Why the Welsh Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick Window

Patron Saint of Ireland and Cymro

On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day and having come across a letter to the editor in the Western Mail from George Brinley Evans,  I think it’s appropriate to pay homage to a revered and venerated saint of the Early Celtic Christian Church. Besides all the parades to be marched and pint glasses of heady brews to be lifted to celebrate the day on which St. Patrick died, there will be another ceremony.

This commemorative event will take place in the village where St. Patrick was born, in Banwen, near Castell Nedd (Neath), in the Dulais Valley, near Abertawe (Swansea). He was the son of a propsperous merchant in a part of Wales renown for its contribution to the Industrial Revolution.

At about 16 years of age, Patrick and his sister were captured and enslaved by Irish marauders. He spent many years in Ireland as a shepherd. He escaped to his home in Cymru (Wales) and studied in Llydaw (Brittany) before being ordained and travelling to Rome. After his ordination as a bishop, he returned to Ireland to carry on his personal mission of sheltering the homeless and feeding the hungry.

Location of St. Patrick's Commemorative Stone In Banwen

A standing stone at the side of the Roman road, Sarn Helen, in Banwen commemorates the courage and bravery of this famous Cymro (Welshman), whose dedication and humility are celebrated throughout the world. A service at the site of the stone will be attended by villagers and eminent compatriots.

For more information about St. Patrick, Black Lab Books (New York) are publishing Thomas John Clark’s The Chronicles of St. Patrick in chapter-length editions. For a fictionalized story, Stephen Lawhead’s Patrick is intense and comprehensive.

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9 Comments

Filed under Cymraeg/Welsh Language, Cymreig/Welsh, Cymru/Wales, Hanes Cymru/Welsh History, Y Cymry/Welsh People

9 responses to “Why the Welsh Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

  1. Denise Pattison

    I didn’t know he was born in Wales. Or if I did, I’d forgotten it. You write a truly wonderful blog. I read it but don’t post all the time.

    What happened to his sister? Is there anything else written about her?

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  2. Now, there’s a question and a great subject. Very few women ever get even that little information written about them. You might think that women did not exist or make any contribution. A young woman taken as a slave by Irish marauders may have had a similar fate to her brother – labor on the estate of a chieftain. I haven’t seen any other mention of her otherwise.

    Thank you for your kind words, Denise. Diolch yn fawr. I very happy to know you read this blog. Having a reader makes a world of difference.

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  3. Awfully well written post!

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  4. Saint Patrick begins his ‘Confessio’ – autobiography – as follows:

    “1. I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many, had for father the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest, of the settlement [vicus] of Bannavem Taburniae; he had a small villa nearby where I was taken captive.”

    I am no scholar but it may be assumed, I think, that ‘Bannavem Taburniae’ is what is now known as ‘Banwen’.

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    • Banwen is near Castell Nedd (Neath). This is consistent with historical information about Patrick and his enslavement. Thank you. I have been near the area but without then making the connection. The Welsh Patron Saint, David, is believed to be half-Irish (though under unfortunate circumstances for his mother), so the two Celtic saints celebrated this month share considerable heritage. Diolch yn fawr, Patrick.

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  5. Pingback: The Welsh and St. Patrick | Lily Dewaruile: Medieval Welsh Romance

  6. “The college of Llantwit, known as the College or Seminary of Theodosius (Cor Tewdws in Welsh) or College of St. Illtyd, at its peak reputedly had seven halls, over 400 houses and over 2000 students,[9] including seven sons of British princes, and scholars such as St. Patrick, St. Paul Aurelian, the bard Taliesin, Gildas the historian, Samson of Dol, Paulinus, Bishop of Leon, and St. David is believed to have spent some time there.[10][11][12] According to documents, whilst Saint Patrick was a priest at the monastery he was abducted by Irish pirates, later becoming the patron saint of Ireland.”

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    • Hi, Marty! This somewhat conflicts with other accounts as far as timeline. This implies he was a priest before he was taken as a slave by Irish marauders/pirates. Thank you so much for the information. I’m not an expert on St. Patrick but enjoy that he was a Welshman. And St. David (the patron saint of Cymru/Wales) was the son of an Irishman (some say a pirate). The connections between these Celtic countries is intricate and surprising. Thank you for commenting. Diolch yn fawr.

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