ship and went home.


He hadn’t been residence long before an additional vision came to him. This time, the dreamed that the people of Ireland were beckoning him come come and also bring lock Christianity. He describes the vision in his memoir:

"I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His surname was Victoricus, and also he lugged many letters, and also he provided me one of them. I review the heading: "The Voice that the Irish." together I began the letter, ns imagined in that moment that ns heard the voice that those really people that were near the timber of Foclut, which is next to the western sea-and they cry out, just like one voice: "We appeal come you, divine servant boy, to come and walk amongst us’.”

The vision triggered Patrick come train because that priesthood. He travelled to Gaul, wherein after plenty of years that study, he was ordained by St Germanus, the Bishop that Auxerre, and also sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Slane, Ireland on march 25, 433 advertisement and started his mission.

Pagan-Christian fusion

Patrick’s score of seeing Pagan Ireland converted did no sit well v the locals at first. The is tape-recorded in the Annals of the Kingdom the Ireland that he was temporarily imprisoned, and several attempts to be made on his life. Patrick took to carrying a dagger.




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However, Patrick discovered a an approach that would ultimately succeed, allowing him to transform the irish without either knife or army. And working come build partnerships with local leaders, that popularized the confidence by harnessing the expertise he had gained of the native language, culture and religion during his time in slavery, and also using this come merge ireland lore and celebrations v Christianity.

He relocated the dates of beforehand Christian celebrations to dates that were sacred to the Pagans and combined Christian symbols with Pagan ones so that the new religion can be much more easily assimilated. An 18 th century historic account records that Saint Patrick used the shamrock, a three-leaf clover, to define the holy Trinity. In Pagan Ireland, three was a significant number and the ireland had many triple deities. The triple spiral symbol, or Triskelion, shows up at many old megalithic and Neolithic sites in Ireland.

As proclaimed in the Annals the the Kingdom of Ireland:

“Nothing is clearer 보다 that Patrick engrafted Christianity top top the Pagan superstitions through so much skill, that he winner the civilization over come the Christian religion prior to they construed the specific difference in between the two solution of belief.”

Saint Patrick developed the very first church in ~ a place called Saul, in north Ireland, and also after that he planted much more and much more churches together he crisscrossed his means through Ireland. The Annals of the Kingdom that Ireland document that:


“It to be by him that numerous cells, monasteries, and churches were put up throughout Ireland; seven hundred church was their number. It to be by him the bishops, priests, and also persons the every dignity were ordained; seven hundred bishops, and three thousand clergymans your number.”

In simply a couple of decades, Saint Patrick had actually converted all of Ireland to Christianity.

Banishes the Snakes native Ireland

One the the most famed legends Saint Patrick is linked with his claimed banishing of every snakes native Ireland. According to the story, Patrick drive snakes into the sea after they struck him throughout a 40-day rapid that he to be undertaking on optimal of a hill.

However, post-glacial Ireland never had snakes. Water has surrounded Ireland because the end of the critical glacial period, preventing snakes from slithering over; prior to that, it was blanketed in ice and too chilly because that the cold-blooded creatures.

The legend the Saint Patrick and also the snakes is fairly an allegory because that his eradication of Pagan ideology. As soon as Patrick drives the snakes out of Ireland, it is symbolically saying that he actors out the old religion and brought in a new one.

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An Image depicting St Patrick spreading the snakes into the sea. Image source

Death and also Legacy

Saint Patrick’s fatality is taped in the Annals that the Kingdom of Ireland in the year 493 advertisement when he is stated to have been 122 years old, although countless historians believe he died in the year 461 AD.

The date of his death was march 17, the day that is now commemorated in Ireland and around the civilization as Saint Patrick’s Day.

Not anyone in Ireland feels affection towards Saint Patrick. His conversion of the Irish led to the abandonment of thousands of years the tradition, society and beliefs that had actually been held by the ireland people and magnificent megalithic website that had actually been created with enormous effort and served as centers the ritual and celebration fell out of use.

Nevertheless, over there is lot that he have the right to be attributed for and his tradition remains an extremely much alive this particular day throughout Ireland and amongst the countless Irish diaspora across the world.

“The monasteries he started or encouraged became centres the literacy and learning, sprawling universities dedicated to knowledge, i m sorry would over time serve come collect and preserve the written record of western human being after the autumn of Rome”, writes Professor of philosophy Joshua J Marck . “The Roman empire had never invaded Ireland and also so the land was reasonably unaffected by its fall. In the Christian monasteries of Ireland, the great written functions of the past were copied and preserved for future generations. V his vision and mission, St. Patrick readjusted not just Ireland, however the world.”