Monday 14 October 2019

Billy Keane: 'Yes, he's our patron saint...but how much do you really know about St Patrick's dodgy past?'

 

'Many revisionist historians think the snakes may have been a metaphor for the druids, who were pagans and so did not belong to the one true faith. If this is correct, then St Patrick was guilty of religious intolerance and ethnic cleansing.'
'Many revisionist historians think the snakes may have been a metaphor for the druids, who were pagans and so did not belong to the one true faith. If this is correct, then St Patrick was guilty of religious intolerance and ethnic cleansing.'

Keane's Kingdom: Billy Keane

I hope the environmentalists don't turn against St Patrick because he kicked the snakes out of Ireland.

What use are snakes anyway? And they going around biting people, and making them sick.

I'm not sure if there were killer snakes here when St Patrick bate them into the sea with his crook. We wouldn't even be able to go for a walk in the woods but for St Patrick.

There are those who will tell you St Patrick never existed at all and that he was made up by the Church for propaganda purposes.

As if this wasn't bad enough, there is every possibility the Brits Out movement could send St Patrick a letter bomb in the post. St Patrick was born in Britain. So why, ask the extremists, should we have a Brit as a patron saint? There is a body of opinion within the militant wing of the group that St Patrick should be replaced by St Columba, who is from the North.

Then there are strong objections from the IXA, or the Irish Xenophobic Association. The IXA is against the refugees and asylum seekers in particular. Then there are those who say they have nothing whatsoever against asylum seekers provided they do not live near them.

Never has St Patrick been under such threat. The fake beard industry is worried sick. The makers of plastic shillelaghs and the big mad hat milliners are aghast. The child labourers out foreign who produce souvenirs fear for their jobs.

It gets worse. There are suggestions the saint should be replaced by a woman and historians suggest St Patrick had to exit Wales because he was charged with a tax offence of some sort.

No doubt it was a trumped up charge and so St Patrick returned to Ireland where he sought sanctuary.

I didn't get to read St Patrick's autobiography, the 'Confessio', but someone who did told me our patron may have been placed in direct provision when he had to exit Wales.

It also seems from his book St Patrick may well have persuaded the Irish to refrain from sex, a practise it seems they were very fond of back in the 5th Century.

There are those among you who will see this as clerical enforcement of a strict and unhealthy moral code.

St Patrick picked shamrock. He ignored the signs that said "do not pick the flowers" and so was deemed an enemy of biodiversity.

There may never even have been snakes in Ireland. How do I know, you may well ask. Well I googled it, that's how. I'm in a hurry due to the day that's in it. There is other more pertinent and urgent research to attend to.

I was in the natural history section of the National Museum on Monday last and could not find any sign of stuffed Irish snakes.

Many revisionist historians think the snakes may have been a metaphor for the druids, who were pagans and so did not belong to the one true faith. If this is correct, St Patrick was guilty of religious intolerance and ethnic cleansing.

And no one knows for sure whether St Patrick is Protestant or Catholic. I'm sure he started out as a Catholic but then the Protestants claimed him. There are two St Patrick's cathedrals in Armagh. One is Protestant and the other one is Catholic. St Patrick's detractors say he has them all fighting over him up North.

Academics suggest St Patrick was Roman and so it could be he was an imperialist aggressor who was sent to win over the cracked Irish by mother church.

St Patrick may not even be a saint. Back in the old days saints were canonised at local level. According to Wikipedia, which I have studied for nearly two minutes, St Patrick was never formally ratified by the Pope. So what was St Patrick's name before he became a saint? It was Patrick.

The saint was a shepherd on Slemish Mountain in Antrim. But more say he tended sheep in Mayo, in a place called Fochill, which is very hard to say without sounding like it's a curse. There could be murder in the GAA the next time Mayo play Antrim over the rightful workplace of the shepherd.

Sheep droppings are very small and so might not have caused as much damage to the ozone layer as cows, who will be banned soon enough when the vegans take over Ireland. The vegans are spreading faster than the flu on a plane.

Patrick is guilty of sheep-minding in their eyes.

The patron saint could be had up for the pollution of Loch Derg in Donegal. St Patrick slew a serpent and turned the lake red with blood.

He was also an immigrant, as we pointed out, and Enda Kenny pointed out to Donald Trump in the White House. If you are a fan of Trump's, then St Patrick may not be for you.

The saint may even have had a wife by the name of Sheelah. I got this from an Amazon quick read of the free part of 'Saint Patrick Retold: The Legend and History of Ireland's Patron Saint', by Roy Flechner from Cambridge University.

The Catholic Church might have to throw him out. Aussie women might not like him that much because Sheelah over there is like calling Irish women 'birds'.

The small bit I read of the book maintains St Patrick was a tax exile from the UK. That's our saint fecked with the left now after that disclosure.

This is a very quickly researched piece.

The column is written on the morning of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and I have to study the horses.

Miraculously I have managed to get to the last few lines without mentioning Brexit.

This is probably the only column in Ireland or England this morning to manage such a feat of literary self-restraint.

There are as many different solutions to Brexit as shamrocks. Still though, if you want to turn people off a column, mention Brexit in the first paragraph.

I have found studying the form of horses more productive than the history of either St Patrick or the present sorry history of Brexit.

And as you can see from the above, it's no bother at all to make a seemingly convincing case against anyone from a very quick perusal of Google.

Irish Independent

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