In the Company of St. Patrick
Ten major Irish saints
by Ann-Marie Imbornoni
Did you know? Although St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland—and certainly no other saint has the stature of St. Patrick in Ireland—the beloved holy man wasn't actually Irish. Born somewhere in western or northern Britain, he was brought to Ireland as a slave when still a teenager. After six years he escaped to the Continent, where he became a monk. Eventually, following a vision, he returned to Ireland to Christianize it.
But Ireland, which was once known as the land of saints and scholars, has bred numerous saints, many of whom left their native country to Christianize the rest of Europe. Here are but a few.
The founder of a great center of Celtic Christianity.
Patron of boatmen, sailors, travelers, and whales.
Patron of bookbinders, Ireland, poets, and Scotland
It is no wonder that this saint's emblem is the bear, as he seems to have had a knack for causing trouble.
The revered teacher of St. Brendan.
A visionary who founded a great Irish monastery.
The first Irish saint to be canonized by a pope, in 1199.
St. Oliver Plunket
The last Catholic martyr to die at Tyburn, he was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975.