St Patricks Day History

Mellow Road Explores St Patricks Day History

At Mellow Road, we take pride in celebrating the rich heritage and cultural significance of St Patricks Day history. As we delve into the history and background of this iconic day, we embark on a journey to unravel the captivating story of Saint Patrick himself. Despite the adversities he faced, Patrick emerged as the patron saint of Ireland, leaving an indelible mark on the land he once considered foreign.

Join us as we explore the fascinating tale of resilience, faith, and transformation that defines the legacy of St. Patrick, shedding light on his remarkable journey from captivity to missionary, and ultimately, to sainthood!

St Patrick Torn from his Family

An Irish ship smashed into the waves off the western coast of Great Britain in the early 500s. Along the very edge of the Roman Empire, a group of Irish pirates sneaked into a hidden cove and attacked the town of Bannavem Taburniae.

The warriors sent by Ireland’s King Niall of the Nine Hostages caught a 16-year-old boy named Succat along with some stolen goods. The boy was brought to Ireland against his will, but he became the patron saint of Ireland. Even though St. Patrick was not from Ireland and came there on the hold of a pagan king’s slave ship, the island would come to be associated with him.

Few facts are known for sure about Patrick’s childhood. Most of what is known comes from the saint’s short story, the Confession. The story goes that Patrick was born into a wealthy family around 386 A.D. and grew up on the western coast of Great Britain, most likely in Wales, which was part of the Roman Empire at the time. Both of his parents were Christians; his dad was a deacon, and his granddad was a priest.

Philip Freeman, who wrote St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography, says that the raid that took him away from his family wasn’t that rare in the early 5th century. He says, “A few other late Roman sources tell us that the Irish had been raiding western Britain regularly for at least a hundred years before Patrick was captured in the early 400s.” The Saxons had also been raiding the east of Britain, he adds.

Thomas Cahill says in How the Irish Saved Civilization, “One of the most horrifying things about the time is the mass enslavement of free men and women.” “The Irish were the most dangerous and fierce tribe in the slave trade.” Roman rule began to fall apart, and Irish rebels started to show up more often. Every day, they stole animals and clothes and woke up kids in the middle of the night to take them away. They took young males to herd cows and sheep and young women to serve them.

What did St. Patrick do?

Patrick had to work as a sheep herder for a local lord on the slopes of Mount Slemish in County Antrim in the north of Ireland. He had been thrown out of his home. Patrick lived alone because he didn’t have any food or clothes. The only things that were with him were his flock and his new faith. In the middle of the emptiness, Patrick’s faith grew. His daily prayers added up to 100, and at night they were the same number.

When Patrick was in prison for six years, he wrote in the Confession that an angel told him in a dream, “You have fasted well.” You will soon be going back to your home country.” The angel told him about a ship leaving Ireland, so the young man walked 200 miles through peat bogs and woods until he got to a port, maybe Wexford. There, he found a cargo ship going to Europe.

When the captain turned him away, Patrick started to pray. But before he could finish, a sailor from the ship yelled, “Come quickly! Those men are calling you!” When Patrick found out that the captain had changed his mind, he went away from Ireland, thinking that God must have protected him and helped him get away.

Freeman, a biographer of St. Patrick, says that the escape was rare, but it probably happened. “It would have been a scary and hard trip, but we know of Roman slaves who escaped anywhere else in the world.”

Even so, not all experts agree with it. The story that Saint Patrick was a slave has been called into question by Roy Flechner, author of Saint Patrick Retold: The Legend and History of Ireland’s Patron Saint. He told a Cambridge University study that the popular story that Patrick was taken from Britain and made to work as a slave, but that he was able to escape and get his freedom back, is probably not true. “At a time when travel was very difficult, it is very unlikely that Patrick was able to sneak back to Britain from where he was thought to be being held captive in western Ireland.”

Flechner says that Patrick didn’t come to Ireland against his will; he went there on purpose to avoid taking over his father’s job as a Roman tax collector, which was becoming more dangerous and financially risky as the empire fell apart because collectors had to make up any shortfalls out of their own pockets. He also says that Patrick probably wasn’t a slave. Instead, he was probably a slave dealer, since he said he was rich at a time when Ireland didn’t have a money system and trading slaves was one of the few profitable businesses.

Saint Patrick worked as a slave in Ireland for six years. When he finally got back to his home country, he became a priest. After that, he went back to Ireland as a preacher in 432.

According to what St. Patrick wrote in the Confession, he almost died after he escaped slavery. When they got to land on the continent, the ship’s crew was lost for weeks in the desert with no food, and they started to scold Patrick for being too religious. “What do you think about this?” The sailors who were hungry asked him, “You say that your God is great and all-powerful. Why can’t you pray for us? We’re in a bad way.”

The young man led them in a prayer that seemed to be answered right away when a whole herd of pigs ran into their path. “Turn in faith with all your hearts to the Lord my God, because nothing is impossible for him,” he said. People began to believe in Patrick.

Patrick finally went back to Great Britain to be with his family. His parents begged him not to leave them again, but the holy visions came back and gave Patrick a new plan. Someone from Ireland spoke up and said, “We beg you, holy boy, to come and walk again among us.” After some religious schooling, he was made a deacon around 418 A.D., and in 432 A.D., he was made a bishop and given the name Patricius.

Many people who had been slaves would have feared going back to where they were held captive, but Patrick asked to be sent as a missionary to Ireland. He took care of a different kind of flock when he got back to the pagan island. Before he died on March 17, 461 A.D., Patrick converted and baptized thousands of Druid priests, chieftains, and aristocrats. This was easier for him because he knew Ireland’s language and practices.

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