Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saint Patrick's Grave in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland

My photo of a Saint Patrick statue
 Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

When everyone celebrates Saint Patrick's Day around the world on March 17th with parades, leprechauns, shamrocks, corned beef and cabbage, and green beer, etc, it can be easy to forget that this day is the feast day of a real man who, for the most part, lived and died in Northern Ireland around the early part of the 5th century, and converted the then pagan Irish natives to Christianity.


My photo of a St. Patrick Statue 
 Church of St. Joseph
Brooklyn, New York

When Saint Patrick was around 14 years old he was kidnapped from his Scottish homeland by Irish raiders and sold into slavery in Ireland.  He was forced to work as a shepherd for six years, living under harsh conditions and suffering hunger and cold. Patrick turned to God for help as he wrote:

"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."

Saint Patrick
Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

He eventually escaped through divine intervention and returned to his homeland, where he entered the priesthood and rose to the position of Bishop.  Patrick had many visions of the people of Ireland begging him to return:

"I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: "The Voice of the Irish". As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: "We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us."


St. Patrick,  Church of St. Joseph, Brooklyn, New York

Legend has it that Saint Patrick used a three leaf shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish people, using its three leaves to symbolize the concept of three divine persons of God: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He left a particularly strong impression in Ulster, especially in the Downpatrick area, although at the time of his death he had not yet converted the whole island and was still subject to persecution. After nearly thirty years of missionary work he died on March 17, 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick.


I was very fortunate last year to be able to visit Downpatrick one of Ireland's most ancient and historic towns, when I was on a trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland last April of 2011. You can read about that trip, and others I've made to Ireland, if you scroll through my Ireland label here.



In Downpatrick I visited The Saint Patrick Centre, located at 53A Market Street, Downpatrick, County Down.




The Centre is an exciting interpretative exhibition which tells the fascinating story of Ireland's Patron Saint through Patrick's own words, as you can see in the photo mosaic above. A series of interactive displays allow visitors to explore how Patrick's legacy developed in early Christian times and enjoy the fabulous artwork and metalwork which was produced during this Golden Age.


The highlight of my visit to Downpatrick was in the grave yard of Down Cathedral, which is part of the Church of Ireland. It stands on the site of a Benedictine Monastery, built in 1183. Unfortunately, the church was not open on my visit, but interior photo links can be found at the bottom of this web page.



Slightly behind, and to the side of the church, on Cathedral Hill, is the graveyard.



There, on the crest of a hill overlooking the town of Downpatrick, lies the remains of Saint Patrick in a grave located under this slab of granite from the nearby Mourne Mountains.



On top of his marker were a few dried out bouquets of flowers that may have been laid there a month before, on his feast day last year.



I read the inscribed placard that says the remains of Saint Brigid and Saint Columba are also interred in this cemetery.


Tears came to my eyes as I touched the stone.


I was so touched and grateful to see the final resting place of the Saint whose name I bear, and in the country of some of my ancestors. This was one of the most memorable and spiritual sights of all I've seen in Ireland!



I'm linking  this post to the following upcoming blog events:

Pink Saturday  (Green for St. Patrick's Day!)

and



Thank you to all the blog hosts!

Have a very




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109 comments:

Michelle said...

A very touching post! Here in my area of Kentucky, there are many, many families who claim Irish ancestry from Ulster. How wonderful that you were able to visit.

Pondside said...

What a pilgrimage that must have been for you. I would love to visit Ireland and see some of those inspiring places - thanks for sharing your visits.

LDH said...

How I enjoyed this post, Pat! The history and the photos are wonderful. Lovely place!

Snap said...

Beautiful, touching post. A toast to you and St. Partrick!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Wonderful post Pat...I love the history behind the holiday and your pictures of the church are great...I love it when you take me places I have never been!

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful post, Pat! And thanks for sharing the real story about St Patrick. My ancestors are also from Ireland and I am proud to be part Irish. Wonderful photos. Have a great week and Happy St Patricks Day.

Pamela Gordon said...

I really enjoyed this post Pat. You shared some beautiful photos and history on St. Patrick that I never new. Blessings, Pamela

podso said...

Inspiring and informative and very touching, Pat. And wonderful photos!

Karen Harvey Cox said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day Pat. Your photographs are wonderful. You should publish a book, I love your writing.

Karen

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Wow, very nice Pat, great info and pics! First time I've heard the whole story of St. Patrick:@)

Carol said...

Touching post, Pat. What a wonderful trip you had.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Ginny said...

What a special treat, your actual pictures of Ireland!!! The grave does not look like I thought it would, but it is so dramatic. The graveyard itself is lovely Everything is so GREEN!!

Lavender Cottage said...

Hi Pat
I enjoyed the history of St. Patrick and your beautiful photos of Ireland. To visit the gardens there is on my bucket list.
Judith

Heather said...

Wow. Thank you so much for this lovely post. It has given me such a different perspective to St. Patrick. Never knew his story.

I'm your newest linky follower. Looking forward to getting to know your favorite city (one of my favorite places too).

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

This is so interesting. I really never knew anything about St. Patrick so it's nice to read your post! Enjoy your week, my friend! ♥

Betsy said...

I have never heard the history of St. Patrick! What a wonderful post. And how touching that you got to visit the gravesite. The photos are lovely!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Wow Pat. I never knew all that about St. Patrick. Your posts never fail to educate and inspire. Now I need to return to Ireland and visit Downpatrick (if the luck of Irish is with me).

The French Hutch said...

Pat, this is such a heartfelt post. I enjoyed reading the history with your beautiful photographs. I would love to visit the town of Downpatric, maybe our next trip. We also visited Trinity College and saw the book of Kells. Did you enjoy Boxty house as much as I did? I loved the bread ice cream!
Have a great week.

~Emily
The French Hutch

WhiteStone said...

Wonderful post. I'll never make it to Ireland so it was very interesting to see your photos and to read your words about St. Patrick. Thanks.

From the Kitchen said...

Very interesting post! I can imagine how touching it must have been to touch the stone Where St. Patrick is interred. The cemetery is lovely,

Best,
Bonnie

kitty said...

I enjoyed your post so very much, Pat. We visited Belfast, but never went to Downpatrick. Your pics made me want to go back. Oh, how we loved Ireland!!!

Cindy said...

So very interesting, Pat, every time I read your blog I learn something. This was something that I had forgotten if I have read it before. This Patrick was a brave man, and certainly believed very strongly in what he was doing.
Hugs, Cindy

Nann from At Nann's Table said...

THANKYOU for coming to my blog and making a comment about my soup. It really is fast and delicious and so easy to make and I do hope you will enjoy it.

I am so glad I have come to your blog. I did NOT know all of this. Wow talk about impressive. I have always loved St.Patricks day but had no idea of his life, work or sainthood. What a dedicated God fearing man. What a great influence he had on an entire nation...and the world. This was so informative and If it is OK I may mention your blog post in one of mine with a link directly to your blog so others can enjoy it as much as I have. Thankyou for sharing all of this. I am going to share it with my family. Also I am now following you. So glad you found me so that I could find you.

Nann

kathleen j. said...

What a beautiful post Pat. It is a dream of mine to visit Ireland one day. My grandfather is from Tipperary. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you and thank you for your birthday wishes.

Pat said...

Absolutely beautiful post, Pat!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Lui said...

What an interesting story! Thanks for sharing. And the places are so special. I should note it in memory when I visit Ireland!

Riet said...

What a beautiful and touching post Pat. Today again I learned something from you. St Patricksday is not really known here in Holland but just the other day I read there is an Irish pub very near to our home so I must see what they are doing on that day.
Have a nice week and happy St Patricksday.

Lisa Gordon said...

What a beautiful tribute, Pat.
Thank you so much for all of the information here. Much of it, I did not know.

Thank you also for sharing it with us today at The Creative Exchange.

Have a wonderful day!

lisa.

Old Kitty said...

Awww it's so easy to forget the person behind the celebrated day - so this such a wonderful reminder!

It's brilliant that you were able to touch the stone over this grave. The stone is beautiful - there'a great link about these memorial stones in the site about the cathedral - fascinating stuff!

Take care
x

Deanna said...

You took me there with your stunning photos and I too, got a lump in my throat. Such a lovely and mystical place. How fortunate that you have had the opportunity to travel there. I have always loved your posts and I know of no other blogger whose photos blow me away every time.

I read the Pink Under the Bridges post and was just amazed at how beautifully the bricks had aged. I had never heard of the Dumbo area until the other day when I got a call from a customer asking for a caterer near the Dumbo area. When I pulled out my maps on my screen, I discovered where it was located in the city. My customer and I had a delightful conversation about that area which only increased my desire to visit New York. I asked why that area was called DUMBO and she told me it stood for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. I may have discovered that on my own many many years from now...haahaha! She was very sweet about it though!

I hope that sometime next year, my husband and I can venture up to NYC. I don't want to have any regrets about not pursuing any of my desires.

Thank you for your amazing posts Pat and for such a touching tribute to Saint Patrick.

Deanna

Tanya said...

great post!

Tracy said...

An especially beautiful post, Pat! It really does touch the heart to see the grave of St. Patrick...I love the many leave him flowers. :o) Thanks for taking us along, and the history lesson. Happy Week ((HUGS))

SmilingSally said...

I'm just enough Irish to proudly wear green each March 17th.

Thanks for sharing your blues.

Happy Blue Monday, Pat.

Cafe au lait said...

What a beautiful post. And your photos are gorgeous.

My Blue Monday.

Theanne said...

A lovely post Pat!

Jenny said...

How beautiful Pat. Love that emerald green grass. You just make all your travels so rich with interesting history!

When you start your travel company, let me know. I'll save my bucks up and go along!

Claudia said...

'tis a beautiful connection you have there, Pat. I do love reading about St. Patrick on really reflect on the day and the Saint instead of the green beer.

John McElveen said...

My wife and I met on St Patrick's day 30 years ago this year! What a wonderful stroll with you!

Thanks,

John

Vee said...

It was via your Ireland trips that I first met you four years ago! I wanted to have something to link to for St. Patrick's Day that year and your trip to Ireland proved to be just the thing! I love thinking of you standing there, filled with emotion, at St. Patrick's grave. There are miracles in this world and his call to service in Ireland is one of them. Thank you, Pat, for another wonderful post on Ireland.

(John and I were just discussing St. Patrick's Day. I told him that for one day he would have to pretend that he was Irish instead of Swedish. He replied that he wouldn't have to pretend very much as he has a great-grandfather who was Irish as do I.)

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Such a graceful and elegant statue of a grace filled man. Isn't it disturbing to see how his life was poured out to save others, and yet today his life is noted as a day for excess and friviolity.
Hmmm...ditto the birthday of the man born in Bethlehem.

Ingmarie We said...

A very lovely post! I have enjoyed it very much. You have always so many interesting and in spiring things to tell us. Now I want to go to Ireland!

A Garden of Threads said...

Fantastic post Pat. I too visit St. Patricks grave 2 years ago. Have a wonderful week:)

chubskulit said...

Beautiful captures.

One of my blue enty is at my Spice Up Your Life blog, come and take a peek. Have a great week!

Vicki/Jake said...

Great story and how awesome that you got to go visit there. I'll be swamped in family history for awhile, but it's something I love doing. You have a great St Paddy's Day too:)

Kim, USA said...

Wish someday I could visit N. Ireland so beautiful!

BM

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What a horrible thing for St. Patrick to have been kidnapped and sold into slavery. No wonder he decided to go into the priesthood after he escaped and returned home. And, how wonderful for you to have visited his burial place.

shutterbuggbitten said...

What a touching and beautiful post.

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Very touching post.
I like your first photo of Saint Patrick statue very much.

Regards and best wishes

Genie said...

I cannot believe I have found another person as in love with Ireland as I am. I have been there time and time again: alone a number of times, with my husband, with my husband and a friend, and with my BFF. I would move there in a New York Minute. I even stayed in an old convent to study fiddle at the Willy Clancey Music School in Miltown Malbay. I know just how special your name is. It was my sister’s name and both of my DIL’s are Patricia. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos. I did not know St. Brigid’s remains were there, too. I was educated by Dominicans so I love my saints. I would have cried at that some, too. genie

Terry said...

Thank you for such an informative post. Faith is so important.

Happy Monday!
Terry

Jeanie said...

What a fascinating and timely post! I learned something today -- I love that! And Ireland -- it's on my bucket list -- not for the next trip abroad, but someday!

Judy SheldonWalker said...

Being from Irish heritage I absolutely adored this post. It is informative and I loved the photos.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Pat... Great post about Saint Patrick. I had not seen his final resting place. I can imagine how much you enjoyed seeing it in person.

I'd love to see Down Cathedral.. I have to check out the inside of that beauty...

Thanks for sharing. We are home from our 2nd trip is a month--and both of us have colds.. Yuk! Guess it will be REST for this upcoming week for both of us.

Hugs,
Betsy

mercedesscott said...

what a fabulous post and gorgeous pictures! My husband visited Ireland a few years back and fell in love the all its beauty and the people... I hope to visit within the next couple of years myself. Thanks for sharing :)

Vagabonde said...

Such a touching post, Pat. I am pleased that you were able to take this trip to Ireland and see what meant so much to you – your photos are lovely.

Sarah said...

Pat, I would love to visit Ireland someday. Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos. Makes me feel as if I've been on a mini trip. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you, Pat. ~ Sarah

ladyfi said...

Wonderful shots of an amazing place.

La Petite Gallery said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. I never went to Belfast, when in Ireland. Did Donagal,Sligo, up to the top of the west coast and drove down the coast. It is gorgeous. Thanks for such great photo's and post.
yvonne
Think I'll drive to Belfast, Maine
tomorrow, they have an Art show going on.

cassandrasminicorner said...

Very interesting!


Visiting for Blue Monday- hope you can stop by:)

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I'm inviting you to join my $50 give away, hope you can join. 1 day and 14 hrs left..Visit here:http://www.sweetposh.info/2012/03/eternity-bangles.html

Rettabug said...

Thank you so much, Pat, for this wonderfully informative post. I didn't know any of this existed! When we visited Ireland, YEARS ago, we were mostly in the southern portion & we golfed instead of really touring cities. I hope to someday go back & I am putting this on my bucket list.

I'm sharing your link with all my brothers & sisters today so they may know the details of St. Patrick too.

Happy St. Patty's Day, a wee bit early,
Rett

GailO said...

Whenever I visit your blog I seem to get the urge to travel! I always learn so much here as I get visual enjoyment through your photos.

Hope all is well with you and your family...sorry I haven't been blog hopping...or blogging for that matter:)...lately!

ellen b. said...

This is such a great post you have put together Pat. I really enjoyed reading it. I'll have to bookmark it to read more slowly when I get all caught up from the distractions of the wedding which was fantastic in every way! Blessings.

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shots of the place. That cathedral is marvelous.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Such an interesting and fascinating post, I love the things I learn about in the blog sphere.

Barbara F. said...

I enjoyed the photos but will revisit to read all the wonderful info I know you provided here. Holy Cross Cemetery, I have grandparents and great-grands resting there. Hope you have a blessed St. Paddy's day, Pat. xo

Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs said...

So lush and green. Love the photos, especially of Downpatrick. Visiting your blog is always such a treat, with so much to learn and lovely photos to enjoy. I'm sad to say I don't get here as often as I'd like. Love, love, love. I wish you the most wondrous of St. Patrick's Days, Pat. I know it's a beloved holiday for you and I hope you enjoy it immensely. Cheers, my friend!

Karen said...

Beautiful photos!
And Biscuit is adorable!

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest said...

What an amazing post, wow.

I "felt" your passion through you remarkable words.

Thank you so much for sharing this experience with us.

Happy and blessed SPD to you!

Marigene said...

Wonderful photos...love the history lesson, some of it I knew and some I didn't. Thanks for sharing.

Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) said...

Hi Pat, Although I have heard the story of St. Patrick before I did not know that he is buried in Northern Ireland! I have not been to Northern Ireland but it is on my list. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. Linda

Kathleen said...

Beautiful, Pat! And happy feast day on the 17th!
The good Sisters at St.Patrick's made sure we knew the significance of the feast day, no Leprechauns or kiss me I'm Irish buttons allowed! :)
Thanks for joining in the crawl!

Yvette said...

Fabulous post, Pat. I learned so much. I admit I was derelict in my knowledge of St. Patrick. But now, thanks to you, I'm up to date just in time for Saturday's celebrations.

Sometimes we forget that these holidays are based on actual human beings. The gravesite brought that home to me. Thanks.

Priscilla said...

What a wonderful post. I've enjoyed reading your commenters as well. So many fascinating details. Thank you

Jenny Woolf said...

What an amazing person he must have been. Imagine someone who had that history today. Most inspiring. An appropriate St Patrick's day post.

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

You are so fortunate to have visited that special place.

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

What a beautiful post, Pat. I learned so much, and the photos were beautiful. I could feel your reverence as you talked about your visit to the grave. Thank you so much for sharing this. laurie

Jeanne said...

Hello Pat, this is an awesome post and I learned so much about St. Patrick. I have never given his life much thought. Your photos are awesome and your post inspiring. You are the best blogger with the most interesting posts. Thank you for the huge effort you put into blogging.

I saw the news about the goat walking the streets in N.Y. Have you seen him? HA!

I know the wedding plans are all consuming right now. You are in my thoughts more than you know. I pray that all is perfect for the bride and groom.

Hugs, Jeanne

diane b said...

A very moving post.

Pie Lady Pat said...

My one trip to Ireland (so far) was as if I were truly at home! Having an Irish grandmother, the trip made sense of so many phrases, attitudes, customs that I had not realized were from her homeland. Thank you for the lovely post.

Cathy said...

What a beautiful post, Pat. Thanks for telling us about St. Patrick's life. I would love to visit Ireland on day. My great-great grandfather and grandmother were born in Belfast and I loved the photos you shared. Happy St. Patrick's Day to ya'.

Icy BC said...

Fascinating information on St. Patrick. Thank you, and enjoyed reading and looking through your terrific photos.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

What a wonderful experience!

Sue said...

What interesting history, and those Downpatrick photos make me want to visit. That first one (the city view) really grabbed at me.

=)

anitamombanita said...

love that first photo and the one overlooking Downpatrick! So quaint and perfect for Q!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I enjoyed this post very much, especially the photos. I didn't know where St Patrick was buried. Oh, and happy St Paddy's Day!

Cindy F. Adkins said...

This was so interesting and your photos are gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing. Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Cindy

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I loved reading this, Pat. What a beautiful tribute to St. Patrick, one of my favorite saints, too.

Thank you so much for visting me back in February. I'm so sorry I haven't been blogging. I've had computer issues and am on Mr. Magpie's work computer tonight.Am home for a bit before I have to head back out of town. Don't know when I am going to have a chance to get a new one because I am up to my eyeballs in life stuff... Adelaide's husband had a triple bypass (unexpected), and another friend's husband is in the final days of pancreatic cancer. I have had no time to blog which I miss SO much.

I hope to be back by the end of spring. I miss you and all of my blogging buddies.

Take good care...

XO,

Sheila :-)

Cynthia said...

What a wonderful post. I love the story of St. Patrick, and I get a little annoyed at the antics that surround his feast day. How lucky that you were able to visit his grave. I had chills just looking at your pictures! If I am ever lucky enough to visit Ireland, this would be on my list. Thank you for sharing your very special experience.

Honey at 2805 said...

What a wonderful St Patrick's Day post. Your pictures are beautiful and I enjoyed the history lesson. Thank you for sharing this lovely post at Potpourri Friday! Your participation is always appreciated! Happy St Patrick's Day!

Jo said...

what an utterly fascinating post. Thank you for this ... i read it twice, and i am sure i will return to read it again. Such an amazing bit of history, and your photos are just stellar!

Houseelf said...

Happy St Patrick's Day! I am working on the house still, so am slow to get back into Blogland.

Jo's This and That said...

Thanks for sharing your lovely post Joann

Reba and Eldarose, sisters, friends and co-bloggers said...

Pat,

What a lovely post. Very profound ideas. I had a chance to visit Ireland when I was in college because my college roommate was there and I was studying in Paris, and I didn't make it happen and I've regretted it since. Especially now that I am older and taking a big trip like that seems so faraway and hard to imagine. I would love to go to Ireland. It is one of my top places I want to visit. It looks so gorgeous in the pictures and lovely posts like yours, just make me want to visit more.

Thank you for sharing.

I dropped by after you left a lovely comment on my St. Patrick's Day Table post. My sister, Reba, and I share a blog and we are your newest followers.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Eldarose

steviewren said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I enjoyed reading this post and seeing what Patrick's life and mission mean to you.

2amscrapper said...

I'm visiting Pink Saturday and am so glad that I clicked on your link--what a wonderful, informative post!

once in a blue moon said...

loved this, thanks so much for sharing your trip~

Red Nomad OZ said...

What a shame St Patricks day seems to be more about wearing green and drinking Guinness than commemorating his life!

Was he responsible for banishing snakes from Ireland?

Thanx for the history - you must be proud to bear his name!

thestonerabbit said...

Hope you had a great St. P's day, Pat! I really enjoyed this post.....as wonderful reminder about what the day means.

I got goosebumps just looking at the photos of St. Patrick's grave. I can't imagine how moving it would have been to be there in person and to touch it! I'm glad you were able to do that!

My life is settling down a bit...I hope to be a better blog visitor!

Have a great Sunday!

L, Dana

GrandmaK said...

I never fail to enjoy visits with you! This one is no exception!! Thank you! You offer so many treasures!!! Cathy

Pat's Pink Apron said...

Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing with us.
I'm visiting from How Sweet The Sound.
Pat

Gary said...

Great post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

1CardCreator said...

Beautiful photography! Happy Pink Saturday! ~Diane (I am #75)

chubskulit said...

Gorgeous! Visiting late for Pink Saturday.

Green Goodies, is my entry. Please come by when you get a chance. Have a great week ahead.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

What a great St. Patrick's Day post...and how nice to hear the story behind the man.

I too would love to visit Ireland one day!

Charlotte said...

What a blessing to visit Ireland and see all these great landmarks. The pictures are fantastic. Thank you for sharing them.
Blessings,
Charlotte

The Tablescaper said...

Great post. Great to have you be a part of Seasonal Sundays.

- The Tablescaper

Donna said...

How wonderful that you got to visit this part of Ireland and see the famous saint's gravesite!

Anita Johnson said...

So glad I found your blog this morning...this was wonderful to read, Pat! Your photos are beautiful too!

Bonnie said...

I am reading your 2013 post in 2014. Pat, this was so interesting and touching. I would love to visit Ireland some day.

Happy 2014 St. Patrick's Day.