Saint Patrick’s Day - 16th Mar. 1946


Saint Patrick's Day: Text Version

March 16, 1946


Fifteen hundred years have flown since the slave boy, Patrick tended to his flocks on the slopes of Slemish. In that wind-swept hill he laboured for years long a stranger in an unknown land, forsaken and friendless, his only shelter the broad dome of heaven, his only companions his master swine. But a day would come when the chains of slavery would bind him no longer, when he'd march through the land speaking a great message that would re-echo from age to age and never grow old. Churches and cathedrals bearing his name would spring up in ever increasing numbers, east, west, north and south, in the neighbouring fields of Europe, in distant America, in unknown Asia, in darkest Africa.


In the fruitful years of his mission in Ireland, Patrick visited Limerick. We are told that he entered the county from Tipperary passing close by Kilteely and journeying on to Singland where he baptized hundreds who crossed the Shannon from Clare. He visited the territory of Ui Fidhgeinte, a district ruled for centuries long by chiefs who were sometimes styled Kings of Bruree. Lonan, the ruling chief came to meet him and this meeting resulted in the adoption of Christianity by most of the inhabitants of that region. At Ardpatrick, in the south-east of the county, he founded a monastery that was later to become famous. Here in 1129 died Celsus 'successor' of St. Patrick, a son of purity, and Archbishop of West Europe, the only head obeyed by Danes and Irish. Tradition tells us that Patrick never visited Kerry, but that he blessed it, and all who dwelt therein, from the top of Knockpatrick in West Limerick. Patrickswell is a common place name in Limerick, and most places so named claim the honour of a visit from our National Apostle.


To-day we honour St. Patrick's Day with all the pomp and pageantry due to so great a feast. But it was not always so. For long the Faith, that Patrick brought was banned and outlawed in Ireland by a ruthless foreign power. Wave after wave of savage persecution was hurled against the religion of the Irish, but each succeeding wave broke against the rock of a people's Faith. In those unhappy, far-off days no one dared honour Patrick in public.

'St. Patrick's Day no more we'll keep,

His colour can't be seen,

For there's a cruel law out against,

The Wearing of the Green.'


On St. Patrick's Day every Irishman becomes conscious of the existence of the Irish nation. Not even a shoneen would disowen the land of his birth on that day. For a little while all realize the splendour of the heritage which is so sadly neglected –- the plaintive sweetness of some old Irish air, the abandon of an Irish dance. It is a day when we remember that we have a language of our own, the language in which Patrick pleaded before the throne of Laoighaire at Tara so long ago.

Sibh-se go bhfuil an Ghaedhilg agaibh ce'n fath na labhrann sibh e? An bhfuil naire oraibh? Ma ta cad is cuis leis? No an bhfuil sibh I ndairiribh fe cheist na teangan in aon chor? Ta 600,000 dhibh sa tir, ach da mbeadh Eire ag braith or bhur bhfurmhor ni bheadh si saor na Gaedhealach go deo.

'Ach ni bhfaighidh si has ach beidh si a fas,

'Na crann breagh craobhamhail aluinn,

Agus scapfeadh an sceal o bheal go beal,

Go mbeidh saoirse 'gus sean le faghail ann.'


In all parts of the world wherever the exiled children of the Gael are scattered there is rejoicing on Patrick's Day. How proudly those exiles display their sprays of shamrock on that day of days. Already many a green box with the legend 'Seamrog O Eirinn' a shamrock from Ireland -– has travelled across the seas. On Sunday next, New York's teeming thousands of Irish descent will march through the streets of the city.

'And every Irishman,

Will grasp the other by the hand,

When the big brass band,

Out in Yankee land,

Plays the Wearing of the Green'.

Such was the victory of the slave boy, Patrick. To-day his name is known and honoured in almost every land on earth. More churches are dedicated to him than to any other saint in the calendar of Christendom. And, more are a-building for the spiritual sons of St. Patrick are still flocking to wherever the harvest awaits the reapers.

previousPrevious - O Blithe New-Comer! - 3rd May 1947
Next - Patterns And Races - 28th Aug. 1948next