Thursday, August 20, 2020

St Patrick - "born in Scotland, 'born again' in Ireland"

I am very thankful to the friend who recommended today that I have a look as Rev Thomas Hamilton's 1886 History of the Irish Presbyterian Church as it contains a sizeable passage about St Patrick and Scotland. Within it he says "the patron saint of Ireland was in reality a Scotsman ... climbed the steep sides of Slemish ... gazed wistfully across the sea to where on the horizon he could dimply descry the hills of his native Scotland".

Given the era in which it was written, with Home Rule and politics to the fore, the book begins with an interesting chapter on the ancient relationships between Scotland and Ireland – "... the present inhabitants of all the four provinces of Ireland are the descendants of successive bodies of invaders, who from time to time subjugated or dispossessed the original denizens of the country, so that to speak now of an indigenous population in any proper sense of the term, is an entire mistake... Ireland was the first Scotland, and the first Scotchmen were Irishmen."

It is online on here.

• A biography of Hamilton is on the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland website here.

• He was President of Queen's College (now Queen's University Belfast) from 1889–1923.