Who was the real Saint Patrick?

Discover the myths behind the Irish patron saint

What do you know about Saint Patrick? Probably his greatest stunts: walking barefoot up a mountain, turning his walking stick into a living tree, driving all the snakes out of Ireland, baptising hundreds of people in a single day.

The reality is much more interesting. From his capture at age 16 by Irish raiders to his creation of the Celtic cross, the legacy of Saint Patrick is woven throughout the culture and landscape of the Emerald Isle.

From British teen to Irish slave

The real St Patrick was a Brit, born somewhere near the end of the fourth century. His father was a Christian deacon and Patrick had a wealthy upbringing. But at age 16, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and taken back to Co Mayo, on Ireland’s west coast, to work as a shepherd. And a pretty as rural Ireland remains today, it’s still easy to imagine how isolated he must have felt as he tended sheep with no human company, sleeping outdoors often with little or no food.

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