St. Patrick is held up as an evil villain among uneducated Neo-Pagans. A nefarious figure from history who, singlehandedly, exiled the Pagans from Ireland; the snakes of legend were personifications of the poor, peaceful Pagans…flitting about the greens of Ireland, picking shamrocks and cavorting with the little people. None of which is true, of course but don’t let the truth interfere with an opportunity to claim “victim.”
St. Patrick was actually a captive of those peaceful Pagans of olde. Taken during a raid and held in slavery for, at least, 6 years by whom? And well you may ask – it was those peaceful Pagans. In actuality, not peaceful at all. This was a warrior people, they killed, pillaged, raped and took into bondage. Same thing that was happening all over the world, during this tumultuous period of civilization. Eat or be eaten. Pillage or be pillaged.
St. Patrick escaped, was called to the church and felt that he had a duty to share the Christian faith with his captors in Eire. So off he went. He, apparently, did a pretty good job with the whole Christian P.R. thing. Ireland is now, predominately Catholic. There was no driving the Pagans into the sea. The early Irish came to Christianity, willingly. Apparently, life under the Irish warlords, of which there were many, wasn’t all shamrocks and pots ‘o’ gold.
St. Patrick’s Day is, at least in my city of Montreal, totally non-sectarian. It has turned into a rite of Spring over here; a parade, much drinking and partying. No connection to Christianity at all. A lot of Montrealers have Irish roots and this allows us to celebrate the sacrifices made by our ancestors upon arriving in this new land. St. Patrick’s Day is nothing more than a banner under which a lot of Irish shenanigans are performed.
For a “not bad” biography of the man, visit http://www.biography.com/people/st-patrick-9434729?page=1