Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Mountains of Patrick

There are two mountains in Ireland that played an important part in the life of St Patrick, two isolated peaks, strangely and more than coincidentally similar in shape, not connected with any chain, one on the east coast, the other on the west, rising starkly from the plain. They are today exactly as they were when Patrick knew them. On the slopes of one, Mount Slemish, Patrick the boy slave once herded sheep and swine for a master. On the peak of the other, Mount Aigli, now Croagh Patrick, he may well have retired to meditate. 
It is a curious feature of both these mountains when approached from the south that each resembles a cone or pyramid, each has a small extension or fore-peak, and each, when one approaches more closely and finds oneself alongside it, changes its aspect to a kind of round, hump-backed mountain, something like an inverted bowl, though Croagh Patrick remains more pointed at the top than Slemish, and is slightly more than a thousand feet higher.  
... The Mountains of Miss and Aigli have looked upon the labours of Patrick and, too, upon Patrick himself, the steadfast man.

Paul Gallico, The Steadfast Man - A Life of Saint Patrick, (London, 1958), 165-166, 176.

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