Legend – Ireland

“St Patrick landed in Ireland and began preaching but he held a feast on the same night as the festival of the high king at Tara. The high king at Tara declared that no fires should be burned within sight of Tara, the sacred pagan grounds. St Patrick lit a fire anyway and all of the king’s men and the king himself came after him and they confronted Patrick who declared the power of God and Christianity to be the sovereign of Tara, and the king and his priests decided that Patrick was a heretic and should be punished because he could not prove this statement. Patrick then cast two miracles and then the King asked his priests, druids to cast the same spell and when they could not Patrick said it was because the Lord is the right faith and the druids attacked Patrick and he levitated them into the air and bashed their heads on the rock forcing the King at Tara to kneel to Patrick and surrender his sword and the result was that Christianity got its foothold in Ireland and asserted its supremacy over Paganism and began to spread and through St. Patrick and Later St. Brigit Christianity was brought to the peoples of Ireland around 400 CE.”

Jake told me that he learned this tale about St. Patrick spreading Christianity throughout Ireland from his Grandmother Katie O’Conor. When he would visit her when he was younger, one of her favorite things to do was to tell Jake and his younger brother Luke the stories of their Irish heritage. Among many, Jake remembers the story of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, defying the high King at Tara and spreading Christianity the most clearly from his youth. He remembers his grandmother calling him in and sitting him down on the floor while she sat in her chair and reciting the story. Jake told me that she his grandmother immigrated from Ireland but could not recall how old she was or what year. He did, however, remember that she lived in Canada for several years before she was able move to the United States and make it California. Jake told me that he enjoyed hearing the story of St. Patrick because in a way, he felt like he was connecting with his Irish roots. His grandma is still alive and he enjoys spending time with her and learning more about his heritage from her whenever he can.

It is interesting to note that today this image of St. Patrick has almost faded in the shadow of the commercial appeal that his name brings about. For me, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the name St. Patrick is St. Patrick’s day which has become associated mainly with drinking. Prior to Jake telling me this story, I was unaware of the perceived happenings surrounding St. Patrick and his endeavors to spread Christianity throughout Ireland. I also find it very interesting that in the story that Jake told me, St. Patrick is said to have performed “miracles,” almost giving him divine powers and equating him in many ways with Jesus himself.

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