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 LEGENDARY & MYTHICAL FIGURES

 

Travel is people. You may go abroad to see the famous sites, but what you remember best are the people you meet. Among them, like unexpected treasure, are a few memorable contacts that will make your travels unique, special, and delightful. "People" is devoted to some of those you may come in contact with during your Home At First travels.

ST. PATRICK PATRON SAINT OF IRELAND

 

St. Patrick. 

ST. PATRICK

patron saint of ireland

Who was this guy? And why is he one of the great saints
— along with St. Valentine and St. Nicholas —
who are celebrated around the world?

HISTORY (probably more fact than legend):
          In the late 4th century (385?AD) a person who would become St. Patrick was born somewhere in the fringes of Roman-ruled Britain likely Wales or Scotland. Both places were populated largely by Celtic peoples (Britons or Welsh in Wales; Scots and Picts in Scotland), so it is likely the child was of Celtic stock and spoke a dialect related to those spoken in Ireland. (Some accounts suggest Patrick 
was the son of a Roman couple, Calpurnius and Conchessa, serving in the ruling class.)
          The child may have been called Maewyn or Succat

 

if of a British Celtic family, or possibly something else, by

his parents. But Britain had become partially Christianized  under Roman rule, and the boy may have taken Patrick — possibly a Christian or Roman name from Latin "patricius", meaning "patrician, or noble" — at his baptism.
          As a teenager Patrick was forced into slavery and taken to Ireland — probably County Antrim north of what is now Belfast in Northern Ireland. In the Antrim hills, Patrick was indentured as a shepherd. Ireland — never part of the Roman Empire — was not yet Christian, but pagan, practicing the religion of Irish Celts led by Druid priests. It is likely that Patrick learned Irish Gaelic during this period.
          At about 20 years of age Patrick ran away from Antrim and got to the Irish coast — possibly east coast at or near present-day Wexford(?) — where he talked his way onto a ship and fled back to Britain (probably Wales, and, if so, maybe back to his family).
          We next know that he went to Gaul (modern-day France), and, over a period of (perhaps) twelve years, became educated in a monastery in Auxerre under St. Germain, the bishop. He became an ordained priest, spending much of twenty years in Marmoutier Abbey.
          About two years after Pope Celestine had sent St. Palladius as missionary to Ireland to convert the Celts, Palladius was transferred to Scotland. At the recommendation of his mentor in Gaul, Patrick was made the Pope’s new emissary (and second bishop) to Ireland in the year 432(?).
         Once in Ireland — where there were four major kingdoms and a tribal society — Patrick and his entourage began by successfully converting the King of Laoghaire to Christianity. The king permitted Patrick and his group to travel throughout his kingdom spreading the new religion. Everywhere he went Patrick attempted to establish local outposts of the religion — schools, churches, and monasteries (which were schools and churches).
          Several of Patrick’s group were later canonized, too. For many years (30-40?) Patrick and his followers traveled throughout Ireland converting the population to Christianity. The end came — reputedly on March 17 on some year after 460 (possibly 461?) — in northeastern Ireland, possibly at the site of his first established Irish church, called Saul, in or around what is now Downpatrick in County Down, Northern Ireland.
          Over time the life of Patrick the missionary took on legendary features. Within 300 years he had become practically worshipped and made a national figure without equal in Ireland. Patrick had become recognized as a saint in Ireland long before Rome officially beatified him.

LEGEND (probably apocryphal):
      Over the centuries assorted miracles and myths have become associated to Saint Patrick. Among them are two that are pillars of his legend:

He ridded Ireland of snakes. Island Ireland never had snakes.

Patrick made the 3-leaf shamrock a symbol of Ireland by using it to explain the
to pagans how God can at once by a trinity of three parts, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. There’s no reason not to attribute this legend to Patrick, but no written evidence that he developed this clever metaphor using a common Irish meadow plant.

        There is almost no written history from the Ireland of Patrick’s lifetime. Remarkably, two documents about Patrick do exist, and both were written by him: his Confession and a letter he wrote to a British noble named Coroticus.

THE FESTIVAL IN IRELAND
       Celebrating the life of St. Patrick began in the Middle Ages (as early as the ninth century AD?) with "the Feast of St. Patrick’s ‘falling asleep’". The ancient Book of Armagh notes that all Irish monasteries and churches should commemorate Saint Patrick with a mid-spring celebration to last three days and nights.
        Despite the long tradition of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Ireland, celebrations were, until recently, localized and low-key. Many other countries —especially those where Irish immigration was heavy, but including many (like Denmark) where there are few Irish immigrants have for a long time had major recognition of the Irish patron saint. St. Patrick’s Day has been an unofficial holiday in America at least since 1737 when it first was publicly celebrated in where else? Boston.
        In 1996 Dublin seized on the potential commercial appeal of such a celebration and organized its first major St. Patrick’s Festival. No longer just a "day", the Dublin event requires a most of a week for all of its varied activities culminating in a huge parade. Interestingly, it took an act of the Irish Parliament to turn the now largely secular commemoration centered on Irish culture into the St. Patrick’s Festival.
        The Dublin festival has been an unqualified success, something akin to an Irish Mardi Gras so far without all the behavioral extremes attracting over one million during the week-long celebration. Over 500,000 people are expected in Dublin just for the principal parade. With many free events during the celebration including street theater, fireworks, carnival, bands, a treasure hunt, and all kinds of live music large numbers of foreign guests are expected. Why not? On Saint Patrick’s Day everyone wants to be Irish. See Also:
St. George’s Day (England, April 23), St. Andrew's Day (Scotland, November 30), and St. David's Day (Wales, March 1).
 

HOW TO BECOME IRISH
          Home At First’s IRELAND travel programs brings visitors to four regions of Ireland. Home At First offers cottage accommodations in Irish villages, and a chance to get to know traditional Ireland and traditional Irish culture. You can have your own Irish cottage for next St. Patrick's Day, and experience the friendly, low-key celebration in a local town, or, commute to Dublin if you want to experience the new St. Patrick's Festival. Or come to Ireland anytime

Tipperary Graveyard. Photo  Home At First.
GRAVEYARD, COUNTY TIPPERARY

with Home At First. There's no need to be Irish for just one day.

 
 

HOME AT FIRST has travel programs to four regions of IRELAND.
In all four regions visitors can experience the history, traditions,
and unique scenery of one of the world's great destinations.

For more information, see:

CENTRAL IRELAND SOUTHWESTERN IRELAND NORTHWESTERN IRELAND NORTHERN IRELAND

YOUR DREAM TRIP TO IRELAND BEGINS BY CONTACTING 

— HOME AT FIRST