Saint Patrick is one of the most famous saints of all time. Thousands of people with no direct Irish connection celebrate St Patrick’s Day, parading along the streets of New York, Boston, Chicago, San Antonio, Texas and Sydney, Australia, where St Patrick’s Day is a national holiday. All of which is the continuation of the cult of St Patrick, which has persisted in different forms since his death on 17 March, 462AD. But who was St Patrick, and how much of what we know about him is fact, how much legend? This book looks at the historical man and the evidence of his writings, the apocryphal legends, the myth and the process that led in the 18th century to his emergence as a symbol of Irish nationalism. A study of the iconography of St Patrick reveals a sharp distinction between the elderly bishop portrayed in Catholic churches, and the vigorous young Roman of the Protestant tradition. The author also visits the various sites of pilgrimage associated with the saint, including Croagh Patrick and Station Island.
‘This is a most entertaining book on one of the world’s best-known national patron saints.’ Brendan OhEithir, Sunday Press
‘Marvellous…a new insight into our national identity’ Irish Times
‘An illuminating account of one of the world’s best known saints’ Belfast Telegraph
‘One of the most engaging insights into the Irish national psyche’ Yorkshire Post