I love historyish things. When I’m not reading books about finance, it’s literally all I read. The definitive novel covering the entire history of Ireland is a two-book masterpiece, the Dublin Saga, by Edward Rutherford:
If you like James Michener’s historical novels, in which he brings a particular place from the distant past through the present with multi-generational stories of families, then you’ll like Rutherford’s books as well.
One of the first things you learn in the Dublin Saga is that St Patrick couldn’t have ridden Ireland of snakes because there never were any. You see, Ireland’s land mass became separated from England’s prior to the snakes having made their way there. This also explains why ivy plants cover almost every square inch of England but they’re not a feature of Ireland. The ivy and the snakes simply missed the boat prior to the split.
Anyway, let’s look at the true history of St Patrick via Miss Cellania’s Files over at Mental Floss:
Slave, traveler, evangelist, abolitionist, and saint. A scant 400 years after Jesus’ birth, the priest known as Patrick took the Great Commission seriously, to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth by converting the frightening barbarians of that scary outpost known as Ireland. Dates and details of Patrick’s life are somewhat ambiguous since written records from fifth-century Ireland are scarce. A lot of what we know comes from what little Patrick himself wrote, or from biographies written long after his time.
Saint Patrick was born Maewyn Succat in Britain (different sources say England, Scotland, or Wales) to Roman parents around AD 387. In his later ministry, he went by the name Patricius Daorbae which means Patrick who was once a slave.
When he was around 16 years old, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish marauders who sold him into slavery to a Druid herdsman named Milchu. Patrick remained in Ireland for six years. During this time, Patrick learned the Celtic language and became acquainted with the practices of the Druids.