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St. Patrick: Mysteries, Monsters, and Miracles from Ancient Ireland

The real St. Patrick had nothing to do with green beer or leprechauns. He was a Christian evangelist who made it his mission to convert all of Ireland. Patrick’s life is a great story even without embellishments, but the embellishments and legends added after the fact are quite interesting, too. Here is one of them:

The Peist is a dragon-like creature that’s said to live in the freshwater lakes and rivers of Ireland (and along the coast of Scotland and the Orkney Islands). With a long, eel-like body and a horse-like head, the creature is also called the eel-horse, or the Muir-dris. One of the largest of these creatures was the Oillipheist, and it was terrified of St Patrick.

It’s long been said that St Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland, and even then, his reputation preceded him. According to tradition, the Oillipheist heard that the saint would be coming for him next, and in his panic, he sliced through the land and created what’s now the River Shannon.

While he was cutting his way through the land, the beast swallowed a famous piper named O Ruairc. The piper was so drunk that he didn’t even notice he’d been swallowed by the dragon, and simply continued to play his pipes. The Oillipheist subsequently decided he was more trouble that he was worth, and vomited the piper back out.

There are a bunch of these legends surrounding St. Patrick chronicled at Urban Ghosts. There are also parenthetical references to the known facts of Patrick’s life, making it an appropriate read for St. Patricks day.

(Image credit: Sicarr)

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There were no 'snakes' driven from Ireland. They were the Irish people who were pagans and wore snake tattoos and the goodly saint had most of them killed, the others were driven away from their homeland. The 'saint' was quite blood thirsty, IMO.
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