The Serpent in Irish Mythology
Ireland has no indigenous snakes. The story goes that they were banished by St Patrick. You would think he was rather busy converting the pagan masses, establishing monasteries and churches, and driving out demons, yet he still found time to save us from dangerous creatures. Wasn’t that kind of him?
According to a Welsh monk by the name of Jocelin (1185AD), Patrick gathered all snakes, serpents, and venomous creatures alike onto a mountain in West Connacht, where he had spent the previous forty days and nights fasting and gaining great power, and drove them from there into the sea. Croagh Patrick is said to be that illustrious mountain, and today thousands of pilgrims walk its rugged path every year in celebration of this event, and in penance, many in bare feet or on their knees.
Of course, this story is the subject of controversy. It has been claimed that the tale…
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