60 Facts About Saint Patrick


Saint Patrick was a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland.


Saint Patrick was never formally canonised, having lived before the current laws of the Catholic Church in these matters.


Saint Patrick has been generally so regarded ever since, despite evidence of some earlier Christian presence.


Saint Patrick writes that he lived there for six years as an animal herder before escaping and returning to his family.


The only name that Saint Patrick uses for himself in his own writings is.


The dates of Saint Patrick's life are uncertain; there are conflicting traditions regarding the year of his death.


Saint Patrick was born at the end of Roman rule in Britain.


Claims have been advanced for locations in present-day Scotland, with the Catholic Encyclopedia stating that Saint Patrick was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland,.


Saint Patrick's father, Calpurnius, is described as a decurion of an unspecified Romano-British city, and as a deacon; his grandfather Potitus was a priest from Bonaven Tabernia.


Saint Patrick writes in the Confession that the time he spent in captivity was critical to his spiritual development.


Saint Patrick explains that the Lord had mercy on his youth and ignorance, and afforded him the opportunity to be forgiven his sins and convert to Christianity.


Saint Patrick's name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them.


Saint Patrick studied in Europe principally at Auxerre, but is thought to have visited the Marmoutier Abbey, Tours and to have received the tonsure at Lerins Abbey.


Bury suggests that Wicklow was the port through which Saint Patrick made his escape after his six years' captivity, though he offers only circumstantial evidence to support this.


Tradition has it that Saint Patrick was not welcomed by the locals and was forced to leave and seek a more welcoming landing place further north.


Saint Patrick rested for some days at the islands off the Skerries coast, one of which still retains the name of Inis-Patrick.


Saint Patrick eventually returned to Ireland, probably settling in the west of the island, where, in later life, he became a bishop and ordained subordinate clerics.


Saint Patrick writes that he "baptised thousands of people", even planning to convert his slavers.


Saint Patrick ordained priests to lead the new Christian communities.


Saint Patrick converted wealthy women, some of whom became nuns in the face of family opposition.


Saint Patrick dealt with the sons of kings, converting them too.


Saint Patrick says that he was "many years later" a captive for 60 days, without giving details.


Murchiu's life of Saint Patrick contains a supposed prophecy by the druids which gives an impression of how Patrick and other Christian missionaries were seen by those hostile to them:.


The second piece of evidence that comes from Saint Patrick's life is the Letter to Coroticus or Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus, written after a first remonstrance was received with ridicule and insult.


An early document which is silent concerning Saint Patrick is the letter of Columbanus to Pope Boniface IV of about 613.


Saint Patrick's obituary is given in the Annals of Ulster under the year 657.


The Saint Patrick portrayed by Tirechan and Muirchu is a martial figure, who contests with druids, overthrows pagan idols, and curses kings and kingdoms.


Saint Patrick worked with the unfree and the poor, encouraging them to vows of monastic chastity.


The martial Saint Patrick found in Tirechan and Muirchu, and in later accounts, echoes similar figures found during the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity.


Legend credits Saint Patrick with teaching the Irish about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, using it to illustrate the Christian teaching of three persons in one God.


Icons of St Patrick often depict the saint "with a cross in one hand and a sprig of shamrocks in the other".


Roger Homan writes, "We can perhaps see St Saint Patrick drawing upon the visual concept of the triskele when he uses the shamrock to explain the Trinity".


Ireland was well-known to be a land without snakes, and this was noted as early as the third century by Gaius Julius Solinus, but later legend credited Saint Patrick with banishing snakes from the island.


The earliest text to mention an Irish saint banishing snakes from Ireland is in fact the Life of Saint Patrick Columba, written in the late seventh or early eighth century.


The earliest writings about Saint Patrick ridding Ireland of snakes are by Jocelyn of Furness in the late twelfth century, who says that Saint Patrick chased them into the sea after they attacked him during his fast on a mountain.


Tirechan wrote in the 7th century that Saint Patrick spent forty days on the mountaintop of Cruachan Aigle, as Moses did on Mount Sinai.


The 9th century Bethu Phatraic says that Saint Patrick was harassed by a flock of black demonic birds while on the peak, and he banished them into the hollow of Lugnademon by ringing his bell.


Saint Patrick ended his fast when God gave him the right to judge all the Irish at the Last Judgement, and agreed to spare the land of Ireland from the final desolation.


Saint Patrick is said to have banished the serpent into Lough Na Corra below the mountain, or into a hollow from which the lake burst forth.


Muirchu writes that a pagan chieftain named Daire would not let Saint Patrick build a church on the hill of Ard Mhacha, but instead gave him lower ground to the east.


Saint Patrick tells his men to kill Patrick, but is himself struck down with illness.


Daire's men beg Saint Patrick to heal him, and Saint Patrick's holy water revives both Daire and his horses.


Saint Patrick asks the chieftain for food, and Crom sends his bull, in the hope that it will drive off or kill Saint Patrick.


Saint Patrick has the bull's bones and hide put together and brings it back to life.


The twelfth-century work Acallam na Senorach tells of Saint Patrick being met by two ancient warriors, Cailte mac Ronain and Oisin, during his evangelical travels.


Saint Patrick tells her that a demon is hiding in her cellar and being fattened by her dishonesty.


Saint Patrick says that the only way to get rid of the demon is by mending her ways.


Some time later, Saint Patrick revisits the inn to find that the innkeeper is serving her guests cups of whiskey filled to the brim.


Saint Patrick praises her generosity and brings her to the cellar, where they find the demon withering away.


The body of Saint Patrick was afterwards interred at Dun Da Lethglas with great honour and veneration; and during the twelve nights that the religious seniors were watching the body with psalms and hymns, it was not night in Magh Inis or the neighbouring lands, as they thought, but as if it were the full undarkened light of day.


The Palladian mission should not be contrasted with later "British" missions, but forms a part of them; nor can the work of Palladius be uncritically equated with that of Saint Patrick, as was once traditional.


Saint Patrick is still widely venerated in Ireland and elsewhere today.


Saint Patrick remains a recurring figure in Folk Christianity and Irish folktales.


Saint Patrick Visitor Centre is a modern exhibition complex located in Downpatrick and is a permanent interpretative exhibition centre featuring interactive displays on the life and story of Patrick.


Saint Patrick's Breastplate is a lorica, or hymn, which is attributed to Patrick during his Irish ministry in the 5th century.


Saint Patrick is traditionally portrayed in the vestments of a bishop, and his mitre and garments are often decorated with a cross pattee.


Saint Patrick's Saltire is a red saltire on a white field.


The bell was part of a collection of "relics of Saint Patrick" removed from his tomb sixty years after his death by Colum Cille to be used as relics.


The symbolic resonance of the Saint Patrick figure is complex and multifaceted, stretching from that of Christianity's arrival in Ireland to an identity that encompasses everything Irish.


Subsequently, Saint Patrick is a patriotic symbol along with the colour green and the shamrock.