Dia duit agus fáitle/Hello and welcome

St Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland.

We don’t know exactly when he was born, it is, however, widely speculated that he died on the 17th March. He was said to have been born on mainland Britain around the late fourth century.

He was kidnapped by pirates when he was about sixteen years old and taken to Ireland as a slave where he was put to work as an animal herder, but we don’t know exactly which part of The Emerald Isles this was.

Patrick escaped about six years after his enslavement and managed to return to his family. It was during this time that he became a member of the clergy. He had a religious calling to return to the place where he’d been taken as a slave to bring God’s word. St Patrick worked as a missionary across Ireland before becoming the bishop of Armagh where he finally settled and made his home. Before that, he had to move frequently as he faced hostility.

St Patrick was transforming Ireland from a land of idol worshippers and enslavers into a Christian country.

The kings and religious leaders of Ireland were against St Patrick. He was, after all, a foreigner who was against payment for God’s work (not good when you want money for nothing). He was often beaten for spreading the gospels. That didn’t stop St Patrick though, he continued God’s work to spread the word.

St Patrick can be identified holding a shamrock, or holding a cross repelling the snake – the symbol of sin which he was removing.

So whether you are dressing as leprechauns and dancing in the streets of Ireland or celebrating from afar having your favourite Irish tipple, let’s not forget the reasons behind St Patrick’s day.

He gave us the knowledge of Christ across Ireland, and for that we thank him.