Dr Daithí Ó hÓgáin on the many facets of Ireland's primary patron saint.
An expert on the great figures of the Irish tradition, Dr Daithí Ó hÓgáin lectures in the Department of Folklore at University College Dublin (UCD).
Saint Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century CE (Common Era) and most definitely did exist, but contemporary texts about him are limited. One is his Confessio, which focuses primarily on this holy man's spiritual life.
A century after his death however there are two texts about Patrick which are typical of the early mediaeval era as they contain a number of stories and legends about him. Later writings continued in this vein and reflected the formation of the institutional Church here, in particular
The coming to predominance of the See of Armagh.
The shamrock is associated with St Patrick, as tradition has it that he converted the pagan Irish to Christianity by using it to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to them. As Dr Ó hÓgáin explains, the traditional wearing of shamrock can be traced back only as far as the seventeenth century,
The shamrock is not a very ancient part of the Patrician tradition.
In addition the legend of our patron saint driving all the snakes out of Ireland is not based on fact, as
Ireland was famous in antiquity for not having any snakes.
This tradition is most likely based on an association between Patrick and the Lérins Islands off the south coast of France, where he was educated for the priesthood.
This episode of 'Live At 3’ was broadcast on 16 March 1988. The presenter is Thelma Mansfield.
'Live at 3' was an RTÉ Television afternoon show presented by Thelma Mansfield and Derek Davis. First broadcast on 13 October 1986, it went out from Monday to Friday from 3 to 4 pm and ran until the end of May 1997.
Catering for a wide audience, it covered fashion, health and fitness, social services, astrology, gardening, cookery, animal welfare and knitting, and also interviewed personalities of all kinds on a variety of subjects.