in Ireland

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It is traditionally believed that Ireland was converted to Christianity by St Patrick. As the matter of fact there were Christians in Ireland before the arrival of St Patrick. In fact in 431 Pope Celestine appointed Palladius as first Bishop to "the Irish who believed in Christ". Probably the first Christians were  Gaulish (French) missionaries to Ireland.

Patrick was the most important missionary but one man did not convert Ireland, with its decentralised politics and poor communications in a single lifetime. The conversion of Ireland was a long drawn out process. Christianity did not impose itself on Ireland, it adapted to Irish circumstances. Celtic gods and goddesses became Christian saints, pagan sites became church sites, holy wells became sites of Christians worship and important churches were often located closed to important political sites.

Patrick was born in Carlisle in north west Britain, but when he was a boy he was captured by Irish traders and taken to Ireland as a slave tending sheep. After about six years he escaped from his captors and travelled to Gaul (France) where he trained to become a priest. After working in Gaul and in Britain he is said to have been told in a vision to return to Ireland and convert the Irish to Christianity. Between the time of his arrival in 432 A.D. until his death in 461 A.D., he persuaded all the kings of Ireland to convert.

St Patrick, who is the patron saint of Ireland, is also credited with the expulsion of all snakes from Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) is celebrated by the Irish all over the world. In New York up to 125,000 people take part in a special parade and they all dress in green, the colour of Ireland. This custom is known as "wearing the green".