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Pirate Kidnappings and Sheep Herding: A Memoir of St. Patrick

Rachel Ziegler, Opinion Columnist

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Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick’s Day is another holiday, another major conspiracy lying right under our noses. As we ponder this international holiday, questions appear. Was Saint Patrick really irish? Did he really drive the snakes from Ireland? As with all holidays, there are always some glaring facts that are looked over even by those who are most dedicated to the truth.

Contrary to popular knowledge, Saint Patrick didn’t come from Ireland. He was born in Roman Britain and kidnapped by Irish pirates. Besides being cool enough to be kidnapped by pirates, he was forced to herd sheep for six years.  After he decided he had had enough, he traveled to the nearest port and conned the captain into taking him aboard. He reached Britain after three days of travel and lived in a forest for nearly a month after. He returned to Ireland in order to convert the entire country to Christianity. After a few minor setbacks, including a close call with a guillotine, Saint Patrick finally managed to convert Ireland. Even his name, one we have uttered since we were toddlers, was really Maewyn Succat. “Saint Patrick” might not have even been one person. Many have suggested that the patron saint of Ireland may have actually been two people: the aforementioned Maewyn Succat and Palladius, the first bishop to Irish Christians.

“Saint Patrick” probably had nothing to do with the absence of snakes in Ireland either. In an old parable, “Saint Patrick” drove the snakes from Ireland into the sea when they so rudely disturbed him during one of his forty-day fasts. In truth, the absence of snakes is probably better explained by geography than the whims of Saint Patrick. During the Cenozoic Era, the predecessors of snakes and boas started to appear. They did exist in Ireland at that point, but during the later ice ages, all of them died out. After the last ice age ended, and the glaciers all melted, there was a huge body of water called the Northern Channel blocking all the snakes from coming to Ireland. How did such a lie even come to be? Experts suspect the driving out of the “snakes”, a symbol of paganism, was meant to represent the conversion of Ireland to Christianity.

Hopefully this has helped clear up the lies and slander that have been fed to us for years. Even if we cannot know exactly what happened in Ireland during the 14th century, we can at least make our guesses as realistic as possible. Obviously, most people are not capable of such logic, or other holidays would not be full of such lies, but sense will prevail as it always does, and the uneducated peasants will die off.

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The student news site of Kennedy Jr. High School
Pirate Kidnappings and Sheep Herding: A Memoir of St. Patrick