Fionn Mac Niall (user1976) wrote in celts,
Fionn Mac Niall

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Saint Patrick's Day

Apart from the Church day of the feast of St. Patrick, here is some information about the man.

This is a day observed less in Ireland than in
the United States, Australia,
and other places with legions of Irish emigrants
and their descendants. In
the name of Ireland's patron saint, we march in
parades, drink pints of
tinted beer, cook corned beef and cabbage, and
wear a bit of green. But the
fact is that the man himself remains an enigma.

Patrick's history is riddled with
inconsistencies. Although there is no
official date on record, modern historians place
his birth at about 390 and
his death around 461 C.E. While he is arguably
the best-known Irishman, he
was actually born in Britain of Welsh and Breton
parents. It is said that
he was kidnapped as a teenager and taken in
slavery to Ireland where he
tended sheep and discovered his deep connection
to the country. He later
bargained for his freedom, returned to Britain
and studied Latin theology
until he could go back to Ireland as a
missionary. While known as the first
Irish bishop, he may well have appointed himself
to the position, and there
is even some question about his membership in the

Much has been made of Patrick's persuasive
personality, his ability to
preach, teach, and convert. It has even been
suggested that the snakes he
supposedly drove from Ireland were not serpents
at all, but Druids and other
pagans. In his book Drinking from the Sacred
Well, Celtic scholar John
Matthews urges us to consider Patrick in a
different light, to appreciate
him for honesty, strength of conviction, and
generosity to his converts.
Whatever the truths of Patrick's life, he
exemplifies a pivotal time in
Irish history as the old ways retreated into the
shadows, never to be
entirely lost, and the new ways transformed the

By the way, being a MacNiell is of great pride to me on this day in particular because of our connection. though it might not be solidly provable, most accounts have it as Niall Noigallagh (Niall of the nine hostages) who kidnapped Patrick. He is the one for whom the clan MacNiell is named.

Erin Go Bragh
Alba Go Bragh
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