The gig's up - St. Patrick was actually a Welshman.
The biography of St. Patrick is a hard one to research. Legend is lovingly intertwined with fact, and securing precise dates for his birth and death, and where he grew up, is a hard task. This leaves us with mystical tales of a man who has become known across the globe, uniting everyone with even the smallest drop of Celtic blood every March 17.
That's because Patrick died back in approximately AD 461 on March 17, and has since become the principal Christian champion of the Irish Church. Why? Well he brought Christianity to the Irish people for one; for an encore he also drove out all the snakes.
What the feck, you say. Snakes? On the plains? Legend has it that Patrick stood up on the hillside and banished the snakes, using his wooden staff to drive them into the sea. That Ireland is free of snakes to this day is either because of this legendary man's skill, or because it's an island where they are not indigenous - you decide.
Many people may not know this, but Patrick was the son of a Roman solider, and not native to Ireland. Some people believe he was a Scot, others a Welshman. In his early teens he was the prisoner of Irish raiders, who took him across the Irish Sea and sold him into slavery. Patrick spent the next six years as a Christian shepherd amongst a Pagan society made up of warring tribes and clans. He learned their ways and language, which would come to serve him well in the future. Legend has it that one night he heard God's voice telling him to return to his homeland. Finally escaping his captors he spent the next fourteen years of his life training to be a priest in France.
He then received a visit from an angel who told him to go back to Ireland, and teach the word of God. He was not the first person to attempt this, but he was by far the most successful. For the next 30 years, until his death, he roamed Ireland spreading the faith while avoiding angry Celtic Druids. He set up churches, schools and monasteries. Some historians claim that his success came from expressing how important education was for everyone, and he had a knack for persuasion - even managing to get a few of the Celtic heavies on his side.
"Not without reason has the name of St. Patrick been held in veneration through these many generations. There is nowhere a teacher whose services for learning exerted so wide an influence in a time so critical for all culture. There is nowhere a statesman whose activity so completely reformed the character of any people. There is nowhere such a national hero whose fame is sounded across fifteen centuries and can still stir emotions of enthusiasm far beyond his nation's shores. There is nowhere a saint whose teachings are blended like his with the destinies of his nation." Nashua Reporter
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