St. Patrick was Irish

St. Patrick was Irish.

Don’t Believe That!

No figure is more connected to Irish history and folklore than its patron saint, St. Patrick. Patrick, in fact, was not born in Ireland and was not even of Irish descent.

Patrick was born in the late 4th century in the area of Great Britain that is now Scotland. He was kidnapped by Irish marauders at age 16 and spent the next several years tending sheep in Ireland as a slave.  He managed to escape and return to his family, where he began studies for the priesthood. After being ordained, and acting on a “vision” he experienced, Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the population to Christianity.

By most accounts, he continued his quest for the next thirty years or so, and it was a difficult one. He was opposed by the Druids, harassed by Irish royalty and generally treated with suspicion as a foreigner. He was often beaten and robbed and even held captive. But, his mission was ultimately successful. He was said to have built over 300 churches and baptized over 100,000 individuals; by the time of his death nearly all of Ireland had become Christian. However, it took several centuries for his reputation and mythology to grow – he was not honored as the patron saint of Ireland until the 7th or 8th century.

“St. Patrick’s Day” is celebrated on March 17, the date St. Patrick died. A minor religious holiday in Ireland, it was promoted to its current status by Irish-Americans.


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