Friday November 22, 2019

Forget plastic shamrocks: our patron saint has more to offer

The traditional Paddywhackery is all very well - and lucrative, but St Patrick’s Confessio, now online, reveals him as a brilliant and surprisingly resonant writer

17th March, 2019

A man dressed as St Patrick poses for a selfie at the parade on O’Connell Street in Dublin PA

‘My name is Patrick,” it starts. “I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many.”

I grew up thinking St Patrick was many things, but I never knew he was a writer. The above is the opening to his Confessio (in the translation by Pádraig McCarthy). It is an exemplar of the art: clear, arresting and intriguing.

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