Battle for the Body of Saint Patrick

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The Battle for the Body of Saint Patrick (Cath Coirp Naomh Padraic) occurred shortly after the death of Saint Patrick, who died on 17 March 493.

Account in the Annals of the Four Masters[edit]

"There was a rising of battle, and a cause of dissension in the province contending for the body of Patrick after his death. The Uí Néill and the Airgíalla attempting to bring it to Armagh; the Ulaid to keep it with themselves.

And the Uí Néill and the Oirghialla came to a certain water, and the river swelled against them so that they were not able to cross it in consequence of the greatness of the flood. When the flood had subsided these hosts united on terms of peace, i.e. the Ui Neill and the Ulaid, to bring the body of Patrick with them. It appeared to each of them that each had the body conveying it to their respective territories, so that God separated them in this manner, without a fight or battle.

The body of Patrick was afterwards interred at Dun Da Lethglas with great honour and veneration; and during the twelve nights that the religious seniors were watching the body with psalms and hymns, it was not night in Magh Inis or the neighbouring lands, as they thought, but as if it were the full undarkened light of day. Of the year of Patrick's death was said:

  • Since Christ was born, a correct enumeration/Four hundred and fair ninety/Three years add to these/Till the death of Patrick, chief Apostle.

External source[edit]