Andy & Bev Fraser's Travel World

33 years of our "UnTour" Adventures
Maewen Succat (aka St. Patrick)
Our journeys are as close as we can come to a good old fashioned no rushing, relaxed time with good companions. This is our 32nd year of doing it this way. Hope you can join us. Andy & Bev
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Rock of Cashel - Associated with St. Patrick
Who was the 'real' St. Patrick?
His real name was Maewyn Succat and it’s belived he was born in Old Kilpatrick, Scotland near the old Roman Antonine Wall about 387 a.d. This corner of Scotland on the west coast was not Gaelic but old British. His first language would have been Welsh.

It was only years later when Maewyn became a priest that he took the name Patricius. We know him best as St. Patrick.

In his mid teens he was captured by a raiding band of Irish pirates looking for slaves and he became a slave shepherd for six years before managing to escape back to the mainland and his family.

Raised in a Christian family at home, (both his father and grandfather were clergymen) he turned away from the faith as a teen but while a slave he  prayed constantly for help which apprantley came in a dream about a boat in the harbour. He managed to sneak away, found the harbour - and the boat of his dream - and escaped.

Called to return...

It wasn’t long after returning home before he realized he wanted to return to Irelaned to help the people. Over time he became a priest. and even traveld to what is today France to study and learn Latin, a language he admits in his writings, was very difficult. He also struggled with the rest of the academic work and is quoted as saying, "I blush and fear exceedingly to reveal my lack of education."

It was 20 years after his escape from slavery that he returned to Ireland.

Many believe Patrick was the first to convert the irish. Not so. There were Christian priests in the country but Patrick had the power, drive and imagination to reach out to many in the country. He became the head man, a Deacon, and was responsible for all clergy in the island.

To reach the people with his message he started with the Clan Chiefs, or Kings as they saw themselves. He knew if he could convert them, then many would follow.

Not an 'Official' Saint...

Over his many years on the island It was the people who declared him a Saint and not the Church. He is still not officially recognized as a Saint.

And he did not drive the snakes out of Ireland. There were none to start with. Nor did he use the Shamrock as a Christian symbol of the Trinity. Hundreds of legends are associated with Patrick and it is impossible to sort out truth from fiction.

It is said that Patrick combined the symbol of Christianity, the Cross, with the symbol of the sun to give  followers an idea of the importance of the cross and how it linked with the old pre-Christian beliefs. By linking it with the idea of the life-giving properties of the sun, these two ideas made it easier to accept this new religion.

We’ll never know with any certainty what is fact, what is fiction. What is known is that Patrick became a special symbol to the people and today he is seen as a symbol or Ireland itself.

It’s believed he died in about 461 and is buried at Downpatrick in Ireland.

Old monastic round tower from Patrick's time
Celtic Christian bell from Patrick's time
Detail of a celtic cross
One of areas where Patrick preached. Now a busy highway