St. Patrick – Come Walk in His Irish Footsteps

Have a look at these Irish places where Saint Patrick walked in Ireland - maybe you have already been to one or two of them? If not, they are beautiful places and well worth a visit in the future.

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St. Patrick – Come Walk in His Irish Footsteps

This week sees the celebration of Saint Patrick’s day here in Ireland and in many places with a strong Irish connection around the world. Maybe you will attend a Saint Patrick’s day parade or celebration in your own part of the world? 

I thought it would be fun to take you on a tour today around the places in Ireland where Saint Patrick is said to have walked and lived during his life. Would you enjoy that?

Come Walk in St. Patrick’s Footsteps.

The story goes that in the 5th century, Saint Patrick was abducted as a boy from his home in Roman Britain and sold as a slave to an Irish landowner. After spending some years in Ireland, he escaped back home to Britain but had a vision to return to Ireland as a missionary priest. He did just that and over the following number of years he traveled around Ireland – converting kings, chieftains and the plain people of Ireland to Christian ways. He is thought to have died on March 17th, year unknown and so we have that date dedicated to the Saint and all things Irish every year.

Over the course of his travels in Ireland, Patrick became associated with many places across the island of Ireland. So, today let’s go on a tour around just some of those places mentioned in the books covering the Saint’s life. Maybe you can include one or two in your own future tour of Ireland – or maybe you have visited one or two already?

Here are just some of the places in Ireland that Patrick is believed to have walked, lived and worshiped:

Killala Bay, County Mayo.

Following Patrick’s initial capture by raiders, it is believed that he was sold to a sheep farmer near Killala Bay, at a place called Fochil (near the village of Killalla). Hard to tell if this is actually true. He is also said to have been a shepherd in County Antrim. This is a beautiful part of the world and well worth a visit on your “Saint Patrick’s Tour of Ireland!

The Islands off Skerries Town, County Dublin.

We start our tour just north of Dublin city. When Patrick returned to Ireland to become a missionary he landed at the islands just off the coast of the town of Skerries in north county Dublin. One of those islands still retains the name of “Inishpatrick” (Patrick’s island)  today.

Saul Monastery, County Down.

Next, we travel north to County Down – just north-east of the town of Downpatrick. It was there in a place that became known as Saul (this comes from the Irish for “Barn” – “Sabhall”) Monastery – that Patrick founded his first church –  donated to him by a local chieftain.  Nearby a  local hill called Slieve Patrick houses a giant statue of Patrick. 

Croagh Patrick, County Mayo.

Croagh Patrick is an iconic mountain that rises out of Clew Bay near the town of Westport in County Mayo. It is claimed that Patrick climbed the mountain and fasted on its summit for forty days of Lent. As a result, the mountain attracts thousands of pilgrims who make the trek to the top throughout the year – but especially on the last Sunday of each July.

Lough Derg, east of Donegal town, County Donegal.

Patrick killed a large serpent on this lake in County Donegal – and its blood turned the water red (“Derg” comes from the Irish for “red” – “dearg”). It has been an unbroken tradition for over a thousand years for pilgrims to spend 72 hours fasting and praying here on Station Island.

Hill of Slane, County Meath.

Next we travel south to County Meath and close to the village of Slane we find the Hill of Slance. It was here that Patrick lit a christian Paschal fire on this hilltop in 433 in defiance of the pagan High King Laoire. It was here also that he is believed to have explained the Holy Trinity using the shamrock.

Armagh, County Armagh.

We travel north again to the city of Armagh where Patrick founded his primary church. As a result, Armagh is today the primary seat of both the Irish Catholic Church as well as  the Protestant Church of Ireland. Both cathedrals face each other across hill tops and are both named after Patrick.

Downpatrick, County Down (from Irish: Dún Pádraig, meaning ‘Patrick’s fort’).

For our final stop (and Patrick’s final stop) we make our way back to close to where Patrick established his first monastery in Saul. In the town of Downpatrick you will find what is believed to be the final resting place of Patrick,  just outside Down cathedral. I’ve included a recent picture at the top of this post.

So, that’s a tour of just some of the places associated with Saint Patrick in Ireland that you may wish to include in a future visit to Ireland. Why not see if you can find some of them on Google Maps?

Be the stories of Saint Patrick’s presence in these locations true or false, I think you will find that each place has a very special spiritual feel and is worth the visit for that reason alone.

I’d like to leave you now with an old Irish blessing for Saint Patrick’s day:

May your days be many and your troubles be few.

May all God’s blessings descend upon you.

May peace be within you, may your heart be strong.

May you find what you’re seeking wherever you roam.

That’s it for this week. As always, feel free to share the Irish surname and stories in your family. In the meantime, I wish you and your family a: 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day – “Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig dhuit”!

(pronounced “ban-okt-tee nah fayla pawdrig gwit”).

Mike & Carina.

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