Whatever curious and interesting subject strikes my fancy, be it silly or serious, gets posted for your reading pleasure.

Friday, 11 March 2016

When St. Patrick Impaled a Convert

There are so many stories of St. Patrick, but one that sticks in my mind, (forgive the pun, you’ll see it in a minute), is the story of how the King of Munster bravely suffered for both no reason and for every reason.

The name of the King was Aengus, and after learning about the Christian faith, Aengus earnestly desired to be baptised.  St. Patrick travelled to the royal seat of Munster, the Rock of Cashel, where he was eagerly welcomed by the people circa 445 AD.  Apparently the baptismal ceremony took place at the famous Rock, for it is also known as the Rock of Patrick.

 Image: The Rock of Cashel, site of Prince Aengus' baptism.
Hardly any ancient ruins are artifacts remain.
 The structures seen here date from the 12th and 13th centuries.

Now, St. Patrick had a habit of driving his crosier into the ground when needed, allowing him to free his hands and prepare for whatever ceremony he was presiding at, and from one version of the story I heard, St. Patrick’s pastoral staff actually had a sharp iron spike at the end.  Well, as the good saint was getting ready, he wasn’t paying too much attention to where everyone’s feet were at, so you guessed it ~ he drove his crosier right through the foot of King Aengus, nailing him to the spot.

Lo and behold, the king never uttered a sound. In fact, he stood impaled for practically the whole ceremony.

When St. Patrick was nearing the end of the ritual, he finally saw the blood flowing and realised what he had done.  He immediately freed his royal highness and cried: “I’ve injured you! Why didn’t you say something?"

The king answered simply as his wound was tended: “I thought it was part of the ceremony.”

“Why no, it’s not!  Your Highness should have spoken out! I’ve injured you, and you may be made lame for life!”

Still, King Aengus was not ruffled in the least. According to the version I heard, he replied something like this:

“Since Christ shed all His blood and gave His Life to save my soul, it is fitting I should shed a little of my blood for Him for Eternal Life.”

So, the King suffered for 'no reason', and yet for every reason!

Admiring his courage, St. Patrick took the king's shield and inscribed a cross on it with the spear point of the same crosier, saying that this shield would stand as a sign  of countless spiritual and temporal triumphs.

Image: stained glass window depicting St. Patrick baptising King Aengus. Author of photo unknown.

"The royal foot transfixed, the gushing blood
Enrich'd the pavement with a noble flood."

I find it interesting that the name 'Aengus' originates from the Proto-Celtic words  oino "one" and gus "strength" (or possibly "choice").  May we all be as strong and courageous in our faith as the King of Munster.

The saint stayed for some time in the province, for  the ancient Life of St. Patrick states:

"After Patrick had founded cells and churches in Munster, and had ordained persons of every grade, and healed the sick, and resuscitated the dead, he bade them farewell, and imparted his blessing to them." 

The same record also gives us the words of his blessing, which he gave from the hills of Tipperary:

A blessing on the Munster people —
Men, youths, and women;
A blessing on the land
That yields them fruit.

A blessing on every treasure
That shall be produced on their plains,
Without any one being in want of help,
God's blessing be on Munster.

A blessing on their peaks,
On their bare flagstones,
A blessing on their glens,
A blessing on their ridges.

Like the sand of the sea under ships,
Be the number in their hearths;
On slopes, on plains,
On mountains, on hills, a blessing.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

(Source for the information on on St. Patrick in Munster: 


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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

O'Leary the Leering Leprechaun

By now, we all have seen,
That little eejit on the shelf,
The naughty, spying git,
The smug Christmas Elf.

We forget he’s sitting there,
He stares all day without a flinch,
Then, when all are fast asleep,
Comes alive to play the Grinch.

He flies to Santa the tattletale
With all the good and bad we’ve done,
Then, plays the downright hypocrite,
He spends the night in mischievous fun.

Well, if you think the Elf is creepy,
Have I got some news for you!
Let me introduce his cousin,
Leering Leprechaun O’Leary.

One bright St. Patrick’s Day
O’Leary came up with something new:
He thought long and hard upon his life,
How things had gone askew.

He and all his merry kin,
Once wee angels in the sky,
But swayed by Lucifer’s horrid sin,
From Heaven were forced to fly.
Not yet so bad to be sent to Hell,
But not good enough to stay On High,
Down to earth they were flung,
Banished from their angelic home
Soaring in the sky.

Now they wander Eire
Waiting for the end,
For when the Trumpets blow,
The Pit will receive them then.
Before their time will come, they figured,
“Why always be so glum?
While we trot about this earth,
We’ll have our share of fun.”

So, for eons they danced and played,
Enjoyed their gold, revelled and fought,
Drank and partied millenniums away,
Heaven? Nary a thought!

Then the light for a moment dawned
In Little O’Leary’s brain.
“Sakes! What’s the point of this,
If we can’t see Heaven again?
Hell is not the place to be,
I can see that clearly.”
So, the wheels began to turn,
In the crafty mind of O’Leary.

He noted his jingly cousin
That little eejit Elf,
Was on to something good,
By sitting, staring on the shelf.
“If me daft cousin can be a snoop
And spy for someone saintly,
Sure, I can do the same,
It might work, just maybe!”

It didn’t take him long at all
To think who he could aid,
Why, St. Patrick could use a hand,
And then, he’d have it made!

That saint had earned a special grace,
A blessed gift from above:
That he could greet the Irish,
The people that he loved.
He would get to judge them first,
Then, send their souls to God.

What?  How could so great a task
Be done by just one saintly man?
O’Leary could help keep track,
Of those Paddies in every land!
Spying on all the Gaels and Celts,
Now that’s a master plan!

He could easy creep them out,
With all his leery looks,
Freaking them into being good,
Or mark them in his books.

So many Paddies make a hames
Of St. Paddy’s special day,
O’Leary thought he’d make sure,
They’d spend it the right way.

A smithereen o’green,
Did ye forget to wear?
Ah, look out me friend,
Cead mille pinches beware!
Did ye go to Holy Mass,
Did ye say all ye’re prayers?
Or like ing-uns are ye’re sins and faults
Piled up in multi-layers?
Did ye go and take the time
To unload them in confession?
Or are ye just wasting time,
With all ye’re larkin’ and ye’re messin’?
Did ye think to thank the saint?
Nay! Ye’re  a gluttin’ on corned beef!
Ah, more’s the pity,
Ah, more’s the grief!
A drinking ye love to do,
The stout and whisky flows,
The Pledge is gone, the bottle remains,
Oh yes, O’Leary knows.

The list goes on and on,
What keeps us from the pearly gates,
O’Leary marks it down,
He and all his tiny mates,
For now every leprechaun,
Has latched to his bright idea,
If they help him out they figure,
They too will have no Hell to fear!

We know not what St. Patrick thinks,
O’Leary lacked the stout to ask him,
The leprechauns thought they’d save them up,
And all the records hand him.

How successful will they be?
‘Tis difficult to tell,
For they are all as cheeky,
As the family Christmas Elves.
At night they resume their auld ways,
It’s hard to stay so good!
Drinking, fighting and hoarding gold,
Divilment is in the blood.

But by day if they are caught,
You may see what they have done,
Poking in all your cupboards,
Or making sure your work’s undone.

Ah, ye little hypocrites,
To spy on us so sorely!
Then to find ye’re just as weak,
Ye’re virtues are sure poorly!

So beware, all ye who boast,
Irish ancestry in ye’re blood,
O’Leary and all his puckish mates
Know when ye’re up to no good.


Other St. Patrick Day Blog posts you may like:

When St. Patrick Impaled a Convert 
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