Patrick gives no dates whatsoever in either his Confession or his Letter. 432 was simply taken over from the chronology of Palladius..stated by Prosper to have been sent to Ireland by Pope Celestine in 431. Later Irish historians (from the seventh century on), puzzled by the subsequent silence in the historical sources concerning Palladius, concluded that the vacuum in the narrative would best be filled by bringing Patrick to Ireland as soon after AD 431 as possible. Hence AD 432 became the 'official' date of his arrival, and the date was entered retrospectively into the Irish annals. Once that date had become enshrined in Irish historical tradition, it was almost impossible to shift it.
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), 56.
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