‘Patrick, Ulster’s Scottish Saint’ is now available free of charge from Ballymena Visitor Information Centre at The Braid on Bridge Street.
Commenting on the new booklet Patrick, Ulster’s Scottish Saint, Ulster-Scots Agency Chief Executive Ian Crozier said, “The Ulster we know today was shaped in the 1600s - when the Ulster-Scots emerged as a distinct people – but the peoples of these islands were living together and influencing each other for thousands of years before that - diverse yet interdependent. There is no better example than Patrick, the man who brought Christianity to Ireland.
“For centuries, it was well known and accepted by all communities here that Ireland’s Patron Saint was born and raised on the banks of the Clyde, kidnapped as a youth and brought to Ulster as a slave, reputedly at Slemish in County Antrim.
“Six years later he escaped and found his way home, only to return and bring the good news of Christianity to his former captors, changing this place forever. Sadly, over the past hundred years or so, this once-familiar knowledge has declined.
“The aim of our new publication is to recover these traditions so that people today can reclaim a part of our heritage that was in danger of being lost.”
The new publication looks at the extensive Roman presence in Scotland, which people often don’t know about, and which leads them to conclude that Patrick must have come from England because they think the Romans only got as far as Hadrian’s Wall. It highlights the long-standing stories and placenames in Scotland and east Ulster relating to Patrick, some of which were passed from the Irish to newly arrived Scottish settlers; and also sets out a range of examples of learned folk from all communities here writing about Patrick’s Scottish story.
Most importantly, it compares these local traditions to the only two surviving documents written by Patrick himself.