Saint Patrick: Commentary


Muirchú, Bethu Pathraic
Tírechán’s Vita Patricii
Bishop Secundus
Acallam na Senórach
Giraldus Cambrensis
Patrick Lynch [Rev]
James Henthorn Todd
Whitley Stokes
George T. Stokes
Standish H. O’Grady
Standish J. O’Grady
William Butler Yeats
William Bullen Morris
Thos. Crofton Croker
Rev. Sylvester Malone
Samuel Beckett
John Philip Cohane
Seán de Fréine
Alannah Hopkin
Charles Doherty
Joseph Nagy


Annála Ríoghachta Eireann/Annals of the Four Masters, compiled by Micheál Ó Cleirigh, et al.; ed. John O’Donovan (1848- 51).

Aois Criost, ceithre ched triocha a dó.
An ceathramhadh bliadhain do Laoghaire.
Pattraic do theacht i n-Erinn an bliadhain-si, go ro gabh for baitseadh & beannachaigh Ereann, fiora mna, maca, & ing e na, cénmótá uathadh na ro fhaomh baitsiodh na creideamh uadh, amhuil aisnedheas a bheatha.
[...]

 
—See electronic copy at CELT - online; accessed 29.10.2011.


See the account of St. Patrick in Mary Cusack (Nun of Kenmare), An Illustrated History of Ireland, 400AD to 1800 (1868) - attached.

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Muirchú moccu Machení, Bethu Phadraic [‘Life of St. Patrick’], in The Tripartite Life - Preface: ‘Considering, my Lord Aed, that many have attempted to write this story coherently according to the traditions of their fathers and of those who were ministers of the Word from the beginning, but that the great difficulties which the telling of the story presents, and the conflicting opinions and many doubts voiced by many a person have prevented them from ever arriving at one undisputed sequence of events I might well say that, like boys making their first appearance in the assembly (to quote a familiar saying of ours), I have taken my little talent - a boy’s paddle-boat, as it were - out on this deep and perilous sea of sacred narrative, where waves boldly swell to towering heights among rocky reefs in unknown waters, [a sea] on which so far no boat has ventured except the one of my [spiritual] father Cogitosus. However, far from giving the impression that I want to make something big out of something small, I shall [merely] attempt to set forth, bit by bit and step by step, these few of the numerous deeds of holy Patrick, with little knowledge [of traditional lore], on uncertain authority, from an unreliable memory, feebly and in poor style, but with the pious affection of holy love, in obedience to the command of your sanctity and authority […] (See longer extracts in Ricorso Library > “Irish Classics”, via index or direct.)

Patrician prophecy: A prophecy of the coming of St. Patrick is put in the mouths of the druids in narrative of Muirchú [older variant translation]: ‘Adzehead will come over a furious sea; / his mantle head-holed, his staff crooked-headed / His altar in the east of his house / All his household shall answer / Amen, Amen!’ (version of Muirchu; see Liber Hymnorum, ed. Whitley Stokes, 1866, p.100; and Stokes, ed., Tripartite Life, 1887, p.35; ‘Adzehead will come / Over the mad-crested sea / his cloak hole-headed / His staff crooked-headed, / His table in the east of his house; / He will chant impiety / From his table / And all his household will respond, “Amen, Amen”’ (Quoted in Oliver St John Gogarty, I Follow St. Patrick, 1938, p.136.)

Variant trans.: ‘Adzehead will come / Over the mad-crested sea / his cloak hole-headed / His staff crooked-headed,/His table in the east of his house; / He will chant impiety / From his table / And all his household will respond, “Amen, Amen”’ (As quoted in Oliver St John Gogarty, I Follow St. Patrick, 1938, p.136.) Cf., version given by Muirchu (Tripartite Life): ‘Adzehead will come over a furious sea; / his mantle head-holed, his staff crooked-headed / His altar in the east of his house / All his household shall answer/ Amen, Amen!’ (Given in Bernards & Atkinson, eds., Liber Hymnorum, ed. Whitley Stokes, 1866, p.100; see also Stokes, ed., Tripartite Life, 1887, p.35.)

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Acallamh na Senorach /Colloquy of the Ancients
Agallamh Oisin agus Phadraig / Colloquy of Oisin and Patrick’
Oisin: ‘I have heard music sweeter far/Than hymns and psalms of clerics are;/ The blackbird’s pipe on Letterlea,/The Dord Finn’s wailing melody./The thrush’s song of Gleanna-Scál,/The hound’s deep bay at twilight’s fall,/The barque’s sharp grating on the shore,/Than cleric’s chants delight me more.’ (Cited in Robert Hogan, ed., Dictionary of Irish Literature, 1979, p.27.)
 
‘Two angels gave the following advice to to St. Patrick on his meeting Caoilte and hearing his stories [viz., ]: “Dear holy cleric, these old warriors tell you no more than a third of their stories because their memories are faulty. Have these stories written down on poets” tablets in refined language, so that the hearing of them will provide entertainment for he lords and commons of later times.’ (Dooley/Roe Toronto translation.)

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Muirchú moccu Machení, Bethy Phadraic [‘Life of St. Patrick’], in The Tripartite Life (on Patrick at Tara): ‘It came to pass in that year that on the same night as the Holy Patrick was celebrating Easter, there was an idolatrous ceremony which the gentiles were accustomed to celebrate with manifold incantations and magical contrivances and with other idolatrous superstitions, when the kings, satraps, chieftains, princes and great ones of the people had assembled, and when the druids, singers, prophets, and the inventors and practitioners of every art and of every gift had been summoned to Loigaire, as once to king Nabcodonossor, at Tara, their Babylon.’

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Tírechán’s Life of St Patrick (in The Tripartite Life): Tírechán’s account of Patrick’s journeys describes the impression that Patrick made on the daughter of Lóegaire mac Néill [Laoghaire/King Leary]: ‘Et quocumque essent aut quacumque forma aut quacumque plebe aut quacumque regione non cognouerunt, sed illos uiros side aut deorum terrenorum aut fantassiam estimauerunt ‘And they did not know whence they were or of what shape or from what people or from what region, but thought they were men of the other world [30] or earth-gods or a phantom’. One of the girls asks: ‘Who is God and where is God and whose God is he and where is his dwelling-place? Has your God sons and daughters, gold and silver? Is he ever-living, is he beautiful, have many fostered his son, are his daughters dear and beautiful in the eyes of the men of the earth? Is he in the sky or in the earth or in the water, in rivers, in mountains, in valleys? Give us an account of him; how shall he be seen, how is he loved, how is he found, is he found in youth, in old age?’ And St. Patrick replies: ‘Our God is the God of all men, the God of heaven and earth, of the sea and the rivers, God of the sun and the moon and all the stars, the God of high mountains and low valleys; God above heaven and in heaven and under heaven, he has his dwelling in heaven and earth and sea and in everything that is in them; he breathes in all things, makes all things live, surpasses all things, supports all things; he illumines the light of the sun, he consolidates the light of the night and the stars, he has made wells in the dry earth and dry islands in the sea and stars for the service of the major lights. He has a son, coeternal with him, similar to him; the Son is not younger than the Father nor is the Father older than the Son, and the Holy Spirit breathes in them; the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are not separate.’ (Bieler, Patrician texts, 142-3: 31-32; quoted in Charles Doherty, ‘Kingship In Early Ireland’, in Tara: A Study of an Exceptional Kingship and Landscape, ed. Edel Bhreathnach (Dublin: Discovery Programme 2005), pp.6-7.

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Bishop Secundus: ‘Steadfast, in the fear of God, and in faith unshaken / Upon him, as upon Peter, the Church is built. / His apostleship he hath received from God. / Against him the gates of hell prevail not. // Christ chose for Himself to be His vicar on earth, / Who from twofold slavery doth set captives free; / Of whom very many he redeems from slavery to men, / Countless numbers he releases from the dominion of the devil.’ (Given in J. H. Bernards, DD, & R. Atkinson, LLD, eds., The Irish Liber Hymnorum Bradshaw Soc. 1898); also trans., G. F. Hamilton, 1918. See Newport White, op. cit. 1920, pp.23-24, who he writes: an adulatory hymn by Bishop Secundus, trad. [but apocryphally] called Patrick’s nephew, in which the steadfastness and chastity of Patrick are noted along with other tokens of good example to the newly-converted, as well has his bodily wounds like those of Christ, but in which his failure to encourage gifts to the church in the name of charity is somewhat aspersed; this hymn was ordered to be sung continuously throughout his feast day; made to make peace with Patrick, it is believed to have elicited from him a promise that anyone who sings the last three capitula at night and morning will receive the grace of salvation.

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Acallam na Senórach [Colloquy of the Ancients], late 12th c. MS compilation of materials from the Fionn cycle; tells how Oisín son of Fionn and Caoilte son of Ronán, last surviving warriors of the Fianna, emerge from the Fews Mountains, each accompanied by nine warriors; Caoilte finds St. Patrick blessing Fionn’s burial mound at Druim Derg; Patrick exorcises the warriors making legions of devils flee from them; Patrick and Caoilte go on circuit around Ireland, southwards then westwards; Caoilte narrates the dinnshenchas [lore of places] as they go; Patrick’s guardian angels reassure him about the pagan stories and instruct him to record them for future generations; the circuit ends in the court of highking Diarmait mac Cerbaill at Tara, where Oisín has already arrived; at the Feast of Tara (Feis Temrach) Caoilte and Oisin narrate the deeds of the Fianna; the version in was edited and translated by Standish Hayes O’Grady in Silva Gadelica (1892); a superior text in Laud 610 (BLM) was edited by Whitley Stokes in Irische Texte IV, Part I (1900); see also Nessa Ní Shéaghdha, ed., Agallamh na Seanórach, 3 vols (1942-45). [Oxford Companion to Irish Literature.]

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Giraldus Cambrensis, Topographia: ‘There is a lake on the bounds of Ulster containing a double island. The one part has a church of approved religion. It is very lovely and beautiful. It has been made incomparably glorious by the visitation of Angels and the visible throng of the local Saints. The one part has nine Pits, in any of which, should someone dare to spend the night (which has been proved and recorded of daring men at times), he is immediately seized by evil spirits and is tortured all night with such heavy pains, and tormented so incessantly with so many grievous and unspeakable torments of fire and water, that with morning there is scarcely any or only the dregs of life surviving in his wretched body. They say that if anyone endures these torments under an injunction of penance, he will not undergo any further pains in the world below unless he has committed fresh sins. The place is called St. Patrick’s Purgatory by the natives.’ See Brian de Breffny, In the Steps of St. Patrick (London: Thames and Hudson 1982), pp.112, who further notes that the story was embellished by Henry of Saltrey in Tractatus de Purgatorio S. Patricii, and grew to immense popularity, a modified version appearing also in Roger of Wendover’s Flores Historiarum (1188), the same being included in Mathew Paris’s Chronica Majora, as well as being translated in rhyme by Marie de France as L’Espurgatoire de Seint Patriz in c.1190.[Note variant translation of same in Michael Dames, Mythic Ireland, cited under Giraldus Cambrensis, supra.] Cont.

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Giraldus Cambrensis, Topographia - cont.: ‘Patrick, Britannic by birth, a man distinguished for his life and holiness, arrived in this island, and, finding the people given to idolatry and deluded by various errors, was the first by the aid of divine grace, to preach and plant there the Christian faith. He baptised the people, whole crowds at a time, and, the entire island having been converted to the Faith of Christ, chose Armagh as his see. He made this place a kind of metropolis and special seat for the primacy of the whole of Ireland. He also appointed bishops in suitable places, so that, having been called to share his responsibility, they should water what he had planted’; (Giraldus Cambrensis, Topography; quoted in Alannah Hopkin, The Living Legend of St Patrick, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1989; O’Meara trans., History and Topography of Ireland, Harmondsworth 1982); Hopkin goes on to remark that Giraldus purported to see little evidence of the practice of Christianity at the time of writing, showing in the next section but one, entitled ‘The Irish are ignorant of the rudiments of the Faith’, how pre-Christian practices persisted under nominal adherence. (Hopkin, p.76.)

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[Patrick Lynch], The Life of Saint Patrick, / Apostle of Ireland: / to which is added [...] the Celebrated Hymn / composed [...] by his disciple, Saint Fiech (Dublin: H. Fitzpatrick 1810) - Chap. I—

‘Among the manifold means employed by the Almighty for extending the empire of his holy religion over the western parts of Europe, few indeed appear more singularly providential and striking than that of making the sequestered islands of EIRE, the seat of arts, sciences, and civilization; and thus pre-disposing the natives for receiving the soul-saving truth of the gospel. Many concurring circumstances tended to promote the advancement and facilitate the completely [1] of that most happy event. Since the illustrious Ollav Fola, Ollamh Fodla, who was nearly cotemporary with Licurgus, the renowned legislators of Sparta, instituted wholesome laws, for limiting the powers of the monarch, and restraining the licentiousness of the subject, the people at large became more civilised, courteous and polite. To him Ireland is, under heaven, indebted for establishing triennial parliaments at TARA, discriminating the various orders of society into distinct classes, and erecting seminaries for acquiring a perfect knowledge in the sciences of physic, philosophy, heraldry, and music.
  ‘The long interval of prosperity and peace enjoyed by the people of this Isle, till the mission of our apostle, was a blessing which the Author of Life and Source of Salvation intended, no doubt, as another grand mean for facilitating the propagation of the gospel here. For six centuries antecedently to the introduction of christianity, history records no more than six or seven provincial insurrections, with scarcely as many [2] general engagements, without any attack or invasion from abroad.
 ‘During this tranquil period we find the national institutes uniformly conducted and governed by Druidic professors. Here, as well as in Gaul and Britain, druids had the management of sacrifices, and were entrusted with the decision of controversies, both public and private; nay, so great was their power and influence, that such as abided not by their judicial verdicts were interdicted from being present at their religious rites, a powerful and grievous punishment in those days. It is abundantly testified that the druids were eminently distinghuished for profound learning; and consequently superior to the superstitious and grossly ignorant priests of the heathens. They believed in one God, in the immortality of the soul, and that men were after death to be rewarded according tot heir actions during mortal life. The austerity of their lives, and the prudence and policy with which they regulated their own order, gained them the veneration and respect of the people. [3] They had provincial conferences annually, and also assembled as a constituent part of the triennial conference of Tarah.’

For longer extracts, see attached.]

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James Henthorn Todd, DD, Life of Saint Patrick: Apostle of Ireland [Snr. fellow TCD, Regius Prof. Hebrew, &c. (Dublin: Hodges Smith & Co., 1864 [printed by Spottiswoode, London]), 538pp., with index [from 516]; ‘the only way of reconciling these statements is by supposing that Bonevem Taberniae and Nempthur were different names for the same place; or that nemthur was a fort or town, as one of the biographers tells us it was, in the region of Bonavem Taberniae. Of such a region, however, we have no information [357]; Lanigan’s conjecture that Bononia Tarvannae, or Tarabannae, was intended, and that the place so designated is now Boulogne sur mer, however ingenious, is contrary to all the antient traditions on the subject. [ftn. Lanigan, p.93, sq; ‘supports this theory with very great plausibility and learning’] [358]; Lanigan [on Patrick crying ‘Helias’] ‘This will, I believe, be admitted to be a sufficient proof, that St. Patrick considered the invocation of the saints as commendable and salutary’, Vol. i, p.155; quotes dream of St. Patrick: ‘how it came into my mind to call out Helias I know not, but at that moment I saw the sun rising in the heavens, and whilst I called out Helias! Helias! with all my might, lo, the brightness of the sun fell upon me and straightway removed all the weight.’ [370]; The true reading of the passage is probably not Elias, or Helias, or the Sun, but Eli, ‘my God’; which the copyists, not being able to understand, made Helias. [317]; Hebrew name of God ‘not unknown to the Irish’ [371; cont.]

James Henthorn Todd (Life of Saint Patrick: Apostle of Ireland, 1864) - cont.: The Feis at Tara described by Eochaid O’Flynn, d. ad 984; Keating records this event as following Patrick’s tour of Munster; ‘it is in fact the last event noticed by him in his Life of King Laoghaire’ [418]; Tirechan says he had himself seen the stone [on which the brains of Lochru are dashed out], and that it lay in the south east boundaries, meaning apparenty of the Palace of Tara: ‘Et est lapis illius in oris australibus orientalibusque usque in peresentem diem, et conspeci illum occulis meis. Book of Armagh, fol. 10, a, b.) [ftn. 423]; ‘We may not err very much in taking this Hymn as a fair representation of St. Patrick’s faith and teaching. [432]; Annals of Ulster: ‘Patricius archipostulus Scotorum quievit cxx anno aetatis sue: lx a quo venit ad Hiberniam anno ad baptizandos Scotos; but also records under the entry for the preceeding year that ‘The Scoti supposed the year 491 to have been the date of St. Patrick’s death: ‘Dicunt Scoiti his Patricium archiepiscopum defunctum’ [496]; Concurs with Ussher in accepting obit. 493 but sees the date of his arrival as more of a problem and the ‘real cause of the legends referred to, and of the confusion which exists in the chronology of his life.’ [498]; Todd writes: ‘In reviewing the history of St. Patrick’s missionary labours, we are struck by the fact that he appears to have always addressed himself in the first instance to the kings and chieftains … At Tara he attacked Paganism at its headquarters, and succeeded in attaining from King Laoghaire a reluctant toleration of his ministry, an outward profession, at least, of Christianity. […’; cont.]

James Henthorn Todd (Life of Saint Patrick: Apostle of Ireland, 1864) - cont.: ‘This policy may have been pursued by St. Patrick as much from necessity as form a knowledge of the character and habits of the people. The chieftain once secured, the clan, as a matter of course, were disposed to follow in his steps. To attempt the conversion of the clan, in opposition to the will of the chieftain, would have probably have been to rush upon inevitable death, or at least [498] the risk of violent expulsion from the district. […] /This was the secret of the rapid success attributed to St Patrick’s preaching in Ireland. The chieftains were at first the real converts. The baptism of the chieftain was immediately followed by the adhesion of the clan. [… 499]; In this policy, also, we may perceive the cause of that spirit of toleration which he seems to have shewn towards the old superstitions…. it was only in some rare instances that he ventured upon the destruction of an idol, or the removal of a pillar-stone. Sometimes he contented himself with inscribing upon such stones the sacred names or symbols of Christianity … “nothing is clearer,” says Dr. O’Donovan [Four Masters, ad.432, note, p.131] than that Patrick engrafted Christianity on the Pagan superstitions with so much skill that he won the people over to the Christian religion before they understood the exact difference between the two systems of belief; and much of this half Pagan, half Christian religion will be found not only in the Irish stories of the middle ages, but in the superstitions of peasantry to the present day.’ [500; cont.]

James Henthorn Todd (Life of Saint Patrick: Apostle of Ireland, 1864) - cont.: ‘But the extent of St Patrick’s success, as well as the rapidity of his conquests, has been greatly overrated by our popular historians. “While, in other countries,” says Mr Moore, “the introduction of Christianity has been the slow work of time, has been resisted by either governments or people, and seldom effected without a lavish effusion of blood; in Ireland, on the contrary, by the influence of one humble but zealous missionary, and with little previous preparation of the soil by other hands, Christianity burst forth, at the first ray of apostolic light, and with the sudden ripeness of a northern summer, at once covered the whole land.” [Moore, History of Ireland, i, p.203; cf. Abbé MacGeoghegan: On peut dire avec verite, que nulle autre nation dans toute la chretiennete ne recut les nouvelles du royaume de Dieu, et la foi de Jesus Christ, avec tand de joie’, Hist. d’Irlande, i, 262] [501] … /Unhappily, a deeper insight into the facts of [501] Irish history effaces much of this pleasing picture. It is not true that no blood was shed. [examples follow] … The catalogue of the three orders [502] of Irish saints, and many passages in the Book of Armagh, afford undoubted proofs that all ireland did not submit to Patrick’s influence; and the partial apostasy which took place during the two centuries following his death, is a convincing evidence that the Christianity he had planted did not strike its roots as deeply as has been popularly supposed. An adhesion to Christianity, which was in a great measure only the attachment of a clan to its chieftain, and in which Pagan usages, under a Christian name, were of necessity tolerated could not, in the nature of things, be very lasting.’ [Cont.]

James Henthorn Todd (Life of Saint Patrick: Apostle of Ireland, 1864) - cont.: ‘Many of the foundations of St Patrick appear to have had the effect of counteracting this evil, by creating a sort of spiritual clanship, well calculated to attract clannish people, and capable of maintaining itself against the power of secular chieftains. But this was perhaps an accidental result only; it was certainly not the primary design of these institutions. St Patrick had a much higher object in view. He seems to have been deeply imbued with faith in the intercessory powers of the Church…. [Speaks of oratories and foundations] The religious societies thus established did not always exclude from their benefits the weaker sex, and were not, perhaps, in the modern sense of the word, strictly speaking monasteries [504] / … In every case, however, it is evident that the spirit of clanship was engrafted on the institutions of the Church. This, in the earlier ages of Christianity in Ireland, tended to protect the monastic societies from outrage and plunder, as well as to spread their influence amongst the people…. The state of society rendered it practically impossible to maintain the Christian life, except under some monastic rule….. No man could call his life or property, his wife or children, his own; and yet, such is the inconsistency of human nature, the people clung to their chieftains and their clan with a fidelity and an affection which continue to the present day. Hence the spirit of clanship readily transferred itself to the monastery. [… &c.; 505]. […] That a pagan literature existed in Ireland before the coming of St Patrick, and that some of that literature is still preserved, is highly probable. Several fragments of very high antiquity, and having internal evidence of a pagan origin, are to be found among the remains of the Brehon laws. But we are now concerned only with the fact that St Patrick appears to have taught letters and alphabets, whatever that may imply, with the express purpose of preparing his converts from holy orders. The priests and bishops to whom he left the important duty of continuing his work, were in almost every instance, as we have already observed, natives of Ireland; and the monastic or collegiate churches established by him were founded with the double object of providing ecclesiastical education, and of keeping up on the Church the perpetual supplications … which the apostle commanded as a duty, the “first of all”.’ [Cont.]

James Henthorn Todd (Life of Saint Patrick: Apostle of Ireland, 1864) - cont.: ‘Hence it was in Ireland Christianity became [514] at once a national institution. It was not looked upon as coming from foreigners, or as representing the manners and civilisation of a foreign nation. Its priests and bishops, the successors of St Patrick, were many of them descendents of the antient [sic] kings and chieftains so venerated by a clannish people … / On the whole, the biographers of St Patrick, notwithstanding the admixture of much fable, have pourtrayed [sic] in his character the features of a great and judicious missionary. He seems to have made himself “all things” in accordance with the apostolic injunction, to the rude and barbarous tribes of Ireland. He dealt tenderly with their usages and prejudices. Although he sometimes felt it necessary to overturn their idols, and on some occasions risked his life, he was guilty of no offensive or unnecessary iconoclasm. A native himself of [514] another country, he adopted the language of the Irish tribes, and conformed to their political institutions. By his judicious management, the Christianity which he founded became self-supporting. It was endowed by the chieftains without any foreign aid. It was supplied with priests and prelates by the people themselves; and its fruits were soon seen in that wonderful stream of zealous missionaries, the glory of the Irish Church, who went forth in the sixth and seventh centuries, to evangelise the barbarians of central Europe. In a word, the example and success of St Patrick have bequeathed to us this lesson, that the great object of the missionary bishop should be to establish among the heathen the true and unceasing worship of God’s Church and to supply that Church with a native ministry.’ [End; 515.] NOTE, that Ardill [p.17] regards J. H. Todd as the most influential writer of Patrick, but not free from ‘preconceived ideas’, quoting his assertion that the fact that Christianity believed in demons, and that for Patrick the ‘equipment of superstition’ and ‘exorcists in his train’ were ‘not unimportant [in] going forth to persuade the heathen [Todd, 77; Ardill, 17.]

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Whitley Stokes, ed., The Tripartite Life of Patrick (1887): Intro., ‘This book contains the three Irish homilies on Patrick son of Calpurn, which are commonly called the Tripartite Life of St. Patrick, together wth such other ancient documents as seemed likely to elucidate his biography. The text of the Tripartite Life is now for the first time printed, though two versions of it have been published, namely a Latin one by the learned Franciscan friar, John Colgan, in his Triadas Thaumaturgae … Acta, Lovanii, 1647, and an English one by Mr. [sic] Hennessy, in Miss Cusack’s Life of Saint Patrick, London, 1871, pp.369-502. But the former version is a paraphrase for edification rather than a translation for scholars, and the latter is incomplete, and not always accurate. [ix]. Note that a list of those portions omitted by Hennessy is given in a ftn. at cxcvii, amid acknowledgements to others earlier and other writers whom John Colgan, Dr. Reeves, Count Nigra (Rome); S. H. O’Grady; Edmund Hogan (suffering from a painful ocular ailment); Prof. Windisch; Rev. Thomas Olden; and various Masters of the Rolls.

Whitley Stokes (ed., The Tripartite Life [... &c.], 1887): Intro. - cont.: ‘The kernel of fact in this story seems to be that Patrick returned to Ireland on, or soon after, his ordinary as priest (say a.d. [397]) and, without any commission from Rome; that he laboured for thirty years in converting the pagan Irish, but met with little or no success; that he attributed his failure to the want of episcopal ordination and Roman authority; that in order to have those defects supplied he went back to Gaul (say a.d.427) intending ultimately to proceed to Rome; that he spent some time [ftn. 4 yrs., acc. Tertia Vita] in study with Germanus of Auxerre; that hearing of the failure and death of Palladius, who had been sent on a mission to Ireland by Pope Celestinus in a.d. 431, he was directed by Germanus to take at once the place of the deceased missionary [‘non sponte pergeba’]; that Patrick thereupon relinquished his journey to Rome, received episcopal consecration from a Gaulish bishop Matorix, and returned a second time to Ireland, about the year 432, when he was sixty years old, as a missionary from the Gaulish Church and supplied with Gaulish assistants and funds for his mission. In this there is no improbability, no necessity to alter dates, to assume a plurality of Patricks, a duality of Palladii, and to transfer acts from one to the other.’ [p.cxxxiii.] Further [on the contest at Tara:] ‘Then at the wizard’s incantation came darkness over the face of the earth. Thereat the hosts cried out. Said Patrick, “Dispel the darkness”. The wizard said, “I cannot to-day.” Patrick prayed to the Lord, and blessed the plain, and the darkness was banished and the sun shone, and all gave thanks.’ [57]; St. Patrick: “since thou sayest that I adore a god of fire, then shalt thou go, if thou art willing, apart into a house completely shut up … fire shall be put to the house …’ [57]’ ‘thy wizard’s cloak’ [57]. (See also Bilbiographical details, under Works, supra.)

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George Thomas Stokes, Writings of St Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, a revised translation, with Notes, critical and historical (London: James Nisbet & Co.; Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co. 1887) [for bibl. details, see under Stokes, infra]. [Sir James Ware], St Patricii qui Hibernos ad fidem Christi convertit adscripta Opuscula; Opera et studio, J. Waraei, Eq. Aur. London 1656; also Villaneuca, Sancti Patricii, Ibernorm Apostoli, Synodi, Canones, Opuscula et Scriptorum qui supersunt Fragmenta; scholiis illustr. a Joachimo Lauentio Villaneuva Presbyt. Dublini apud R. Graisberry 1835. CONTENTS: The Hymn of St Patrick [or Lorica - incls. lines: ‘Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within Me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ at my right, Christ at my left, Christ in the fort, Christ in the chariot-seat, Christ in the poop, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.’ [19-33]; The Confession [24-61]; Annals of Four Masters records that Niall of the Nine Hostages was slain at Boulogne, ‘after a life spent in such ravages’, referring to a campaign during which the Irish ‘desolated the English coasts’ [26]; Bibl.: E[mund] Hogan, SJ, ed., Analecta Bollandiana. See Sir Samuel Ferguson: ‘it was the first occasion on which he experienced what he conceived to be the presence of an in-dwelling coercer of his will, to obedience to whole promptings all his subsequent life was to be conformed.’ [Ferg., p.113-14; cited Stokes, p.40]; Patrick endured captivity nr. Broughshane, 5 miles from Ballymena; see Reeves Antiqu. of Down and Connor, p.83f.; Milchu, son of Hua Bain, King of Dalriada [Dalaradia]; editor distinguishes Dalriada [corrupted to the Route] from Dalriada as two distinct regions.; bibl. W. M. Hennessy, ed. Chronicum Scotorum, being Irish book of Annals composed at Clonmacnoise, c.1100; pub. in English Rolls’ Series; editor here notes that Ussher in Sylloge Epist. Hib., and Eccles. Britan. Antiq., cap. xvi, Works, Vol. VI, pp.276, 281, makes the error of supposing this to be Scottish. [51]; Guasacht, son of Milchu, became first bishop of Granard in Longford; commem. in Martyrology of Donegal. [See bibliographical notices, under G. T. Stokes, infra.]

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Standish Hayes O’Grady, Silva Gadelica: Translation and Notes (London: Williams & Norgate, 1892), pp.118-22, 164f.], gives translation of Accallamh na Senorach, in which Patrick says: ‘“Good now, Caeilte, and wherefore was the name of fionnlulach [i.e. ‘white hill’] given to this eminence on which we stand?” “I will tell you the truth of it,” answered Caeilte: “it was hence that we, the three battalions of the Fianna marched to give battle at Ventry. [There follows the story of Cael and Créidhe]. “Success and benediction!” Patrick said: “’tis a good story thou has told; and where is scribe Brogan?” “Here am I.” “By thee be written down all that Caeilte hath uttered.” And it was written down.’ (See ‘Agallamh na Seanorach / The Converse of the Ancients’, in Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, 1991, pp.33-32, and note ed. remarks: Towards the end of the 12th century, an unknown author made a compilation of tales and poems about the Fianna, cast in the form of a capacious frame-story entitled Agallamh na Seanorach (The Converse of the Ancients), in this text, two survivors from the age of the Fiana, Cailte and Oisin, recount for St Patrick and his companions some of the legends relating to the landmarks and the placenames of the Irish countryside. Of the two passages which follow, the first tells the tragic story of Cael and Creidhe and the second epitomizes the Fianna’s predilection for the beauty and variety of the wilderness as against the material wealth and comfort of settled society.’)]

Standish James O’Grady has St. Patrick and the pagans resolve their differences in Finn and His Companions. [email comm. Ed. Hagan, Irish Studies 9 Jan. 1998.]

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W. B. Yeats: Acc. to A. N. Jeffares, his Wanderings of Oisin narrates the return of the old hero of the Fianna Cycle from Tir na nÓg and his meeting with St. Patrick, to whom he gives an account of his experiences. The poem is based on Nicholas O’Kearney’s trans. of ‘The Battle of Gabhra’, Standish [Hayes] O’Grady’s trans. of ‘The Lament of Oisin after the Fenians’, Brian O’Looney’s trans. of Michael Comyn’s ‘The Lay of Oisin in the Land of Youth’, and also David Comyn’s translation of same in Gaelic Union Publications (1880), as well as John O’Daly’s trans. of ‘The Dialogue of Oisin and St. Patrick’ (See Jeffares, A New Commentary on the Poems of W. B. Yeats, [1968,] 1984, p.39.) Note further: Jeffares characterises it as a ‘remarkable narrative poem which conveys sadness, weariness and an intense perception of beauty - and does so fluently, sensuously and most evocatively’ and calls it a tour de force for a young man of twenty-three to have created it and to have expressed it with such distinctive force.’ Jeffares cites Oisin in dTir na nÓg, and Agallamh na Senorach; remarks on extensive revisions of the text by Yeats. Notes in bibl.: Giles W. L. Telfer, Yeats’s Idea of the Gael (1965) [‘very homely, unmysterious Tir na nOg described in orig. Gaelic poem’], and Francis Shaw, ‘The Celtic Element in the Poetry of W. B. Yeats’, Studies (June 1934); and quotes Yeats’s note to the Collected Poems of 1912: ‘The poem is founded upon the Middle Irish dialogue of S. Patrick and Oisin and a certain Gaelic poem of the last century [Michael Comyn]. The event it describes, like the events in most of the poems of this volume, are supposed to have taken place rather in the indefinite period, made up of many centuries, described by the folk-tales, than in any particular century; it therefore, like the later Fenian stories themselves, mixes much that is medieval with much that is ancient.’ (idem.)

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William Bullen Morris, Ireland and St Patrick (London & NY: Burns and Oates; Dublin M. H. Gill & Son, 1891), 307pp., with index; 8pp. notices; author of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri; epigraph, ‘Alone amongst the Northern nations, Ireland adhered to the Ancient Faith’; Lord Macaulay]. Attached paper notes death of W. B. Morris, Tralee, 24.3.1901, ed. Clongowes. Morris argues that the ‘Bull Laudabiliter’ is a forgery, as appears from examination of his other sagacious writings in comparison with this: ‘any ecclesiastic, with the faintest acquaintance with the modes of procedure of the Roman administration, would have understood that, to give the document an appearance of validity, the name of some Prelated [Person] should have been introduced [128] as delegate or representative of the Pope. At almost every line the letter reveals the swordsman - the self-appointed military missioner.’ On other pages, he is concerned with speaking of the morality of the Irish nation, especially the poor, as testified by writers not disposed to Catholicity, and includes remarks on Lecky, Froude, Carr, Young, and Mrs. Hall (whom he calls ‘unsurpassed’; p.179.] Note that there are remarks on the ‘penchant irresistible assimilation noted of the Normans in Ireland by Mr. Augustin Thierry and - ironically noted - by Froude, who is said to have ‘been amazed at the inherent power of assimilation possessed by the Irish Celts. [175]; also cites from Froude, ‘the Irish Celts possess on their own soil a power, greater than any other known family of mankind [173] of assimilating those who venture among them to their own image’ [English in Ireland, i, 22]; also adverts to Froude’s essay, ‘Ireland’, in Nineteenth Century, Sept. 1880, pp.342-358, quoting extensively [here 171-72]; speaks also of Froude’s ‘loathsome romance’, Two Chiefs [173]; comments of Carlyle, citing his remarks on the ‘foul tutelage’ of ‘the dirty, muddy-minded, semi-felonious, proselytising Irish Priest’ (Reminisc., ii, 268; here 159]; on Trench’s Realities of Irish Life: ‘The great “Reality” is hidden from Mr. Trench, and finds no place in his pages. He seems to have no perception of the influence of religion on the Irish people - that religion which Mr Lecky [192], a more profound observer, recognises as “the one thing that they valued more than their land”: “the passion and consolation of their lives” [Hist. of England, vl. ii, p.18; 124]; ‘Mr Trench was a stranger to the people … the agent and powerful representative of the landlord class, whom they regarded as their hereditary antagonists, and himself a very determined executor of their laws.’ [193]; bibl. cites Lanigan, ‘Northmen and Normans in England and Ireland’ (1856), in Essays in Church History, p.46; ‘Dr. Lanigan’s account of the state of Ireland previous to the irruption of the Normans is fair and dispassionate … When, however, he reaches the period of Pope Adrian, it is clear that he is blinded by that indignation which sometimes disturbs the wisest mind … Dr. Lanigan is so angry with the Pope that he dismisses with contempt every argument in his favour, and in answer to Cambrensis Eversus, and MacGeoghegan, he rashly affirms of the “Bull”, that “never did there exist a more real and authentic document.’ [Eccles. Hist., vol. iv, pp.32, 34, 43, 55, &c.]. Cont.

William Bullen Morris (Ireland and St Patrick, 1891) - cont.: End-paper notices incls. remarks: ‘From Ussher down to Dr Todd it has been persistently attempted to minimise the historic identity of Ireland’s Apostle.’ (Bookseller); ‘The secret of Father Morris’s success is, that he has got the proper key to the extraordinary, the mysterious life of St patrick. He has taken the saint’s own authentic writings as the foundation …’ (Irish Eccles. Record); ‘We can now approve Father Morris’s demonstration that the Irish Church (like the English) was in the early days in agreement with Rome in all matters of doctrine, differing, indeed, on a few small points of practice where were really noting more than old Roman customs preserved in Ireland owing to its isolation …’ (Guardian, 10 Oct. 1888). Others note his emphasis on the importance of St. Patrick’s Roman mission and his relation to Martin of Tours; Morris notes that St. Martin was ‘an illiterate man’, and further that ‘no philosopher has ever yet succeeded in correcting the morals of a single village’ [49]; selects Froude as ‘one antagonist who may fittingly hold the place of Advocatus diaboli’, and ‘this veteran enemy of the Catholic Church [who was] for a time one of that historic party which followed Cardinal Newman in those years when the energies of the best intellect of England were devoted to the study of the claims of the Catholic Church’ [161; returns to Froude, p.257]. Quotes Newman: ‘With [257] Englishmen you should know success is the measure of principle, and power is the exponent of right. Do you not understand our rule of action? We take up men and lay them down, we praise or blame, we feel respect or contempt according as they succeed or are defeated. You are wrong because you are in misfortune, power is truth.’ (Discourses to Mixed Congregations, p.xii; here 258.)

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T. C. Croker, The Popular Songs of Ireland (London: Routledge 1886), contains a first chapter on the ‘Songs of St. Patrick’, including citations from “Irish Hudibras” [‘With rhymes, cronaans, and many a gay trick / In adoration of St. Patrick […] names, make holiday, / When all the Monaghans shall play; / and burn tobacco free as spunk / And (what shall never be forgot), / in usquebah, St Patrick’s pot; / To last for ever in the nation / On pain of excommunication’; Croker, p.10]; also ‘St. Patrick was A Gentleman’ [by Zozimus], &c. (pp.9-34.) Further, Croker reports that Walter Harris recommended publ. of life of Patrick as ‘the means of rectifying our deluded countrymen, who spend the festival of this most abstemious and mortified man in riot and excess, as if they looked upon him only in the light of a jolly companion’ (Croker, p.9); further quotes Irish Hudibras: ‘With rhymes, cronaans, and many a gay trick / In adoration of St. Patrick … names, make holiday, / When all the Monaghans shall play; / and burn tobacco free as spunk / And (what shall never be forgot), / in usquebah, St Patrick’s pot; / To last for ever in the nation / On pain of excommunication’ (ibid., p.10.)

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Rev. Sylvester L. Malone, PP, MRIA, Birthplace of St. Patrick (Dublin: Browne & Nolan; M. H. Gill & Son 1900), auth. of Church History of Ireland, and Pope Adrian IV and Ireland; ‘obscurity caused by want of stops in St. Patrick’s Confession’ [iv]; refers to Ware as the historian ‘to whom Irish history owes so much’, but states that he mistook the teacher of Laserian for Murin on the basis of a misreading of r/n, Fintan Munu being the personal names; ‘as one error easily begets another, Dr. Lanigan, who copied Ware … ventured to conjecture that he was possibly Murgesius of Glen Uissen [&c.; p.83]; dismisses Scottish, Welsh and French, birthplaces; resolves on Bona Venta Burrii: ‘The just claim then of Usktown in Monmouthshire to the birthplace of St Patrick is by an overwhelming mass of evidence made as certain to my mind as that every other claim rests on baseless and self-contradictory grounds.’ [168; End.]

Rev. Sylvester L. Malone (Birthplace of St. Patrick, 1900) - cont.: ‘[W]ith the evidence before us we cannot avoid connecting the particular spot of his birth with Bath on the banks of the middle Avon.’ (Quoted in Oliver St John Gogarty, I Follow St. Patrick, London: Rich & Cowan 1938, p.67.) Note: Malone also issued Chapters Towards a Life of St. Patrick (Dublin 1892), viii, 226pp. [15 cm], and Birthplace of St. Patrick (Dublin: Browne & Nolan; Gill 1900), vi, 168pp. [14 cm]. (Check Gogarty and Malone for biographical details, espec. conjectural birth of Patrick, 206 a.d.)

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James Joyce (as related by Padraic Colum): ‘[...] The only saint he would praise was Saint Patrick; him he vaunted above all the other Saints in the Calendar. “He was modest, and he was sincere”, he said, and this was praise indeed from Joyce. And then he added: “He waited to long to write his Portrait of the Artist” - Joyce meant Saint Patrick’s Confession.’ (See Colum, [untitled] memoir of Joyce, in Ulick O’Connor, ed., The Joyce We Knew, Mercier Press 1967, p.87; see further under Joyce > Notes > as attached.)

Samuel Beckett, The Calmative [remembered dream of St. Patrick]: ‘He stood there silent looking at me without visible fear or revulsion … His silence seemed natural tome .. I looked for better words to say to him, I found them too late, he was gone, Oh not far but far […] not one of his thoughts would ever be for me again, unless perhaps when he was old and, delving in his boyhood, would come upon that gallows night and hold the goat by the horn again and linger again a moment by my side, with who knows perhaps a touch of tenderness.’ Further: ‘Soon they were no more than a single blur which if I hadn’t known I might have taken for a young centaur.’ In The Expelled, &c., 1980, p.56.)

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John Philip Cohane, The Indestructible Irish (NY: Hawthorn Books 1969): ‘Thomas Dempster, the seventeenth-century Scottish historian who helped lead the Etruscans into the academic limelight, tried to do a comparable job for the followers of St. Patrick on the false assumption they were fellow Scots. As soon as it was irrefutably proved that the vast majority were - God help us! - native Irishmen, the scholars of the eighteenth century, at least those writing in English, unceremoniously dumped them back into the pool of oblivion. From which no one - including the Irish, except for paying them meaningless lip service - have bothered to rescue them. The very fact that they were in competition with Rome would seem to account for the fact that outside of their names nine out of ten present-day educated Irish men and women know nothing of their accomplishments.’ (p.189.)

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Seán de Fréine: ‘Ireland had, uniquely, been converted to Christianity by a man who had spent a good portion of his youth in the country, thus enabling him to learn the language and gain an insight into the culture and mentality of the people he was later to convert. He was thus particularly well equipped to wed Christianity to the native culture.’ (The Great Silence: the study of a relationship between language and nationality, Mercier 1978, p.95.

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Alannah Hopkin, The Living Legend of St. Patrick (1989), pp.39ff., tells that that Muirchu’s ‘Life of Patrick’ begins with a declaration of intention: ‘But these writers never attained to one sure track of history, on account of the extreme difficulty of the task of storytelling, and because of conflicting opinions, and the very many surmises of very many persons. Therefore, if I mistake not, as our popular proverb has it, “Like bringing boys into a council meeting,” I have brought the infantile rowboat of my feeble brain into this most dangerous and deep ocean of sacred story, where mountainous seas rage and swell, amidst sharpest rocks lying in unknown seas, an ocean on which no boat has as yet ventured, save only that of my father Cogitosus. However, that I seem not to make a great thing out of what is small, I shall essay, in obedience to the command of thy holiness and authority, to unfold, piecemeal and with difficulty, these few out of the many actions of St. Patrick. My skill is small; my authorities are uncertain [or, anonymous]; my memory is treacherous; my intelligence is worn out; my style is poor; yet the feeling of my love is most pious.’ (Cited in Oliver St John Gogarty, I Follow St. Patrick, 1938, p.vii); Murchu overlooks the self-deprecating Patrick of Confession, but paraphrases the biographical contents of his life, adding that his given name was Sochet; identifies Bannevem Taberniae as ‘Ventre’; names Concessa has Patrick’s mother; narrates his enslavement, escape, and wandering in the ‘desert’; compares Patrick to Moses; send him to study with Germanus of Auxerre, aged 30; Patrick spends 30-40 years there; visited in vision by Victoricus [‘Sons and daughters of the Wood of Foclut are calling you’]; sets out for Ireland with senior companion, Segitus since he is not yet consecrated; Muirchu relates that Palladius’ mission was doomed ‘since nobody can receive anything from the earth unless it be given to him from heaven’; Patrick learns of Palladius’s death when in Ebmoria; Patrick consecrated by ‘an admirable and great bishop name Amathorex; his companions Auxilius and Iserninus ordained; Muirchu narrates extensively the encounter at the court of Leary in Tara; Loegaire’s chief druids Mochru and Lucat Mael prophesy the arrival of stranger in a poem [‘There shall arrive Shaven head …’]. Cont.

Alannah Hopkin (The Living Legend of St. Patrick, 1989): Patrick makes landfall Inver Dee; lands at Inver Slan; meets his first convert, Dilchu; shown a barn (sabhall) at Saul; travels towards Slemish ‘from which mountain a long time ago, when he was serving there as a captive, he had seen the angel Victoricus leave the imprint of his swift step on the rock of another mountain and ascend into heaven before his eyes.’; Miliucc [or Milchu] ‘gathered all his wealth together in the palace where until then he had lived as king and burnt himself along with it’; Patrick’s curse on him. ‘God knows, none of his sons shall sit on his throne as king of his kingdom in generations to come; what is more, his line shall be subordinate for ever’; decision to celebrate Easter at Tara; druids’ prophesy to Loegaire that if his fire is lit ‘it will even rise above all the fires of our customs and he who has kindled it on this night will overpower us all and you, and will seduce all the people of your kingdom, and all kingdoms will yield to it, and it will spread over the whole country and will reign in all eternity’; druid Ercc joins to Christians; Lochru insults the Christian faith and ‘at these words the druid was lifted up into the air and fell down again; he hit his brain against a stone, and was smashed to pieces, and died in their presence and the pagans stood in fear’; Loegaire decides to kill Patrick; Patrick aware of ‘wicked thoughts of the wicked king’; Patrick and five companions enter Tara enclosure through closed doors; Lucet Mael poisons his cup; Patrick effects freezing and isolation of poison; druid brings waist-high snow; cannot remove it; Patrick: ‘You can do evil and cannot do good. Not so I’; king suggests that they test their books [anachronism] on water; special house built for test by fire; Benignus in the dry part, the druid in the green part wearing Patrick’s chasuble; Loegaire relents, but Patrick forecasts, ‘since you have resisted my teaching and been offensive to me, the days of your reign shall run on, but none of your offspring shall ever be king; ensuing sections describe sixteen miracles, of which the first is that in which the virgin dies after baptism; miracles 1-10 from oral sources; miracles 11-16 from written sources [incl. the story of the conversion of Leary]; miracle 6 narrates the foundation of Armagh [‘Grazacham or the Founding of Armagh’]; Miracle 14, ‘Untamed Oxen Choose Burial Place’.

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Joseph Nagy, Conversing with Angels: Literary Myths of Medieval Ireland (Dublin: Four Courts 1997): "From the realms of hagiography and vernacular literature predicated on hagiographic themes, talk with angels and ancients has provided the texts' legitimating core. Patrick, in the world of his lives and the world he inhabits in vernacular or metasaga, is sought out by an angel who speaks with him, and as a result of this conversion/conversation, Patrick returns to his "past"', Ireland, and revives that past in order to speak with its representatives, convince them and reform them in a Christian image." (p.325). Also - by way of context: "Recovering the past, according to this variation on the theme of reviving the dead, is a way of revitalizing the present, or removing the cap that marks off the past and making the past productively open-ended, a source of paradigm and inspiration for the future" (Ibid., p.323). [Both the foregoing quoted in Fionntán de Brun, in ‘Temporality and Revivalism’ [UU Research Series, April 2011].

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Charles Doherty, ‘Kingship In Early Ireland’, in Tara: A Study of an Exceptional Kingship and Landscape, ed. Edel Bhreathnach (Dublin: Discovery Programme 2005): ‘Acallam na Senórach designates fían-members as maic ríg “kings’ sons” with regard to the preponderantly youthful and aristocratic make-up of such bands. [16] As McCone has shown, with a great wealth of detail, the Church was an inveterate opponent of this institution in Irish society - not surprisingly since they preyed on the settled community. [1] It was an institution that prepared young men as warriors and presumably allowed the natural leaders of the next generation to emerge. Operating on the margins of society in the forests and wilderness, they returned to the settled community on reaching adulthood and on coming into their inheritance. Was Patrick going on a circuit like a lord with his retinue; or was he attempting to create a Christian fían-soldiers of Christ, as opposed to the soldiers of the Devil (as fían members came to be regarded by the Church)? [2] If this was Patrick’s intention, then it was an experiment that did not succeed, as McCone’s analysis makes very clear. Either way, Patrick had access to those who would be the elite of the next generation and some of whom would become kings. It is likely too that they would have received an education from him (some became monks), and some, at least, must have achieved a degree of literacy’ (His notes cite [1] Kim McCone, Pagan Past and Christian Present in Early Irish Literature (Maynooth [1990]), and [2] Thomas Charles-Edwards, Early Christian Ireland; also quotes from Tirechan's account of Patrick's meeting with the daughters of Laoghaire [infra], and a passage from his Letters to Coroticus [infra]. (For full-text version of this article, see RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Celtiana”, via index or direct.]

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Sotheby’s Catalogue (Dec. 1997): The Book of Armagh, formerly called Canoin Patraicc due to the misidentification of its holographic authorship with St. Patrick himself based on a line therein [‘hucusque volumen quod Patricius manu conscripsit sua’], was copied by Ferdomnach at the instigation of Primate Torbach in 807[?]; Donnchad, son of Flann had a jewelled case was made for it, 937; a folio verso bears the note of acceptance of the supremacy of Armagh by Maelsuthain, ‘soul-friend’ of Brian Boroimhe during his ‘righthandwise’ progress through Ireland; the Book was considered synonymous with a title deed to the legal comharbship [coarb] of Patrick, and possession of it secure the primacy for Niall after St. Malachy compelled him to retire from Armagh; employed by Jocelin of Furness Abbey while in the sister abbey in Co Down as basis of his life of Patrick, written in connection with the translation of the relics of Patrick, Brigid, and Columba, 1186, the ‘Conoin’ having been taken by John de Courcy, along with the ‘Bacculus Jesu’, when he captured Thomas O’Connor, Primate - the bishop and his Patrician relics being restored later to Armagh; Bishop Ussher and Sir James Ware also examined it, the former for his Discourse of the Religion Anciently Professed by the Irish and the British (1631) and Primordia (1639), from which John Colgan derived his knowledge of it; Ware collated it for his edition of the Confessio in S. Patricio adscripta Opuscula (1656); it was for long the special charge of Maor na Canoine [Stewards of the Canon], otherwise MacMoyres, who retained it up to 1681 in spite of adversity and dispossession at the hands of George Fairfax and Lord Caulfield; Florence MacMoyre of that family appeared as a witness against Oliver Plunket in June 1681, pawning the Canon to appear in London; thereafter owned by Arthur Brownlow, and so listed by Humphrey Lloyd in 1707; deposited by Rev. Francis Brownlow in RIA, 1846; offered for sale at Dublin Exhibition, 1853, and purchased by Dr. Reeves for 300 pounds, thence passing for the same sum to Lord John George Beresford, Protestant Primate; presented by the latter to TCD, 1854 [note var. 1855], through the intervention of William Reeves, it was presented to TCD; on the death of Reeves, John Gwynn completed the editing the Book of Armagh [Codex Armanachus] (RIA 1913); not consulted by John Lanigan (Eccles Hist., 1822) or by Villaneuva (Works of St. Patrick, 1835); consulted by Todd (Life of St. Patrick, 1864), Dr. Bury (Life of St. Patrick: His Place in History, 1905); missing front pages of the Book of Armagh supplied by Edmund Hogan from more complete copy in Bollandist Library, Brussels, and formerly in Würzburg (Hogan, 1882). Note further that the Book of Armagh was offered for sale in London in 1831.

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