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Cahill begins his discussion of the Irish people in an extensive reference to Medh, the Queen of Connacht. Through her story we are first shown the aggressive spirit and strength of the Irish people. As Cahill relays, no barbarian tribe or nation was feared like the Irish when it came to the slave trade, and it is through this vein of interaction- the slave trade- that a young man by the name of Patricius is introduced to the realm of Unholy Ireland. Taken from his home in Romanized Briton, he is subject to several years of slavery in the most unsavory of conditions. These conditions serve as a catalyst for his spiritual enlightenment and ultimately that of the Irish peoples (38).
St. Patrick, as he would be called, after revelation from God, escapes from slavery and returns to his home in Britain for a short time. On return to Ireland, St. Patrick dedicates the remainder of his life to spreading Christianity through the land. He transformed original Celtic warrior values into new Christian ones. Not only did St. Patrick love the Irish people, but the Irish people loved St. Patrick. Cahill notes: "as the Roman lands went from peace to chaos, the land of Ireland was rushing even more rapidly from chaos to peace" (124). The Irish, then, in their new fervor for Christianity, began setting up centers of spiritual learning. It is here in these monasteries, we learn, that monks and scribes of Ireland begin their preservation of any and every bit of literature and knowledge that they come into contact with.
Cahill illustrates how this new monastic system of learning proves to be one of the most important foundations established after the fall of the Roman Empire.
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