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The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick -Saint Patrick

The scene that followed is somewhat differently described by Tirechan and the Tripartite, but in the main the accounts agree. Patrick, with Enda Crom and young Conall, had come to the place called afterwards Crosspatrick, and the Saint was, it appears, then engaged in baptising a number of the Tirawley men, who were, doubtless, followers of Enda Crom. The scene of their baptism was the holy well which still flows in a copious stream about one hundred yards west of the old church of Crosspatrick, and close by the modern road to Killala. Just then they heard that the troop of the heathen was approaching against them, and whilst Enda Crom seized his arms to repel them, it seems Patrick sent Conall forward to indicate to him by some sign where exactly the Druids’ leader stood. They were then about one mile distant to the west. Patrick saw them clearly from the cross to the west of Crosspatrick church—it was doubtless placed there to mark the spot. He had heard that Reon the Druid declared that as soon as he, Reon, would see Patrick he would cause the earth to swallow him up. But Patrick replied, “It is I shall first see him,” and as soon as he saw Reon, ‘the earth opened to swallow him down.’ “I will believe,” said Reon, “if I am saved from death.” Then the earth threw him up again; he believed and was baptised. But Rechred, the leader of the pagan host, was lifted high in the air, and falling down, his head was broken against a rock, and fire from heaven burnt his body to ashes. Tirechan, however, does not give these particulars, but merely says that when Patrick saw the Druid host he raised his left hand to heaven and cursed the chief Druid, whereupon he fell dead in the midst of his fellows; his followers, too, were scattered over the whole country, and he was burned to ashes in the sight of all.

The locality of this wonderful event is defined with great accuracy, and all the places referred to can be readily identified. ‘There is a church there’ (where Patrick stood) says the Tripartite. Crosspatrick is its name, to the east of the wood of Focluth. Telach na n-Druad is the name of the place wherein was the troop of the heathen (one mile) to the west of Crosspatrick. Glaiss Conaig is between them—this was the stream that flowed and still flows from Meelick Lake to the sea. The church and holy well at Crosspatrick are well known, and Patrick’s seat is still shown just outside the old churchyard. Telach na n-Druadh, where the magus perished, was near Killala, and a church was built on the spot to commemorate the miracle. The church and the Druid’s stone have entirely disappeared, but we learned from some old men that both were to be seen in their youth in a field a little to the left of the new road to Palmerstown, just beyond the village of Killala. The ‘improving’ owner, however, cleared all away.






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