St Patrick c.387 – c.460 a.demmet
Saint Patrick, the son of a Welsh Roman and a former slave was born in c.387 a.d and died 460 a.d. He is the primary patron saint of Ireland and is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works; the Confessio, (a spiritual autobiography), and his Epistola, (a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians). He may have been confused with Palladius, the first bishop sent by a Pope Celestine in 431 to convert the Irish pagans. Patrick is known for driving the snakes from Ireland, however, serpent symbols were common and often worshiped so driving the snakes out was probably a symbolic way of explaining how he put an end to pagan practices. Patrick probably baptized chiefs and heads of clans at their local pagan well and by doing so brought thousands of their subjects into the new faith. Many of these holy wells still bear his name. A theory why ‘St Patrick’s Day’ is it celebrated on March 17th is that it was probably the date that he died.