The story of St. Patrick


Patrick lived in a quiet village on the west coast of Britain. One morning Patrick and his family were awoken by loud war-cries. Pirates that had come from Ireland were attacking. The pirates ran through the village burning houses and killing people. They dragged Patrick and other boys and girls back to their ship and as quickly as they had come, they set sail again for Ireland.

When the pirates reached Ireland, Patrick and the others were tied together. Rich farmers walked among them, picking out the strongest to work as their slaves. Patrick was sold to a farmer named Milchiu who lived in county Antrim. Patrick’s job was to mind Milchiu’s sheep and pigs on the slopes of Slieve Mis.

Life was very hard for Patrick. He was homesick and lonely. The people in Ireland spoke Irish, which was a language he did not understand. The Irish people were also pagans who believed in the gods and goddesses of the Celtic legends. Patrick was Christian. His faith was very important to him and as he watched over the animals he would pray. As the years went by Patrick learned to speak the Irish language. Patrick spent six years on Slieve Mis. Then one night he had a strange dream. A voice urged him to escape his live as a slave and return to his own country. Patrick made his way to the seashore and hid on a cargo ship. He eventually found his way back to his family who were overjoyed to see him.

Patrick lived happily at home for many years. Then one night he had a dream about the people in Ireland calling him to return to teach them about God. Patrick left his family and travelled to France where he studied for many years to become a priest. Later he was made a bishop and then with the permission of Pope Celestine, he returned to Ireland.

Patrick set up his first church near the town of Downpatrick. The high king in Ireland at that time was Laoire. He lived at Tara. Every Easter the pagan priests or druids lit a fire on the hill of Tara to honour their gods. The same night Patrick and his followers lit a fire on a nearby hill to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. When the high king saw Patrick’s fire he was filled with rage. He sent for the person who had lit the fire. Patrick came to Tara to face the high king and the druids. They listened to Patrick as he explained to them with the use of a shamrock, how there is three persons in one God. Many of those who heard Patrick became Christians. Laoire did not, but he gave Patrick permission to preach wherever he wished.

Patrick spent about thirty years in Ireland. He along with his other priests travelled throughout Ireland. They baptised people, ordained priests and set up churches. Before Patrick began preaching in Ireland there were only a few Christians. By the time of his death most of Ireland had become Christian. Saint Patrick is now the patron saint of Ireland and his feast day is celebrated on the 17th of March.