Saturday, 25 March 2017

Saint Patrick - 'A Unique Voice from the Dawn of Irish History'

Today is the Octave Day of the Feast of Saint Patrick and thus brings to an end of the series of posts based on the work of modern scholar Dáibhí Ó Cróinín. I hope you will agree that he has raised some very interesting questions about the career of our national apostle and we shall give him the last word on the importance of Saint Patrick and his writings:
It is possible that Patrick's later dominant position in Irish tradition owes as much to the fact of a popular belief that he was the first Christian missionary of note (and a missionary of the people at that) as to the fact that it was his writings (and not any of Palladius's) that survived.
Ó Cróinín goes on to refer to the censorship of those writings at Armagh but finishes with a glowing tribute:
Thankfully, the full text of the Confession and the Letter survived intact in other copies, and remains to this day, as the testimony of a remarkable man, a unique voice from the dawn of Irish history, whose life and career were probably unparalleled and whose account of that time is one of the most remarkable documents of human expertise.

Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, 'Saint Patrick', in A .J. Hughes and W. Nolan, eds., Armagh: History and Society - Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County (Dublin, 2001), 58.

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