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Real History Matters: The Prophecy of St Patrick’s Coming to the Irish

 

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and today is his day. The traditional date of arrival to my country’s shores of the man who brought Christianity to the Irish and in doing changed the course of Ireland’s destiny and Europes’ too. Within a hundred years a barren pagan wasteland trapped in darkness was to become a place where many great European saints went to endow themselves with knowledge and the Christian heritage.

We know that he definately existed outside of secondary sources as we have two of his own written works which testify to this – one an autobiography called the Confessions, the second a letter to the soldiers of Coroticus. So ignore the naysayers today in online posts or the traditional media who state he never existed. He may not have converted the whole island, or been the first Christian here but he was the most important. That is the honest truth.

Of course there are also many legends about St. Patrick which is not surprising given that he came to the people who invented a form of storytelling, and who placed a great deal of stature on oral traditions. Before St. Patrick Ireland did not have writing. The language of the Irish people had not even been condensed into word. Nevertheless that is not to say that some of these traditions have no weight. After all history is often based simply on stories which cannot rely on physical or written evidence but seek local knowledge or tradition.

One of the oldest traditions preserved in Ireland is the following story recorded in one of the great ancient books of Ireland – the Book of Armagh which dates to within 200 years of St. Patrick’s life. It is one of the oldest traditional stories about St. Patrick, based not on Christian hagiographers but likely from the words of pagan druids. The ones who St. Patrick fought all his life.

“It is said that, three years before St. Patrick’s apostolic visit to Ireland, the druids of King Laeghairé predicted the event to their master as an impending calamity. The names of the druids were Lochia and Luchat Mael; their prophecy runs thus:—

“A Tailcenn will come over the raging sea,

With his perforated garment, his crook-headed staff,

With his table at the cast end of his house,

And all his people will answer ‘Amen, Amen.'”

The allusions are intriguing. The pagan druids are referring to the priestly vestments, the altar at the east end of the church, and the pastoral staff, the words of priest are sufficiently obvious, and easily explained. Together these describe the Catholic Christian tradition. The prophecy is quoted by Macutenius, and quoted again from him by Probus; but the original is in one of the most ancient and authentic Irish MSS., the Book of Armagh.

It could be fake, written hundreds of years later by imaginative monks with little to do. But I doubt it. There is something in it that screams real to me.

St. Patrick is in many respects a mix of two biblical figures – Moses and St. Paul. St. Paul had a similar experience to St. Patrick of being called across the sea to pagans (in Macedonia) by an angel. Moses was the Jewish deliverer of Israel who freed them from pagan enslavement. St. Patrick modelled himself on Moses, and for the Irish he was a deliverer. He rescued Ireland from pagan darkness and the evil of the druids.

Happy St. Patrick Day Ricochet people.

PS: Ireland could do with another St. Patrick now.

Have a great day. God bless you all. Thanks too for the comments. Slainte Ricochet.

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Members have made 45 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Kay of MT Member

    We’d send him to you if we could find him. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Paddy.

    • #1
    • March 16, 2017 at 6:55 pm
    • Like1 like
  2. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

    Happy St. Paddy’s Day, Patrick.

    Or Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Paddy.

    Whichever way you want to play it.

    • #2
    • March 16, 2017 at 6:56 pm
    • Like4 likes
  3. Profile photo of Michael Collins Member

    Paddy S: PS: Ireland could do with another St. Patrick now.

    Paddy, what if that is you? If it was, how would you go about the revival of Catholic culture in Ireland? Don’t dismiss this too quickly. Maybe the only difference between you and St. Patrick is that he listened to the same call and acted on it.

    • #3
    • March 16, 2017 at 7:04 pm
    • Like10 likes
  4. Profile photo of Paddy S Member
    Paddy S Post author

    Michael Collins (View Comment):

    Paddy S: PS: Ireland could do with another St. Patrick now.

    Paddy, what if that is you? If it was, how would you go about the revival of Catholic culture in Ireland? Don’t dismiss this too quickly. Maybe the only difference between you and St. Patrick is that he listened to the same call and acted on it.

    Sometimes Ive wondered the same Michael. Although I do not feel my faith is up to the challange of rescuing Ireland from its current nihilistic secular hedonistic paganism lite. My faith is strong and then very weak. I wonder though and pray that God will call me to do great things.

    • #4
    • March 16, 2017 at 7:10 pm
    • Like6 likes
  5. Profile photo of Michael Collins Member

    Like St. Francis, start with something small.

    • #5
    • March 16, 2017 at 7:16 pm
    • Like4 likes
  6. Profile photo of Nanda Panjandrum Thatcher

    A blessed name-day [St. Patrick’s Day], Paddy! (And to all who claim him this day!)

    • #6
    • March 16, 2017 at 9:30 pm
    • Like4 likes
  7. Profile photo of CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    As a Catholic in the archdiocese of NY, the patron saint of which is St. Patrick, I and my family always welcome his feast day as an opportunity to relax our Lenten fast!

    It’s also my second son’s birthday. Happy 18th Maxi!

    • #7
    • March 17, 2017 at 3:44 am
    • Like8 likes
  8. Profile photo of Seawriter Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    It’s also my second son’s birthday. Happy 18th Maxi!

    My second son’s birthday, too. Except today is Bill’s 31st.

    Seawriter

    • #8
    • March 17, 2017 at 6:01 am
    • Like5 likes
  9. Profile photo of RushBabe49 Thatcher

    My contribution. St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC, taken on our 2006 trip. Best wishes to all.

    • #9
    • March 17, 2017 at 6:50 am
    • Like5 likes
  10. Profile photo of Phil Turmel Thatcher

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    It’s also my second son’s birthday. Happy 18th Maxi!

    My second son’s birthday, too. Except today is Bill’s 31st.

    Seawriter

    Bishop Wilton Gregory (Archbishop of Atlanta) granted the traditional dispensation here, too. (-:

    • #10
    • March 17, 2017 at 6:52 am
    • Like4 likes
  11. Profile photo of Patrick McClure Member

    Percival (View Comment):
    Happy St. Paddy’s Day, Patrick.

    Or Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Paddy.

    Whichever way you want to play it.

    Padraig, Patrick, the same man no matter how you spell it.

    • #11
    • March 17, 2017 at 7:09 am
    • Like4 likes
  12. Profile photo of CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    Oh how I wish there were a way to wave a magic wand today and get rid of all the four-leaf clovers that people seem to think have something to do with St. Patrick or Ireland…

    GAHHHHH!!!!!

    • #12
    • March 17, 2017 at 7:11 am
    • Like3 likes
  13. Profile photo of Patrick McClure Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    As a Catholic in the archdiocese of NY, the patron saint of which is St. Patrick, I and my family always welcome his feast day as an opportunity to relax our Lenten fast!

    It’s also my second son’s birthday. Happy 18th Maxi!

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    It’s also my second son’s birthday. Happy 18th Maxi!

    My second son’s birthday, too. Except today is Bill’s 31st.

    Seawriter

    Please tell me each has Patrick as a middle name.

    • #13
    • March 17, 2017 at 7:11 am
    • Like2 likes
  14. Profile photo of CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    Sorry, my son is Max Francis. Named for two great-grandfathers. His Confirmation patron saint was Patrick, though.

    • #14
    • March 17, 2017 at 7:12 am
    • Like2 likes
  15. Profile photo of Henry Castaigne Member

    Irish Catholic culture (according to Angela’s Ashes) is about being Catholic while being poor and oppressed and marginalized. According to the book, it’s hard to imagine being Irish with the English leaving and good economy.

    It seems to me, a very different thing to love the Christ G-d without suffering.

    • #15
    • March 17, 2017 at 7:17 am
    • Like2 likes
  16. Profile photo of Paddy S Member
    Paddy S Post author

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    Irish Catholic culture (according to Angela’s Ashes) is about being Catholic while being poor and oppressed and marginalized. According to the book, it’s hard to imagine being Irish with the English leaving and good economy.

    It seems to me, a very different thing to love the Christ G-d without suffering.

    Be wary of Frank McCourt Henry the guy was a proven liar who deliberately made up stuff in Angela’s Ashes. The famous actor Richard Harris said this and he knew area well. As did one of Ireland’s good journalists Kevin Myers.

    • #16
    • March 17, 2017 at 7:21 am
    • Like4 likes
  17. Profile photo of CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    Angela’s Ashes is a compelling read, but it’s a novel dressed up as a memoir. 

    • #17
    • March 17, 2017 at 7:27 am
    • Like3 likes
  18. Profile photo of Seawriter Member

    Patrick McClure (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    It’s also my second son’s birthday. Happy 18th Maxi!

    My second son’s birthday, too. Except today is Bill’s 31st.

    Seawriter

    Please tell me each has Patrick as a middle name.

    Nope. His middle name is my first name. His first name is his maternal grandfather’s first name. My first name is my maternal grandfather’s first name and my middle name is my father’s first name. It is a tradition in my family.

    Seawriter

    • #18
    • March 17, 2017 at 7:40 am
    • Like3 likes
  19. Profile photo of Henry Castaigne Member

    Huh. I never thought that the book was memoir. I’m listening to it on audible and I thought it was just some guy’s interpretation of Irish life.

    Also, who in G-d’s name ever trusts an interesting story told by an Irishman?

    • #19
    • March 17, 2017 at 7:52 am
    • Like3 likes
  20. Profile photo of Phil Turmel Thatcher

    My wife is Patricia and my son’s middle name is Patrick. Name days (feast day of the saint one is named after) are a big thing in France, so my wife has always had an extra reason to celebrate.

    • #20
    • March 17, 2017 at 7:59 am
    • Like3 likes
  21. Profile photo of Nanda Panjandrum Thatcher

    Frank McCourt’s writing was always too cynical and dark for me. Christy Brown taught me a lot with a memoir, novels, and poetry.

    • #21
    • March 17, 2017 at 8:12 am
    • Like2 likes
  22. Profile photo of Seawriter Member

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):
    My wife is Patricia and my son’s middle name is Patrick. Name days (feast day of the saint one is named after) are a big thing in France, so my wife has always had an extra reason to celebrate.

    My third son’s middle name is John, which is the masculinized version of Quilter’s first name. Name days are a big thing in the Orthodox church, too, although it is generally the first name that gets the name day treatment.

    Seawriter

    • #22
    • March 17, 2017 at 8:14 am
    • Like3 likes
  23. Profile photo of CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    Frank McCourt’s writing was always too cynical and dark for me. Christy Brown taught me a lot with a memoir, novels, and poetry.

    Christy Brown, in case folks don’t know, was the writer who was portrayed on the big screen by Daniel Day Lewis in the movie My Left Foot.

    • #23
    • March 17, 2017 at 8:18 am
    • Like1 like
  24. Profile photo of Nanda Panjandrum Thatcher

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    Oh how I wish there were a way to wave a magic wand today and get rid of all the four-leaf clovers that people seem to think have something to do with St. Patrick or Ireland…

    GAHHHHH!!!!!

    Yup…It’s not a “Quaternity” after all, is it? 🙂

    • #24
    • March 17, 2017 at 10:04 am
    • Like2 likes
  25. Profile photo of Amy Schley Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    Oh how I wish there were a way to wave a magic wand today and get rid of all the four-leaf clovers that people seem to think have something to do with St. Patrick or Ireland…

    GAHHHHH!!!!!

    Have you ever seen St. Patrick’s Bad Analogies? It’s a tradition in our house:

    • #25
    • March 17, 2017 at 11:04 am
    • Like6 likes
  26. Profile photo of James Gawron Thatcher

    Paddy,

    Actually, this is the first version of the song I ever heard.

    I’m terribly confused.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #26
    • March 17, 2017 at 11:34 am
    • Like2 likes
  27. Profile photo of Lois Lane Coolidge

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    Also, who in G-d’s name ever trusts an interesting story told by an Irishman?

    Exactly. It’s a wonderful book.

    • #27
    • March 17, 2017 at 11:56 am
    • Like3 likes
  28. Profile photo of Susan Quinn Contributor

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Nope. His middle name is my first name. His first name is his maternal grandfather’s first name. My first name is my maternal grandfather’s first name and my middle name is my father’s first name. It is a tradition in my family.

    Seawriter

    I bet you can’t say that fast! 😉

    • #28
    • March 17, 2017 at 12:17 pm
    • Like3 likes
  29. Profile photo of Lily Bart Inactive

    • #29
    • March 17, 2017 at 12:19 pm
    • Like1 like
  30. Profile photo of Pilli Member

    Here’s to you Paddy! Sláinte!

    • #30
    • March 17, 2017 at 12:21 pm
    • Like2 likes
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