Patrick the Pilgrim
Lough Derg, Pettigo, Co Donegal, Ireland
Lough Derg is a place of pilgrimage. People have been coming here for over a thousand years to pray and to reflect on their faith. Ever since St Patrick did the same himself. While other statues of Saint Patrick show him as an older man, this one has him much younger, full of vitality and energy, vim and vigour. But Patrick’s early life was pretty tough, and he’d later write in one of his letters of the loneliness he felt. When he was 16-years-old, in 416AD, he was kidnapped from his home in Wales, on the coast of Roman Britain. He was then sold into slavery in what is now Antrim, Northern Ireland, and made to work as a shepherd for a druid priest. And then, he heard a voice. That voice told him to escape, and escape he did, on a boat that was bound for Britain. From there, he went to France, where he was ordained as a priest and before long, became a bishop, in 432AD. Once he was sent back to Ireland, he did all he could to oppose paganism and to promote Christianity. For this, he earned the title, Patritius, the Father of His People, or Pádraig, or Patrick. Which for a man of just 32 was pretty good going.