croagh patrick ☘

Being the namesake of an Irish saint like Saint Patrick is a heavy burden. Especially on St Paddy’s Day. But it’s a Celtic cross I must bear. I do so with great pride… mixed with humor and craic!

A few fun facts on St Patrick: he was a Brit. Pagan Irish raiders captured him. They enslaved him for six years in the early 5th century, having him tend sheep near Killala, County Mayo. There he learned the Irish language and traditions. He was an irreligious boy until his indenture, then found god. He escaped captivity and returned to Britain where he studied for 15 years and became a priest. The Church sent him back to Ireland to convert the pagan population.

Patrick was smart. To facilitate conversions, he incorporated pagan cultural traditions like honoring the gods with bonfires at Easter celebrations. He superimposed the sun, another powerful pagan symbol, on the Christian cross – the now famous Celtic cross – to ease its veneration. All the other myths are bunk. There were never snakes in Ireland to begin with. And interestingly he was never formally canonized by the Catholic Church.

Croagh Patrick is the most holy mountain in Ireland. St. Patrick notably spent 40 days fasting at the summit. And pilgrims hike the steep slopes to this day to honor him, another tradition that dates back nearly 5,000 years to pagan times when it was climbed to celebrate the harvest. The views over Clew Bay are simply spectacular.

Happy St Paddy’s! Sláinte! ☘☘🍻

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